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Luxury Travel Bahia

Luxury Travel Bahia

Luxury Travel Bahia

Bahia- possibly more quintessentially Brazilian (albeit with an African strain that is undeniable to the culture and social history of Brazil) than even Rio itself with its sun, carefree beach attitudes, practices of candomble- a melding of African religions and Catholicism, capoeira and various dance forms that seem almost indigenous to the island.

The twin practices of candomble and capoeira probably hints at the evolution of Salvador de Bahia, a city with a dark history of slavery- where the quaint-sounding district of Pelourinho is simply just Portuguese for ‘whipping post’, in reference to the slaves, where the origins of capoeira, though hotly debated, is traced back to the slaves who had been its earliest practitioners. Candomble has similar origins, what with its melding of African religions, with its multiple deities having picked up Catholic influences in largely Catholic Brazil. That both capoeira and candomble have suffered repression, initially from the slavemasters, then the government and the Roman Catholic Church respectively, only adds to its subversive qualities (and interest factor) amongst visitors to the island.

Contemporary times have continued to see the ongoing subversion of what were once signposts of repression and cruelty to slaves. Pelourinhos, no longer the ‘whipping post’ for slaves, now function as the geographical heart for the Black Movement in Bahia. A new form of music fusing tribal beats with reggae melodies against a backdrop of social activism have spawned the genre termed Axe` (Yoruba for ‘energy’).

The best activities on this city are essentially Brazilian in nature- to do as the locals do, head for the water park at Arraial D’ajuda(where commercial Axē band Olodum has performed), spending time on the beach, or alternatively taking up classes in capoeira, the various dance forms of zouki, lambada or forro or go horseriding along the beach (at lowtide) or through the countryside.