Sunday, April 26, 2009


Candomblé is an African-originated or Afro-Brazilian religion, practiced chiefly in Brazil by the "povo de santo"(people of saint).The religion was largely originated in Salvador.

The religion is based in the anima (soul) of Nature, therefore being also known as Animism. It was developed in Brazil with the knowledge of African Priests that were enslaved and brought to Brazil, together with their mythology, their culture and language, between 1549 and 1888.

The rituals involve the possession of the initiated by Orishas, offerings and sacrifices of the mineral, vegetal and animal kingdom, healing, dancing/trance and percussion. Candomblé draws inspiration from a variety of people of the African Diaspora, but it mainly features aspects of Yoruba orisha veneration.

In the Yoruba language, God, the Supreme Being, has various names such as Olodumare, Eleda, Olofin-Orun, Eledumare and Olorun. God is worshipped along with the veneration of the orishas. The Orishas are said to "mount", or possess the participant during rituals. Their indiginous spiritual practices were mostly brought over during the Atlantic slave trade by those dedicated to the veneration of the orishas.

Although originally confined to the slave population, banned by the Catholic church, and even criminalized by some governments, Candomblé thrived for over four centuries, and expanded considerably after the end of slavery in the late 1800s. The idea that the Candomblé church is a unit is incorrect, however. The original Candomble temple, terreiro, was established in early 19th century Bahia. It developed from three freed African women, Iya Deta, Iya Kala, and Iya Nasso, and many call it a true matrilineal society. They first established the Candomble headquarters in Bahia called Engenho Velho. However, this was not meant to last, and after dispute after dispute candombles split from one another; therefore, this established hundreds of different candombles. These different candombles mixed ideas and practices with local Afro-Brazilians and created distinct attributes for certain candombles. The different candomblés, today, are known as nações, or nations, including Candomblé de Ketu, Candomblé de Angola, Candomblé de Jejé, Candomblé de Congo, Candomblé de Ijexa, and Candomblé de Caboclo. It is now a major, established religion, with followers from all social classes and tens of thousands of temples. In recent surveys, about 2 million Brazilians (1.5% of the total population) have declared Candomblé as their religion. However, in Brazilian culture, religions are not seen as mutually exclusive, and thus many people of other faiths participate in Candomblé rituals regularly or occasionally. Candomblé deities, rituals, and holidays are now an integral part of Brazilian folklore.
Over the centuries Candomblé has incorporated many elements from Christianity. Crucifixes are sometimes displayed in Candomblé temples, and the African deities were often identified with specific Catholic saints. To this day, Candomblé houses in Brazil commonly display statues of the Catholic saints which correspond to the house's deity.

The Candomblé ritual (toque) has two parts: the preparation, attended only by priests and initiates, which may start a week in advance; and a festive public "mass" and banquet that starts in the late evening and ends around midnight.
In the first part, initiates and aides wash and iron the costumes for the ceremony, and decorate the house with paper flags and festoons, in the colors favored by the Orixas that are to be honored on that occasion. They also prepare food for the banquet. Some domestic animals are slaughtered; some parts reserved for sacrifice, the rest is prepared for the banquet. On the day of the ceremony, starting in the early morning, cowrie-shell divinations (jogo de búzios) are performed, and sacrifices are offered to the desired Orixás, and to the messenger spirit (Exú in Ketu).
In the public part of the ceremony, children-of-saint (mediunic priests) invoke and "incorporate" Orixás, falling into a trance-like state. After having fallen into trance, the priest-spirits perform dances symbolic of the Orixá's attributes, while the babalorixá or father of saint (leading male priest) leads songs that celebrate the spirit's deeds. The ceremony ends with a banquet.

Candomblé music, an essential part of the ritual, derives from African music and has had a strong influence in other popular (non-religious) Brazilian music styles. The word batuque, for instance, has entered the Brazilian vernacular as a synonym of "rhythmic percussion music".

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Salvador da Bahia, history and present

Salvador (historic name, São Salvador da Baía de Todos os Santos, in English: "Holy Savior of All Saints' Bay") is a city on the northeast coast of Brazil and the capital of the Northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia. Salvador is also known as Brazil's capital of happiness due to its easygoing population and countless popular outdoor parties, including its street carnival. The first colonial capital of Brazil, the city is one of the oldest in the country and in the New World; for a long time, it was also known as Bahia, and appears under that name (or as Salvador da Bahia, Salvador of Bahia so as to differentiate it from other Brazilian cities of the same name) on many maps and books from before the mid-20th century. Salvador is the third most populous Brazilian city, after São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, and it is the ninth most populous city in Latin America, after Mexico City, São Paulo, Buenos Aires, Lima, Bogotá, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago of Chile and Caracas.

The city of Salvador is notable in Brazil for its cuisine, music and architecture, and its metropolitan area is the wealthiest in the northeastern region of the country. Over 80% of the population of metropolitan region of Salvador has some Black African ancestry. The African influence in many cultural aspects of the city makes it the center of Afro-Brazilian culture. The historical center of Salvador, frequently called the Pelourinho, is renowned for its Portuguese colonial architecture with historical monuments dating from the 17th through the 19th centuries and has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985.

Salvador is located on a small, roughly triangular peninsula that separates Todos os Santos Bay from the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The bay, which gets its name from having been discovered on All Saints' Day forms a natural harbor. Salvador is a major export port, lying at the heart of the Recôncavo Baiano, a rich agricultural and industrial region encompassing the northern portion of coastal Bahia. The local terrain is diverse ranging from flat to rolling to hills and low mountains.

A particularly notable feature is the escarpment that divides Salvador into the Cidade Alta ("Upper Town" - rest of the city) and the Cidade Baixa ("Lower Town" - northwest region of the city), the former some 85 m (275 ft) above the latter, with the city's cathedral and most administrative buildings standing on the higher ground. An elevator (the first installed in Brazil), known as Elevador Lacerda, has connected the two sections since 1873, having since undergone several upgrades.

The Deputado Luís Eduardo Magalhães International Airport connects Salvador with Brazilian cities and also operates international flights, and the city is home to the Federal University of Bahia.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Tony Kanaan

Antoine Rizkallah Kanaan Filho, commonly known as Tony Kanaan (born December 31, 1974 in Salvador, Brazil) is a Brazilian racecar driver of Lebanese heritage. Kanaan won the 2004 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series championship driving Andretti Green Racing's 7-Eleven sponsored car, winning three times in his Honda-powered Dallara. That season he completed 3,305 laps, making him the first IndyCar Series driver to complete every possible lap in a season. He also led 889 laps in 13 separate races to establish an IndyCar Series record. Kanaan is also the only driver to lead the Indianapolis 500 in each of his first seven starts, though he has yet to win this flagship event. He has a total of 13 IRL race victories.

Kanaan is good friend of Brazilian Formula One driver Rubens Barrichello, and they exchanged helmets for the events in May 28, 2006. Barrichello wore Kanaan's helmet livery during the Monaco GP and Kanaan wore Rubens's one during the Indy 500.

Another of Kanaan's long-time good friends and a former teammate from his Tasman days is Helio Castroneves. Kanaan and Castroneves have developed an intense rivalry that has resulted in some hard feelings. Castroneves accused Kanaan of costing him the 2006 IndyCar Series championship by racing him too hard for position in the final race. Kanaan countered that he was not paid to let other people pass him for position. The two started to patch up their differences at Indianapolis in 2007.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Daniela Mercury, another famous Salvadorean

Daniela Mercuri de Almeida Póvoas better known as Daniela Mercury (born on July 28, 1965 in Salvador) is a Latin Grammy Award-winning Brazilian axé, samba-reggae and MPB singer, songwriter and record producer. Since her breakthrough, Mercury has become one of the best known Brazilian female singers, selling over 8 million albums in her home country and almost 12 million albums worldwide. She is also the Brazilian female performer with most #1 hits in the country, 14 to be exact.

Her mother is Liliana Mercuri, a social worker of Italian ancestry, and her father is Antônio Fernando de Abreu Ferreira de Almeida, a Portuguese industrial mechanic. Mercury spent her childhood in a house in the Brotas neighborhood with her four siblings: Tom, Cristiana, Vânia (who would also become a singer) and Marcos.

When Mercury was eight years old, she began dance lessons (classic ballet, African dances and jazz). At thirteen, she decided to become a singer (apparently influenced by the work of Elis Regina), and at sixteen, she started to sing in trio elétricos. Two years later, she entered the Federal University of Bahia's School of Dance.

Mercury married electronic engineer Zalther Portela Laborda Póvoas in 1984, when she was nineteen years old. One year later, in September 3, 1985, Mercury gave birth to her first child, Gabriel (who would also become a singer and songwriter). One year later, she gave birth to a girl named Giovanna. In 1996, Mercury and Póvoas divorced.

Daniela Mercury has recently been performing at an open air free concert in the United States on Hollywood Beach, FL. She is the headline act for 'Brazil on the Beach'. Organizers expected crowds in excess of 50,000.

In July 13, 2007, Daniela Mercury closed the opening ceremony of the XV Pan American Games singing a medley of André Filho's "Cidade Maravilhosa" and Ary Barroso's "Aquarela do Brasil".

Mercury has performed at a large number of charitable events. She is the second Brazilian honored as an ambassador for UNICEF (Renato Aragão was the first). She is also an ambassador for UNAIDS and UNESCO. She has performed at Rede Globo's annual charity Criança Esperança for fifteen consecutive years (1992-2007). She also represents various non-profit organizations including Caravana da Musica which has spawned her own Instituto Sol da Liberdade.

Carnaval in Salvador da Bahia is unique!

Brazilians know for some time that Carnaval in Salvador de Bahia is unique. Although its style is the most imitated throughout the country there can only be one peak energy concentration of people party power. You don't have to dance in the streets to know you are at the center of the greatest annual energy field created on the planet but it helps.

With 200 plus Carnival groups parading over seven days, you can't find more groups or more people anywhere than at this great people's party in Brazil's other great historic seaside city.

Demographics of Salvador

African-Brazilians make up the majority of the population in Salvador.

According to the IBGE of 2008, there were 3,475,000 people residing in the Metropolitan Region of Salvador. The population density was 4,092.6 inhabitants per square kilometre (10,600 /sq mi). The last PNAD (National Research for Sample of Domiciles) census revealed the following numbers: 1,869,550 Pardo (Mulatto) people (53.8%), 990,375 Black people (28.5%), 580,325 White people (16.7%), 31,275 Asian or Amerindian people (0.9%).
With a current population estimated in 2,892,625 inhabitants, Salvador is the 3rd most populous city in Brazil, after São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
Most of the population is in part descended from Black African slaves, who were mainly Yoruba speakers from Nigeria, Ghana, Togo and Benin.

No religion
4.35% 106,320


Carnival in Salvador

Carnaval in Salvador basically has two parts: the parade of trio elétrico and the barracas. A trio elétrico is a done-up semitrailer, loaded with sound equipment and with a band playing on top. They parade very slowly along one of two circuits; one closer to the city centre, running from Campo Grande (literally "Big Field", Salvador's central park) to Praça Castro Alves (named for Antônio Frederico de Castro Alves, the Bahian poet who, among other things, wielded his mighty pen against the injustices of slavery and political oppression) and the other running from Barra to Ondina, along the Atlantic Ocean. They are called "trios" because the first one was an old car ('29 Ford) with a driver and two musicians (Dodô and Osmar) in the back (the car can be seen in the museum at the Lagoa da Abaeté in Itapoan; it debuted in 1950).
The trios form the nucleus of the blocos. One pays to join a bloco and is given an abadá (a getup consisting of a t-shirt and shorts, usually), which allows one to parade with the bloco inside the cordão (rope carried by security personnel). The people who aren't in blocos, and who are hence outside of the roped-off areas around the trios, are called pipoca (or popcorn).

The other part of Carnival is the barracas, or beerstands. They are everywhere, turning Salvador into a city of ten thousand parties. A lot of them have their own sound systems. And where there isn't a barraca, there'll be somebody with an isopor (styrofoam cooler) selling beer or batidas (cachaça/fruit mixtures; killer strength).

On the Thursday evening which is the beginning of Carnaval, the city's mayor turns the key to the city over to Rei Momo at Campo Grande (rei is "king", and although " Rei Momo" is a different person every year "he" always looks like an overweight Nero). Thursday is generally kind of a slow Carnival night ("slow" is a very relative term here), a lot of people still have to get up and go to work on Friday. Friday night picks up, and then on Saturday (Sábado do Carnaval) all hell breaks loose

Salvador da Bahia: Gem of Brazil

The province of Bahia in Brazil contains some of the most idyllic scenery in the country and consistently fascinates visitors with a fusion-like blend of native, African and colonial heritage and culture. All in all, from the beachfront at Itacaré, Chapada Diamantina National Park, glorious Fumaça Waterfall and the sunny town of Jequié, Bahia is a wonderful destination. First and foremost however, the province is home to a formidable capital city: São Salvador da Baía de Todos os Santos, or simply Salvador.

The magnificent city is home to close to 3 million people and a cultural scene that is more rich and sumptuous than any in Brazil. Without a doubt, this “capital of happiness” and the first colonial capital of the country is the place to be for tourists in the know. Rio may have Ipanema and Copacabana beach and Sao Paulo is a massive metropolis but Salvador, as the epicenter of Afro-Brazilian culture, is singularly special. The city’s food, music and architecture cannot be beat.

With that in mind, here’s a rundown of some Salvador highlights.

When most of us think of Carnaval, our thoughts understandably stray toward Rio de Janeiro. But in all honesty, Salvador’s Carnaval celebrations are where the real action is. Not only is the city’s Carnival number one in size in Brazil, it consistently breaks the world record for a street party every year, with more than 2 million people spread out over 25 km for one entire week. Incredible!

The colossal party kicks off the week before Mardi Gras as the Campo Grande neighborhood fills up with grandstands that offer ideal views of the street revelry: traditional dancers, music and famous city performers on flat-bed trucks all parade past. Other major Carnival “circuits” take place in the Salvador districts of Barra-Ondina and Pelourinho.

One of Brazil’s most notable UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Salvador’s Pelourinho neighborhood is also the historic heart of the city. As such, it remains ground zero for tourist delight and represents a veritable link with what was one of the first settlements in the New World, now frozen in time. Early Portuguese colonial leaders made Pelourinho a virtual base camp for the country’s burgeoning interests in the African slave trade.

Ignominious beginnings to be sure, yet from the mid-16th century onward, the city increased in importance. Early colonial government landmarks like the Governor’s House to City Hall, in addition to cathedrals and other splendid houses of worship, merchant manors and palaces, all mark Salvador’s Historic Centre as exceptional.

Many international visitors come to Salvador and indeed, the province of Bahia, expressly to eat. A distinct and soulful cuisine, with heavy influences from West Africa as a result of the colonial slave trade, still permeates from kitchens throughout the city. Typical ingredients include palm oil, coconut, manioc flour, molasses and a treasure trove of seafood.

When in Salvador, definitely try to sample as many local dishes as possible. Caruru is a tasty condiment made with okra, shrimp and peanuts typically eaten with black-eyed peas, formed into a ball and deep-fried. Moqueca is a succulent spicy stew of seafood, often with coconut milk, that is endemic to the province of Bahia. Desserts feature coconuts, peanuts and cashews prominently.

From the martial art capoeira to the musical genre axé, Salvador is the creative birthplace of many important movements. For a taste of the city’s cultural vitality, visit the Arte Sacra Museum, Museu de Arte da Bahia and Museu da Cidade. These landmark museums tell the story of Salvador and Bahia as a whole, through a variety of methods.

Another way to experience the culture of Salvador is to take in the city’s fabulous theatre scene. From pristine park amphitheatres to exquisite, historic venues festooned with remarkable design details; there are always stellar performances in and around town. There’s simply no better way to witness the veritable potpourri of cultural tendrils that penetrate Salvador’s very soul.

Source: Ian Harrison

Ivete Sangalo

Ivete Sangalo was born in Juazeiro, Bahia, where she spent her whole childhood. She started her singing career in events at school and then started singing at bars. Soon, she started to receive some attention and signed with Sony Music.

In 1993, Sony decided to reform the axé group Banda Eva and she was chosen as the lead singer. Her live album with the band, Banda Eva Ao Vivo, was their best-selling album, selling over a million copies. In 1997 she decided to start a solo career and in 1999 she released her first self-titled album. With lots of upbeat Bahian rhythms and axé, the album received gold and platinum certification. The following year she released another album, Beat Beleza, which also achieved platinum status.

In 2000 she released the album Festa (Party), whose title track was another major success. The single was very popular and the album got platinum certification. "Festa" was her biggest hit single up to that point and the video also received huge airplay. "Festa" ended up being the most popular song of 2001 in Brazil. Its music video featured over 20 cameo appearances by Brazilian celebrities. In 2002, she released the album Se Eu Não te Amasse Tanto Assim (If I Didn't Love You So Much), titled after her big hit that reached the first position in the singles chart. The album, which features a duet with American singer Brian McKnight, didn't sell as much as her previous albums, but was still a hit. Following Se Eu Não te Amasse Tanto Assim, she released Clube Carnavalesco Inocentes Em Progresso in 2003. It was the lowest-selling solo album of her career but it still managed to receive gold certification.

Ivete Sangalo is immensely popular in Salvador; nobody can imagine carnival in Salvador without Ivete. She is by far the most renowned “Bahiana” (person from Bahia) at this date and spends a lot of time in Salvador where she owns a beautiful apartment.

Adriana Lima

Adriana Francesca Lima is best known as a Victoria's Secret Angel since 2000 and a spokesmodel for Maybelline cosmetics. At age 15, Lima finished first place in Ford's "Supermodel of Brazil" competition and took second place the following year in the Ford "Supermodel of the World" competition before signing with Elite Model Management in New York City.

Early life and family

Lima was born in Salvador on June 12, 1981. Her father, from whom she was estranged for most of her life, is Nelson Torres, and her mother, Maria da Graça Lima, is a social worker. Lima revealed that her father walked out on her family when she was six months old, but has been making recent attempts to reconcile. Lima told reporters at the Hollywood Walk of Fame that although she is her mother's only child, she has two half brothers, aged 7 and 11 in 2007, from her father's second marriage. Coming from a poor family, her first time leaving her country and first time on a plane was when she was 15. She was raised mainly by her mother and her grandmother.


Lima never thought about being a model, although she had won many beauty pageants in elementary school. However, she had a friend at school who wanted to enter a modeling contest and didn't want to enter alone, so Lima entered with her. Both sent in pictures, and the contest sponsor soon asked Lima to come out for the competition. Soon after, at the age of 15, she entered and finished in first place in Ford's "Supermodel of Brazil" model search. She subsequently entered the 1996 Ford "Supermodel of the World" contest and finished in second place. Three years later, Lima moved to New York City and signed with Elite Model Management. After acquiring representation, Lima's modeling portfolio quickly began to expand, and she appeared in numerous international editions of Vogue and Marie Claire. As a runway model, she has walked the catwalks for designers such as Vera Wang, Christian Lacroix, Emanuel Ungaro, Giorgio Armani, Fendi, Ralph Lauren and Valentino, among others. Lima became a GUESS? girl in 2000, appearing in that year's fall ad campaign. She also appeared in the book A Second Decade of Guess?
Lima continued to build upon her portfolio, doing more print work for Maybelline, with whom she signed as a spokesmodel in 2003 and continues to work with, later appearing in the company's first calendar, along with Kemp Muhl, Jessica White, Julia Stegner, and Anna Wang. The calendar is a limited edition release for the 2009 year. Lima has also worked for notable fashion brands bebe, Mossimo, Armani, Bulgari, De Beers, FCUK, Intimissimi, Keds, Swatch, Versace, and BCBG. She also appeared on the covers and in the editorials of other fashion magazines such as Harper's Bazaar, ELLE, GQ, Arena, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, and many more. Her April 2006 GQ cover was the highest-selling issue that magazine for the year. She also appeared in the 2005 Pirelli Calendar and became the face of Italy's cell phone carrier, Telecom Italia Mobile, a move that earned her the nickname, "the Catherine Zeta-Jones of Italy."
In February 2008, she was featured on the cover of Esquire, re-creating the classic 1966 Angie Dickinson cover on Esquire's 75th anniversary along with fellow Victoria's Secret Angels Alessandra Ambrosio, Karolina Kurkova, Izabel Goulart and Selita Ebanks. She appeared only in shoes, diamonds and gloves for the November 2007 issue of Vanity Fair celebrating 20 years of supermodels with her fellow Angels. Lima was chosen to be a part of People magazine's 100 most beautiful people in the world list, sharing that space with the Angels, with whom she also received a star on the Hollywood "Walk of Fame" prior to the 2007 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. In February 2008, she was chosen to be the face of Mexico's Liverpool department store chain and launched the partnership with a press conference, runway show, and summer campaign.

Salvadorean People

The people in Salvador da Bahia are very special; they are hospitable, friendly and cheerful. For this reason many Brazilians travel to Salvador to celebrate carnaval.

Bahians, the people from the state where Salvador is located love to dance, sing and party. And not only during carnival but the whole year through. They are great soccer fans, Bahians as most Brazilians follow this sport intensely and watch the sport on television whenever possible. They play he soccer when they are on the beach and everywhere else.
Soccer is in there blood and soccer is there life! Soccer is a culture more than it is a sport. Imagine Brazil not being able to qualify for the World Championship rounds…. This would be unbelievable and for nobody in Bahia or Brazil for that matter to comprehend.