On our first night in Salvador, Cesar, our tour organizer, took us to an Olodum concert. According to him Olodum is a very popular music and cultural group throughout and is known internationally. I was really excited to experience a concert in Brazil and to compare it to American concerts. The concert was outside in an area surrounded by buildings. There was a lower level that had many food stands selling popular Brazilian snacks and beverages. A lot of people were on this level, socializing while enjoying the music and food. We walked up to the upper level, which was covered by an awning, and was it crowded! Everywhere, people were standing, dancing and singing. Vendors threaded their way through the crowd carrying coolers full of beer, water and sodas. All types of people were there: young, old, white, black and tan. This supported my belief that music in Brazil brings together people of all different social and ethnic groups.
The thing I remember the most from Olodum's performance is the drummers. One of them had crazy hair that was full of braids and tied with neon hair bands that glowed in the black light. There were two drummers on stage. They had huge red drums and they were amazing. They could do all of these intricate dance moves with their drums. I was surprised to see that this concert reminded me of a lot of concerts I've attended in America. It's always very crowded and extremely hot, but always so much fun.
In Rio de Janiero, we went to the Feira de São Cristóvão, a traditional marketplace famous for things from northeastern Brazil. It was full of vendors selling everything you could think of, including movies, CDs, jewelry, food and souvenirs. At opposite ends of the marketplace were two stages with a large area designed for dancing. Throughout the evening there were multiple performers singing popular Brazilian songs. Every song was upbeat and lively. There was a large crowd surrounding the dance area, eating, drinking and tapping their feet to the beat. At first, there were only a few people dancing. It began with couples dancing the forró, a traditional country dance of Brazil's northeastern region, while the crowd watched and cheered them on. As the night progressed, more people began to join in, dancing all together, not just in pairs. At first, we stood by and watched while cheering on the singer. The Brazilian forró dance style is very different from American dance. After a while, many of us decided to join in the festivities because it looked like so much fun! I really enjoyed the fact that even though I'm almost positive that every single person there knew we were Americans, once we started dancing and enjoying the music, they gladly included us in the fun. A lot of guys and girls even asked members of our group to dance with them. It seemed to me that music and dance helps to bring Brazilians, even those from different backgrounds, together.
While in Brazil, we went to a few concerts. The first one, in Rio, was informal. There was a stage with multiple performers. Most people were standing around the dance floor eating dinner or enjoying drinks. Even when a lot of people were dancing, the dance floor was never crowded. In contrast, the Olodum concert was a much more formal venue, with only one band playing the entire evening, and everyone at the concert was crowded around the stage dancing. I enjoyed both of these concerts because of their differences. I liked that the concert in Rio was much more laid-back; people would dance for a while, go sit down, eat, listen to the music, and then come back and dance a little more. On the other hand I loved that everyone at the Olodum concert in Salvador was dancing the entire time. It was much more fun and entertaining dancing in a large crowd. I am really glad I got to experience these two very different Brazilian concerts!
Video of Olodum