The Music Lovers' Social Club provides the means for all musicians everywhere to be potentially findable and hearable from anywhere in the world. Based in "six degrees of separation" it's powered by the good will of people (like you?) who love music...starting here in Bahia, Brazil and extending to wherever music moves souls.
Frequently Asked Questions
...and others less frequently asked!
Q: Who is the most famous foreigner to have "lived" in Bahia?
A: Robinson Crusoe. He was a plantation owner before setting out from the Baia de Todos os Santos, shipwrecking, and washing up on a desert island off the coast of Venezuela.
From Chapter 4, wherein...
He Settles in the Brasils as a Planter —
Makes Another Voyage and is Shipwrecked
"We had a very good Voyage to the Brasils, and arriv'd in the Bay de Todos los Santos , or All-Saints Bay, in about Twenty-two Days after. And now I was once more deliver'd from the most miserable of all Conditions of Life, and what to do next with my self I was now to consider."
"To come then by the just Degrees, to the Particulars of this Part of my Story; you may suppose, that having now lived almost four Years in the Brasils, and beginning to thrive and prosper very well upon my Plantation; I had not only learn'd the Language, but had contracted Acquaintance and Friendship among my Fellow-Planters, as well as among the Merchants at St. Salvadore, which was our Port; and that in my Discourses among them, I had frequently given them an Account of my two Voyages to the Coast of Guinea, the manner of Trading with the Negroes there, and how easy it was to purchase upon the Coast, for Trifles, such as Beads, Toys, Knives, Scissars, Hatchets, bits of Glass, and the like; not only Gold Dust, Guinea Grains, Elephants Teeth, &c. but Negroes for the Service of the Brasils, in great Numbers."
Q: Who is the most famous foreigner to have visited Bahia?
A: Some might say it was Michael Jackson, who was here in 1996 to record They Don't Care About Us in Pelourinho with Olodum (Spike Lee was here together with Michael, directing the the video for Michael's song), Michael perhaps edging out Paul Simon, who was here in 1990 to record, also with Olodum. David Byrne has been here a number of times (he directed a documentary about bloco afro Ilê Aiyê), and I once saw Sting leaning on a building watching Filho de Gandhy turbans being stitched together on members' heads in front of the Gandhy headquarters where I'd just had mine done. (I didn't recognize him, his hair not being blond and spiky anymore. People were walking up to this guy and shaking his hand, and so I figured he was probably a famous novela (evening soap opera) actor from the south of Brazil. Curious, I went up to say hello too, asking if he was an actor, and the good fellow replied in Portuguese "Eu sou músico". Still in the dark, and not wanting to insult the gentleman by asking who the hell he was, I said simply "É um prazer em conhecé-lo!" (Pleasure to meet you!) and shook his hand. He was very nice about it, and it was only some time later that I saw a current photo online and realized who the mystery man had been.) Anyway...
Expanding our time frame considerably, and with all due respect to the gentlemen above and numerous others who I haven't mentioned (hello Quincy Jones?), I feel the honor must go to Charles Darwin, who landed in the Baía de Todos os Santos with the Beagle on February 28th, 1832.
Q: Is it safe to drink the water here?
A: Not out of the tap it isn't. The water is treated with chlorine (you can smell it) but its potability is unreliable. Everybody has a water filter at home, and most people simply pour water from the tap into the filter. More fastidious people first boil the water and then filter it, and a lot of people buy their water in 20 liter bottles. Bottled water for drinking can be bought cheaply everywhere.
Q: What is the voltage in Bahia?
A: That depends on where in Bahia you are. In Salvador, Cachoeira, Ilheus and Itabuna the voltage is 127. In Lençois, Praia do Forte, Morro de São Paulo, Boipeba, Santo Amaro and Maracangalha the voltage is 220.
Dorival Caymmi (Bahia's most celebrated composer, born 1914) was going to go there, with Anália or without! (Maracangalha is a small community outside of the slightly larger community of São Sebastião do Passé, which is close to Santo Amaro, which sits just north of the Baia de Todos os Santos).
Eu vou pra Maracangalha eu vou
Eu vou de uniforme branco eu vou
Eu vou de chapéu de palha eu vou
Eu vou convidar Anália eu vou
Se Anália não quiser ir eu vou só
Eu vou só, eu vou só
Se Anália não quiser ir eu vou só
Eu vou só, eu vou só sem Anália mas eu vou
I'll go to Maracangalha, I'll go
I'll go dressed in white, I'll go
I'll go in a straw hat, I'll go
I'll invite Anália, I will
If Anália doesn't want to go, I'll go alone
I'll go alone, I'll go alone
I'll invite Anália, I will
If Anália doesn't want to go
I'll go alone, I'll go alone without Anália but I'll go
Caymmi loved names which gamboled about on the tongue, and he had a childhood friend, Zezinho. Zezinho had a second family on the peninsula of Itapagipe, unbeknownst to the wife of the first, and he'd periodically go to visit. Caymmi asked him what he'd tell his wife...
He said he'd tell her that he was going to Maracangalha for work, and he'd always return with a big bag of sugar! (Maracangalha was founded around a sugar mill).
The tripping name of the town itself comes from "amarra a cangalha"..."tie on the donkey carrier"!
Q: What exactly is the connection between the American midwestern state of Indiana and Bahian samba-de-roda?
A: Anything Goes! The Cole Porter song in the musical of the same name uses a clave (okay, that's a Cuban and not a Brazilian term) identical to that used in Bahian roots samba (and that of Luiz Gonzaga's baião forró rhythm too). The clave came to Cole Porter by way of the Charleston, a dance which (incidentally) originated in a community with strong roots in West Africa. And the urbane Mr. Porter was (of course) from Peru, Indiana.
Sambista? I doubt it! Beguinista? For sure!