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The Bigger Story Behind Brazilian Music

In 2010, I was in my mid-twenties. It was then that I took my first international trip. For most Indians, South East Asia, US or the UK tends to be the first international destination. I was one of those odd Indians who reached South America for the first long trip.

It was a continent I knew nothing about, except that there was great music and the women were super attractive.

Unfortunately, both these things turned out to be true. Which meant that I had to return some day.

Around the same time I discovered the booming drums of Batucada. The music that fills the heart with joy and energy!

In the later years I realized that this wonderful music comes from another wonderful Brazilian state called Bahia. This state is the heart of Afro-Brazilian culture.

If there ever was a music that I wanted to learn, then it was this. That’s how BatucadaBeats became a part of ‘The 12 Project’.

My search also took me to an interesting place. Religion.

The rhythms and beats of Batucada were steeped in an Afro-Brazilian religion called Candomble.

Much like local practices of Hinduism, this religion is heavy on mysticism and colourful ceremonies. To me, learning the music is getting closer to this wonderful religion. Candomble does not believe in duality (good or evil) and just that everyone has a destiny that must be fulfilled.

Beautiful orixas(gods) manifest themselves in form of spirits through human beings. These elaborate Candomble ceremonies are an experience like no other.

With this inquisitive zest for Afro-Brazilian music & religion I arrived in Salvador(capital of Bahia state) a few days ago.  It has been difficult to get too close to Candomble because it is a secretive religion. My problems are multiple because I do not speak Portuguese either.

But as always, my luck has put me in touch with some wonderful people. I am taking drums lessons from a wonderful musician and an even better human being called Mario Pam.

Like all real music schools in Bahia, this one is also located in a favela(slum).

And in this small garage, I am challenging myself to learn something I have never tried my hand at before – music. But at the same time it’s a journey into one of the most mesmering religions in the world – Candomble.

Wherever this takes me, I am sure I will have a story to tell.

Axe Bahia!

(Good vibes from Bahia).

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