Samba is the mother of Brazilian music. And Bahia, is the motherland of Samba. Well, sort of… Actually, Samba’s roots can be traced to West African culture (Angola) where it was known as Semba. But today, the world knows it to be Brazil’s contribution to music and dance. Sometime in the early 1900’s, (after slavery was abolished in Brazil), Samba migrated from Bahia to Rio de Janeiro where it took root in Rio’s hillsides. The history of Samba is richly filled with legendary sambistas like Cartola to current masters like, Zeco Pagodinho, and it has touched and influenced all Brazilian music and musicians much in the way that blues has shaped the musical history of the United States (blues, rock and roll, jazz, gospel, etc.). Fittingly, Samba is well represented during Salvador’s carnival. On the opening night of Carnival, Thursday, 2/8/18, the avenidas of the Campo Grande/Centro circuit are dedicated to Samba. Look for the Blocos Alerta Geral, featuring “national name” sambistas like Dudu Nobre / Arlindo Cruz / Diogo Nogueira; Bloco Amor e Paixão featuring Nelson Rufino; Bloco Pagode Total, E o Tchau; Proibido Proibir, Grupo Revelação / Fundo de Quintal.

Another place one can find Samba during carnival is in the evenings starting Friday, 3/1/19 to Tuesday, 3/5/19 at the Cruz Caida (Christ Statue) located on Praca da Se in Pelourinho. Here there is a stage set up dedicated to Samba Foclorico or traditional samba. Samba bands from all over the interior of Bahia (as well as the big city) are invited to perform here during carnival.

Singer, composer, caviquinho player, Arlindo Cruz is considered to be perhaps the most important figure in contemporary Samba e Pagode. Cruz started playing the caviquinho (Brazilian mandolin) at 9 and by his early teens was working professionally with legendary sambista, Candeia. An extraordinary composer, Cruz has had more than 550 songs recorded…

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Godson of the Brazil’s beloved sambista, Zeco Pagodinho, and cousin of internationally-recognized MPB star, Seu Jorge, Dudu Nobre was born to samba. His parents recognized his musical talent and started him off with classical piano lessons at the age of six. By nine, he switched to the cavaquinho

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Founded in 1991 in Rio de Janeiro, Grupo Revelação is responsible for a samba resurgence among young Brazilians. The band has gone on to perform in Europe, the US, and Japan. A large ensemble with sophisticated arrangements, the group draws on samba's rich tradition and adds a contemporary sensibility.

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Mariene de Castro is a rising star! This talented singer has a mesmerizing beauty and a charismatic presence. From a humble family in the interior of Bahia, she was recognized at school to have a talent for singing and was convinced by her teachers to put down the guitar and focus on singing.

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