Candomblé: West African Deities
on a Far Shore
Locations of houses of candomblé in Salvador!
It's night in Salvador and you
hear drumming. It may be coming from one of the numerous terreiros
de candomblé scattered throughout the city. Most
terreiros will permit visitors to attend their
ceremonies. Should you go, dress
respectfully. Trousers for men, and women should wear longer skirts. White is best because it is respectful to all the orixás.
("Orixá" is commonly translated as "god". A more accurate representation would perhaps be "saint". Candomblé posits a monotheistic supreme being -- usually referred to as Olodumaré or Olorum (in candomblé ketu) -- with the orixás being called upon as intermediaries between earthbound humans and the all-powerful, much as a Christian will pray for a saint's intercession on his or her behalf.
Orixá is by far the most common term in Bahia for these entities (the candomblé ketu term), although they are also referred to as Nkisi in candomblé angola and Voduns in candomblé jeje.)
If you speak Portuguese and would like to find information with respect to various houses of candomblé, where they are located, what nights they hold their ceremonies, and when they have their special festas, a good place to go is the FEDERAÇÃO BAIANA DE CULTO AFRO BRASILEIRO, located at Rua Portas do Carmo, 39 (1st floor) in Pelourinho.
City of Women: Mãe Stella (center)
It's said that Salvador has a (Catholic) church for every day of the year, they're all over the place. But this number -- or whatever the true number is -- pales in comparison to the number of terreiros de candomblé in Salvador. An amazing project, the Mapeamento dos Terreiros de Salvador truly and literally puts this into perspective, detailing 1,155 terreiros (and this doesn't include Itaparica!), with maps, satellite and other photos, leaders' names, addresses and contact and other information.
The practice of candomblé was at one time prohibited in Brazil (unofficially for centuries, and then officially by law between 1937 and 1945, during the Estado Novo of dictator Getúlio Vargas, who at the same time ironically, as part of his plan for the manipulation of the popular consciousness as a means for the further consolidation of his power, promoted Brazilian music and music which promoted Brazil, e.g. Ary Barroso's Aquarela do Brasil), and thereafter in Bahia a licence was required, the same that was required by nightclubs and gambling establishments. After a personal appeal by Mãe Stella of Ilê Axé Opô Afonjá to the governor of Bahia (Roberto Santos, in office from 1975 to 1979), this requirement was lifted, and new terreiros sprouted -- for the most part among the more humble neighborhoods -- like singing flowers weaving to the lovely melodies and gloriously complicated rhythms calling down to Salvador Iansã and Yemanjá, Dandalunda, Oxossi and Xangô...
Xangô in Cachoeira
CASA DE OXUMARÉ
Address: Rua Pedro Gama, (no number) - 2nd Travessa - Federação
The address for this terreiro is in Federação, but unless you
know the winding backstreets of the neighborhood you'll never get there. The terreiro is very easy to get to from Avenida Vasco
da Gama, however (there is an entrance at Vasco da Gama, 343), and
thus the locale is located conveniently close to the city center.
Arriving from the Vasco end, however, means climbing steps, lots of
steps -- one hundred and four of them to be exact.
The full name of the house is Ilê Axé Oxumaré.
It was founded around 1900 and is descended from the Ketu Nation.
Ceremonies begin at 8:00 p.m. (or so) on Wednesday nights, and last
two to three hours. Visitors are welcome.
Address: Av. Vasco da Gama, 463 - Vasco da Gama
*Mãe Altamira Cecília dos Santos
Casa Branca (White House), or
Ilê Axé Yá Nassô, is usually cited as Salvador's first house of candomblé, but it might be better said to be Salvador's oldest continually functioning house of candomblé because candomblé was practiced in the senzalas and on the terreiros of the sugarcane plantations both before (and after) the house was established. The "house" (in an organizational sense) was first located on the Ladeira do Berquo -- now known as Rua Visconde de Itaparica -- behind the Igreja (Church) da Barroquinha (the church is easily visible from Praça Castro Alves; it burned in 1983 but the structure still stands).
are on Sunday nights, beginning at 8 p.m.
GANTOIS (Ilê Axé Yá Massê)
Address: Alto do Gantois, 23 - Federação
was the house of famous Mãe Menininha (mother
of Mãe Carmem, who now presides over the terreiro...a lovely song in Mãe Menininha's honor was composed by Dorival Caymmi; Dona Ivone Lara -- first lady of samba -- sings the
Candomblé Angola on the Beach!
February 2nd, 2012. A group from Irará, Bahia at the Festa de Yemanjá. A woman to the left has been possessed.
In Salvador's neighborhood of Castelo Branco.
Salvador da Bahia: Arts & Essences
Music of Candomblé
Mateus at a terreiro de candomblé in São Francisco do Conde
Without the resources to build cathedrals, their temples of worship simple houses within the means of runaway or freed slaves, African-Brazilians reached inward for what they could project out, and the result of their soul-searching was soul-stirring music and dance. These are the Tincoãs of Cachoeira, Bahia (a tincoã is a bird native to the region), in extremely rare footage. Mateus, their primary composer (building on melodies and rhythms of candomblé) is the only surviving member of the group. The lower quadrant features another song of Mateus' taken straight from candomblé (and elaborated upon). The first singer there is Thalma de Freitas, accompanied on piano by her father, Maestro Laércio de Freitas. Second voice is Mateus' daughter Fabiana, and Mateus himself plays guitar.
The deities which are the subjects of the song are both mother figures, the first being Yemanjá, and the second Nanã. Saravá!
As for Mateus himself, he was brought up in the terreiro Roça do Ventura, a Jêje candomblé in Cachoeira. The Jêje house in Salvador is Bogum, in the neighborhood of Engenho Velho de Federação...a principal runtó (ordained drummer) is Luizinho do Jêje.
Ederaldo Gentil's Beautiful Carnival Homage to the 50th Anniversary of Mãe Menininha's Ascension to the Leadership of the Gantois House of Candomblé!
Mãe Menininha (front center right), 1940-41
The world lost and Heaven (Orum) gained Ederaldo Gentil on March 30th, 2012. This samba enredo (Carnival marching samba) was written by Ederaldo for the Filhos de Tororó in 1972.