New Orleans Jazz Fest: Boxed Set of 5 CDs and a Book! And Bob Cataliotti!!!

New Orleans Jazz Fest Recording

It’s pretty obvious what Bob Cataliotti has to do with New Orleans in general… Bob is a music writer and producer and professor specializing in deep roots American music. What he has to do with this upcoming release is that he is one of the writers of the notes accompanying these recordings from Jazz Fest between 1974 and 2016 and including Trombone Shorty, Irma Thomas, Big Freedia, Professor Longhair, The Neville Brothers, Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, Kermit Ruffins, Terence Blanchard, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Champion Jack Dupree, and Buckwheat Zydeco.

What does Bob have to do with Salvador and the Recôncavo? He was here! For the Lavagem de Saubara, in the town of Saubara, in the Recôncavo across the Baía de Todos os Santos from Salvador. He paraded in the charanga (cortege) and visited chuleiro (Brazil’s version of a blues singer) João do Boi in João’s village of São Braz.

And not to belabor the (what should be) obvious, these roots move down into commonality with America’s great African musical roots as well. It all becomes part of the same wondrous thing!

And that’s something you can parade to!

More on these recordings, including ordering, here:

Armandinho, Moraes Moreira & Others at Praça Castro Alves During Carnival 2019

A stage is being set up at Praça Castro Alves for Carnival shows on Sunday, March 3rd, Monday, March 4th, and Tuesday, March 5th. These featuring Carnival icons Armandinho and Moraes Moreira among others.

Armandinho and his guitarra baiana (Bahian guitar)

The shows are part of a previous Carnival series called Pôr do Sol na Praça Castro Alves (Sunset in Praça Castro Alves) and are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.

More on Armandinho here!

Salvador Carnival 2019! The Fuzuê & the Furdunço!

Fuzuê and Furdunço, two words meaning a disorderly dance or party of the hoi polloi, the first from Portuguese Portuguese and the second from regional Brazilian Portuguese…also nowadays designate two parades which — for all practical purposes — are the opening of Carnival in Salvador.

The Fuzuê is more folkloric, with the groups on foot, and the Furdunço is something along the lines of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, with “trios” smaller than the monsters which are Carnival on the avenidas (avenues) in Salvador.

This year these parades will take place next Saturday and Sunday, February 23rd and 24th, beginning in Ondina and moving along the coast to the Farol (Lighthouse) da Barra.

What time do they start? Nobody ever seems to say. Later in the afternoon.

BTW, fuzuê is pronounced foo-zoo-EY, and furdunço is pronounced foor-DOON-sue.

Much more on Carnival in Salvador here!

Deadly Mud in Brazil

Another burst dam owned by the mining  industry, in Brumadinho, Minas Gerais, the Brazilian state to the south of Bahia. This following a virtually identical collapse in Mariana, Minas Gerais three years ago. And another dam is threatening to collapse now.

Death’s scythe is smashing barriers and sweeping forth the mud.

While much of the Brazilian government, or government in Brazil rather, holds skeletal hands with industry…payoffs and bribes…on top of a general culture of complacency and cynical lack of respect for the powerless.

What’s new?

In Salvador the poor — with no alternative — often build on hillsides covered in massapé, the rich soil that made this area such a prodigious producer of sugarcane, and hence importer of the Africans who would do so much to form the character of Brazil. This mud kills too.

So the subject of a wonderful short story by cabra Ben Paris.


The New York Times Does Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

Seth Kugel has been here in Salvador (still is?) and his 36 Hours in Salvador Brazil was published in the New York Times yesterday, January 24th, 2019.

Seth Kugel writes about Salvador, Bahia, Brazil
Seth Kugel calls it in

Nice to see One of The Most Amazing Cities on The Planet get a little recognition from the big guy media (gal? the paper is known as “the grey lady” after all), for a change.

Thank you Seth!

But alas even as in the closest and most loving families people are wont to bicker and complain about the best-intentioned and most successfully executed actions…let the nitpicking begin…

A couple of friends of mine who’ve lived here for decades don’t find the restaurant Donana all so marvelous. Me? I’ve never heard of it (a reflection upon myself and not the restaurant there) and so have no opinion on the matter, nothing to say. I love the yearly corn dogs at Bryan’s in Porto da Barra. I’d probably be stopped at the Donana’s transom for some rubish transgression.

And if I were even more bumptious than I already am I’d presume to tell a writer who writes for the Times and elsewhere how to write his articles; how when writing about Salvador and Bahia one MUST include something about Bahia’s Great Recôncavo being the Cradle of Samba (the National Music of Brazil)! How one must expostulate upon the Primordial Chula — Ancestral Samba — which is still played and danced to in the Recôncavo by wonderfully resilient people living in poverty.

But then I’ve been living here in Salvador for 27 years, and I learned a few things from Seth’s article myself. Viva!!!!!

36 Hours in Salvador, Brazil

Lavagem de São Braz, 2019!!!

São Braz, Bahia is a fishing village at the north end of the Baía de Todos os Santos. It is a place poor in money in rich in culture. The village’s lavagem (a ritual washing of Catholic church steps by people of candomblé, followed by a street party) takes place on January 13th.

And São Braz’s enormously historically-and-artistically important João do Boi (John of the Ox) will play with his group Samba Chula João do Boi from around 2 p.m.

They can be seen in the video at the bottom of this page

Roda de Choro in Mother’s House

“Mother’s House” is  Casa da Mãe in Salvador’s neighborhood of Rio Vermelho, the mother in question being Yemanjá, female deity of the salt waters. Casa da Mãe sits across from the beach where every February 2nd presents are taken out to sea for Yemanjá, and an enormous festival takes place.

Thursday nights these days are given to choro — exquisite choro — played by Elisa Goritzki, Dudu Reis, Daniel Velloso Rocho, and Sebastian Notini — and other musicians who show up and sit in.

Cover charge is 10 reais (for such fabulous music; can you believe it?).

Food and drink on the premises. Casa da Mãe is owned and run by Stella Maris, a young(ish) singer from the town of Santo Amaro, at the north end of the bay.

Casa da Mãe’s address is Rua Guedes Cabral, 81.

Daniel Velloso Rocho plays Interrogando by João Pernambuco, who emigrated from Recife, Pernambuco — hence his apelido — to Rio de Janeiro to find work as a musician in the early part of the 20th century…and who ended his days as as an entrance guard at a school where the students (and almost certainly the faculty) were unaware that the courtly gentleman watching over things there was one of Brazil’s greatest artists.

Hot Dougie’s is Re-Opening!

Hot Dougie’s was Doug Adair’s ostensible hot dog joint in Porto da Barra, here in Salvador, but the place was really more about music than hot dogs (and chili nachos and such). It was kind of a hole-in-the wall where people were served over the front counter giving onto the street (directly across that street from the beach), with musicians sitting outside and tables and chairs for customers. It was perfect for a tropical country like Brazil.

Doug closed down for a while and is re-opening — or kind of re-opening — this coming Friday, December 28th. The uncertainty is whether or not the necessary permits will come through by tomorrow (as I write). If they don’t, there’s going to be music anyway (samba, from 6 p.m., with Lula & os Marinheiros) and Doug will be giving away free samples.

When things are fully rolling at Hot Dougie’s 2.0 there will be craft beer on draft and along with the original menu there will be a whole healthy menu too, the latter under the aegis of channeled Burl Ives…Uncle Burl!

UPDATE! Doug’s alvará (license) to open officially hasn’t come through yet, so the place will be unofficially open and giving away “samples”, including beer (!).

Lula and the guys will be there playing, the plan being to utilize the bus stop across the street as a stage…

Gonna be interesting to see how things work out! But work out one way or another, they will!

What to Do in Salvador This Friday Night

Samba in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil: Dec. 14, 2018

One more wonderful night of real music with Pedrão Habib and Grupo Botequim…and special guests including the Ganhadeiras de Itapuã.

The Ganhadeiras sing deep roots Bahian music, including sambas de roda.

As usual beer will be served on the premises by the parish priest.

National Geographic Recommends Salvador, Brazil

National Geographic has a “Best Trips” / “Where to Travel 2019” feature online, twenty-eight recommended locations…

One of these is Salvador, Brazil.

The description begins “The capital of the northeastern state of Bahia is Brazil’s musical heart and soul. Multiple music genres, such as bossa nova, samba, and tropicália, were born in the city…”

We’ll give National Geographic credit for including Salvador! And won’t quibble about the fact that bossa nova wasn’t born in Salvador (although it was born in the hands of Bahian João Gilberto, of Juazeiro, Bahia)…and the fact that samba was born in the Recôncavo (although the Recôncavo — in the cultural sense — at one time extended into what is now metropolitan Salvador, giving the statement in question a certain erring logic).

Tropicália? (yawn, the ’60s are over). Axé music? (snore).

Bahia is a King Solomon’s mine of musical riches. The thing about mines is ya gotta dig.