There is SO much to do in Salvador . This is only an introduction……

Music is the lifeblood of Salvador . From the Carnaval bands at their ensaios (rehearsals) to the guys at the corner bar to a man beating a rhythm on a bus seat and singing, music is everywhere you turn. It behooves you to familiarize yourself with, at the very least, some of the well-known bands, singers, musical styles and lyrics before you arrive, so that you can enrich your experience in Salvador .

Afoxés and Blocos Afros

Afoxés are, in essence, the rhythms of the candomblé religious rites, but used in a secular setting. Groups include Filhos de Gandhy, Filhas de Oxum , Filhos de Korin Efan , and Badauê .

Blocos Afros are the carnival groups, many of them with neighborhood-based educational centers, that celebrate the African cultural heritage of Salvador . They include Muzenza , Malê de Balê, Didá, Cortejo Afro and the well-known Olodum , Ilê Aiyê, and Ara Ketu .

Salvador is also home to MPB, pagode, forró, axé, samba, and samba-reggae…… and is a topic which could take up pages and pages. Investigate the music of Gilberto Gil, Margareth Menezes, Timbalada, Carlinhos Brown, Raca Negra, Daniela Mercury, and dozens more artists, old and new, whose music impels you to dance and sing along.

Combining music and dance is the show at Balé Folclórico da Bahia (http://www.balefolcloricodabahia.com.br/ ), in Pelourinho, which showcases traditional capoeira and the sincretized culture of the orixas. Capoeira can also be observed in many locations around Salvador, and teachers are available for lessons.

For another taste of Salvador’s colonial past visit the Carlos Costa Pinto Museum , a house museum which offers a large collection of colonial furniture, antique jewelry, and gold and silver amulets that were given to female slaves. Contact info: Avenida Sete de Setembro, 2490, Vitória It is open M, W, TH, F , 2-7 pm; S/S 3-6 pm.

Solar de União is a Colonial era sugar cane plantation including house, chapel and sugar mill, and a shipping pier that has sometimes housed music shows. The three main buildings, which now house excellent modern art exhibitions ( http://www.mam.ba.gov.br/ ), give an idea of life at that time. Check to see if the dinner and show that had been operating there is still/again an option.

Museu de Arte de Bahia , in a mansion on the Corredor de Vitoria, formerly belonging to the Goes Calmon family,   houses collections including furniture, Chinese porcelain, silver and azulejos (tiles) from colonial era Bahia, as well as art by modern Bahian artists.

There is also the Museu de Arte Sacra . ( http://www.mas.ufba.br/ ), in the historic district, housing sacred art of the Colonial period.

The Jorge Amado museum (Casa do Jorge Amado), the big blue house at Largo do Pelourinho 51, is dedicated to the famous Bahian writer. With the death of his wife, writer Zelia Gattai, in 2008, their children plan to turn Amado’s house in Rio Vermelho into a museum as well.

The often repeated phase that Salvador has a different church for each day of the year is most probably true.

One of the most lavish and well-known for its golden interior is the Igreja de Sao Francisco , in the Terreiro de Jesus in Pelourinho.

The Igreja do Bonfim (O Senhor do Bomfim=Jesus Christ=the orixa Oxala), is noted for the parade and celebration involved with the washing of the church's steps by mães de santo (candomblé priestesses) in mid-January. Be sure to see the Sala dos Milagres where people who have prayed for a cure have left offerings. Explore the small shops on the side of the church that offer objects for both Catholic and Candomble observance. Be sure to get a ribbon tied onto your wrist with three knots, one for each wish you make. The ribbon is said to fall off when your wishes are granted.

Diaspora history :
Many visitors come to Salvador to explore Colonial history, as well as learn more about the rich cultural roots of the proud Solteropolitano decendants of slaves. This region of Bahia was a major focal point of the slave trade. Slavery was finally abolished in Brazil only in 1888, which means that the African traditions continued to be brought to Brazil much later than some other places. . Many small villages that still exist in the Salvador area were founded as quilombos by runaway slaves.

One of the most interesting sights to visit is the Igreja dos Rosarios dos Pretos in Largo de Pelourinho, built by slaves who were not allowed to attend other churches. A great experience is to attend a Sunday Mass, full of energetic singing, clapping, instruments and friendly handshakes, in the presence of statues of black saints. There is also a Tuesday evening Mass. The same square is the site of the whipping post, or Pelourinho , a moving reminder of slavery that names the district.

Visitors can learn about the slave trade and its influence on the city at the Museu Afro-Brasileiro ( Afro-Brazilian Museum , on the left when you enter), which chronicles the role that slaves played in shaping Salvador . Today the city has one of largest populations of Afro-Brazilians in the country and the museum offers exhibitions that demonstrate their rich history . The museum also has an impressive collection of African art, including pottery, woodwork and ceremonial Candomblé items. Artwork from the famous Argentine artist Carybé, who called Salvador his home, including many of his wood panel carvings, are also on display. Contact info:   Praça Terreiro de Jesus , Antiga Faculdade de Medicina, Pelourinho, 40025-010 or ceao@ufba.br , M-F 9-6 R$2

The annual Festa de Boa Morte, in the charmingly crumbling old river port of Cachoeira (in the Reconcavo, the interior of Bahia around the Baia dos Todos Santos), now draws tourists from all over the world to watch the sincretized religious celebrations of the Afro-Catholic women of the Irmandade de Boa Morte.