Axé is a word that comes from the Yoruba language and means “positive energy.” In today’s carnival world, it's become a generic term to represent a large swath of musical styles that range from the syrupy pop melodies of Netinho to the elemental and earthy afro-pop of Margareth Menezes. Axé is a style of music born in the 80’s created by artists like Luiz Caldas and popularized by Chiclete com Banana. Not coincidentally, it was at this time that the modern trio elétrico, the sound truck loaded with massive amplification capacities, was invented. The combination of this high energy style of music with the powerfully amplified mobile sound stage, took carnival by storm and it has reigned as the dominant carnival music ever since. So what is exactly is Axé music? When Ivete Sangalo or Timbalada passes playing an up-tempo “gallop” and the frenzied crowd begins to sair do chão (leave the ground), that, my friends, is axé!

Composer and singer, Alexandre Peixe, has written carnival hits for stars like Chiclete com Banana and Ivete Sangalo. In 2005, he released his first record, and has been actively promoting his own career since. This guy brings the party!

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Formed in 1980 in a humble Salvador suburb, Ara Ketu has evolved from a Bloco Afro into an Axé band with an afro-pop sound. The band’s song, Bom Demais, not only won best carnival song in 1994, but propelled the band to national fame, and remains a Carnival classic to this day.

Read more: Ara Ketu

Younger brother of the Duval Lelis, the leader of famed carnival band Asa de Águia, André Lelis founded his own bloco Me Ama (Love me) in 2003. Early in his career, Andre was invited to live and play on the Caribbean island of St. Martins.

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"Bota pra ferver" here comes Asa de Águia to "heat the party to a boil" as goes one of their carnival song! Started in 1987, Asa de Águia, which translates as "Eagle’s Wings," have long established themselves as one of the most popular axé bands on the carnival circuit.

Read more: Asa de Águia (Durval)

The Aviões do Forró brought a new sound to Salvador's Carnival in 2010. Their style of music, Forró, is "couples dancing" music, traditionally heard in June around the time of the harvest fest, Sao Joao. Adapting their sound to fit the Bahian summer, the band has tweaked their music by speeding it up and "electronicizing" it, giving it an "axé" edge.

Read more: Aviões do Forró (eléctrico)

Banda Eva is a Carnival institution! And the "institution" has a new leader for the first time in years.  Fellipe Pezzoni is the new "voice" of Eva replacing one of Carnival's "favorite sons", Saulo Fernandes.

Read more: Banda Eva

Saulo, as he is affectionately known in Brazil, has gone solo!  After 10 years as the leader of "carnival institution" Banda Eva, Saulo Fernandes, struck out on his own in Carnival 2014.   Saulo's solo career continues as he will again lead his own band this Carnival 2016.

Read more: Saulo

Babado Novo, which translates roughly to "new gossip", has a new singer worth talking about, the lovely Mari Antunes.  Following in the footsteps of Claudia Leitte, Mari Antunes bring "girl power" to the carnival stage. 

Read more: Babado Novo

Bell Marques, the lead singer of famed Carnival band Chiclete com Banana, has taken his schtick and gone solo!  But, that doesn't mean that he's left behind salvador's wealthy, the elite crowd that populates his Bloco Camaleão (nor the rough and tumble gangs of street theives who follow outside the Blocos chords; watch your wallets!)

Read more: Bell (of Chiclete)

Get ready Salvador! The Imperial Dynasty has arrived...or has it? Who are these guys? Banda Oito7Nove4 is a band lead by the two sons of Chiclete Com Banana leader, Bell Marques. And their name which translated means 8794?

Read more: Banda Oito7Nove4

Cheiro de Amor, which means "scent of love," is one of the early and influential axé bands. Formed in 1985, they have maintained their staying power and have a faithful Carnival following

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Unquestionably the most popular and beloved of all the Axé bands, “Sou Chicleteiro” is the rallying cry of the wealth and privilege. Not coincidentally, a night out with the band is the most expensive Carnival ticket in town. But it’s not just the wealthy who love these guys, no other band electrifies the Carnival masses like Chiclete.

Read more: Chiclete com Banana

Claudia Leitte’s carnival career started in 2001 as leader of the band Babado Novo and has been in ascendence to stardom ever since. Next in the line of female Axé stars, after Daniela Mercury and Ivete Sangalo, she had her first carnival hit with Safado, Cachorro, Sem Vergonha ("You Dirty Dog, You"!).

Read more: Claudia Leitte

Daniela Mercury is one of the biggest stars in the galaxy of Brazilian music, and one of the few Axé stars to have achieved international acclaim. Daniela started singing with Banda Eva in 1986 before leaving the band in 1988 to become a back up singer for Gilberto Gil.

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Brazilian mega-star, Ivete Sangalo, is the most popular musical artist in Brazil today. No better an indicator of her popularity, she earns more per advertising endorsement than anyone in Brazil. A masterful performer known for mega production, Ivete electrifies the crowd!

Read more: Ivete Sangalo

Margareth Menezes is a true original of contemporary Bahian music. She teamed up with David Byrne and in 1988 and recorded her first album, Elegibô, which was an international success. The creator of a style she calls "afropopbrasiliero," a style informed by Sambareggae, MPB, and Samba, Margareth Menezes is a composer, singer and band leader of cultural importance.

Read more: Magareth Menezes

A relative newcomer to Salvador's carnival, Negro Cor ("Color Black") made their debute in 2007 and quickly established a space for themselves. The band's Axé sound has a contemporary edge, a cool bahian blend of pop, rock, and hip hop with a twist of DJ up in the mix.

Read more: Negra Cor

Timbalada is one of the most original and popular bands to come out of Bahia in recent decades. Founded in 1993, Timbalada is the creation of Carlinhos Brown, master percussionist and composer, who still maintains close association with the band and writes many of its big hits.

Read more: Timbalada

Tomate got his start as lead singer of the band, Rapazzola, in 2001. A new generation artist, he won the best new singer award and best carnival song with the hit, Coração in 2005. An Axé singer with a rock and roll attitude, when Tomate takes to Carnival's streets, he takes it strong.

Read more: Tomate

After many years as lead singer for popular axe band, Jammil, Tuca Fernandes will lead a band under his own name for the first time in Carnival 2012. His band former band, Jammil, founded in 1994, is well-known for it's carnival hits such as Milla, Minha Estrela, É Verão, Praieiro.

Read more: Tuca Fernandes

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