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!
Asa de Águia (Durval)
"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.
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.
Bell (of Chiclete)
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!)
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"!).
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.
Denny Denan, the singer and face of Banda Timbalada for more than a decade, has taken his act solo.
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!
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.
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.
Parangole's song Abaixa que e tiro will surely be the Pagode hit of carnival 2019. The songs refrain warns, "Hit the ground, she's shooting".
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.