Bahia by Night - Cultural Extravaganza

Trip Start Jul 19, 2012
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Trip End Aug 03, 2012


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Flag of Brazil  , State of Bahia,
Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bahia by Night promised to provide a wonderful experience of Afro-Brazilian culture so we were looking forward to the experience.   Joel, our guide had made sure to explain to us that this was not just hollow performance but a true reflection of the lives that many people and African Bahians in particular, live and the beliefs they subscribe to.  

Capoeira is very much alive and not just as a martial art.  There are Capoeira academies all over the country that play a key role in educating young people and fostering community cohesion.     Candomble is the major religion in Bahia and it has been estimated at times that there are more Candomble house in the state of Bahia than there are churches.   Candomble permeates even into the churches and the lives of all races and social classes.

So with that in context, we set off for Pelourinho where we would meet our African American friends for the cultural extravaganza.    When we arrived in "Pelo" the place was buzzing with life. A stage was being prepared for an open air show and some people were heading to the venue hosting nightly Samba performances.   All around the atmosphere was electric. 

Before we entered the venue Joel explained the performances that we would see and the cultural/historical context.    The evening started with a typical Brazilian buffet, a wide variety of foods both European and African and lots of it and again well presented.

The show kicked off with African drumming which accompanied all the performances.  First was the Candomble element represented by the dance of the Orixas.  This was led by Oxun dressed in the characteristic yellow in the typical Bahian dress style.   Others followed all dressed in their particular colors including Yansa dressed in Red, Omolu in concealing dress, Ogun in blue and Oxossi in green and doing their characteristic dance.

After the Orixas, came the Capoeira dancers, so far this was the most impressive Capoeira I have seen, the agility, skill and accuracy of the dancers was just amazing.  It is clear to see just how this fighting style was used so successfully in defending the African free states of Brazil during the period of enslavement.

Following the Capoeira was an enactment of the Cangaceiros do sertao.  Generally regarded as a group of bandits these were people who rebelled against oppressive authority and defended the poor people against the same oppression.

The show concluded with a performance of Samba do Roda.  This is a particular style of Samba which originated in the area around the bay of Bahia during the 17th century.

When we emerged from the venue,  Pelourinho square was in full swing,  the open air stage show had started and there were even more people, some seated at tables enjoying the show and others moving around.  At one end of the square there was the characteristic African Bahian woman selling Acaraje.

We parted company with our friends; this was their last night in Salvador as they were flying back to the states the following day.  We still had another week to go.
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Comments

Lovers doctor on

Well it seems that you guys are a wonderful and enriched cultural experience and I am truly jealous.
The pictures are wonderful, colours vibrant and you can see the beauty of African experience within the people

mayemi on

The blog is absolutely breath taking and mind blowing i can certainly "feel it"
if just viewing it can have such an impact let alone the real experience.

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