The Best Carnival of Brazil is in Salvador

Anyone who spends carnival in Salvador just wants one thing: fervour every day. And he gets it. Here fun is granted. This year was even more agitated, with the commemoration of 60 years of the Filhos de Gandhy (Children of Gandhi), which has been honoured along with other afoxé blocks.

50% of the people chose the carnival in Salvador as the best in Brazil. A survey organized by the Jornal Nacional/O Globo on their website, chose the capital of Bahia. With six days of festivities, 234 blocks with 45 trios-elétricos, and the presence of big music stars, the capital of Bahia attracts 650 thousand national and foreign tourists, resulting in a carnival for two million foliões (partygoers). Recife and Rio de Janeiro were, respectively, with 19% and 15% of the votes. São Paulo and Florianópolis got 4% each, with 8% of the Internet users indicating other cities.

The president of Saltur – Salvador Tourism Company -, Claudio Tinoco, was not surprised with the outcome of the survey. For him, the capital of Bahia has a carnival tradition with strong popular roots. “It is the sum of the magnetism of the trios-elétricos and the big stars of our tribal music to the sound of African drums, the irreverence of the people and the cultural mix.”

Carnival in Salvador de Bahia requires a dictionary: First: afoxé, also known as Camdomblé de rua, is an Afro-Brazilian street manifestation with roots in the iorubá people and is a genre of music known as ‘ijexá’. The biggest and best known afoxé is the Filhos de Gandhy.

Then we have the trio-elétricos. Large lorries or even trailers stacked with high power audio equipment with on top a stage for the performing artists of the music group. I.e. a moving stage, as the truck tours the city streets while the artists play for the crowd.

In the two trio-elétrico circuits in Salvador, Avenida and Barra/Ondina, the heavy-weights of the axé (a music genre) were back in full swing. On Thursday (19) Timbalada performed in Nana Banana, Friday (20) and Saturday (21) Chiclete com Banana took the block. On Sunday (22), Monday (23) and Tuesday (24), Chiclete reigned the Chameleão. EVA, with Banda Eva, performed Sunday (22) till Tuesday (24) – the same days, Ivete Sangalo, former lead singer of the band, stirred the crowd with the block Coruja. The Voa-Voa, also from Chiclete com Banana, closed carnival at 0h30 of Ash Wednesday (25).

During the six days of the Carnival in Salvador, it is estimated that some 10 million litres of beer and 8 million litres of soft drinks are consumed. These are initial estimates of the breweries and show the economic impact of this most popular festivity. According to Salvador Tourism Company (Saltur) the activities related to carnival during a year of preparation and the festivity itself, move about BRL 1 billion (€ 325 million) and generate some 220 thousand temporary jobs.

Enjoy the images. An attentive reader of my carnival posts should observe the difference between the ‘stars’ of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo and the muses starring in Salvador. In Salvador it is the music, in Rio and SP it is the glamour.

The big music stars:
Claudia Leitte – photo Fred Pontes and Ag
Daniela Mercury – photo Divulgação and Ag
Margareth Menezes – photo Wellington Carvalho
Ivete Sangalo – photo Charles Naseh
Claudinha Leite – photo Ag A Tarde

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