Ilê Aiyê is one of the coolest
events that one could attend; it is very different than the samba school in Rio
de Janeiro. It has an Afro-Brazilian influence with amazing drums. These concerts
go all night and everyone dances the night away.
There is no wrong or right way to dance at these concerts; as long as you are moving
to the beat then you are dancing correctly!
Our group’s last chance to experience Brazilian nightlife came at a samba
school in Salvador called Ilê Aiyê. The location of the school was not in the favelas
but it was probably in the poorest neighborhood our group had visited during the
trip. The school was very similar to the Salgueiro in Rio; however, when the music
started playing the differences between the two styles of Samba became noticeable.
The Ilê Aiyê had its percussion on the dance floor right in front of the stage and
the singers were higher up behind the drums. Looking at the crowds, I could tell
that the style of dance was different from what we saw in Rio. The movements were
more fluid and there was less of an emphasis on following the samba footwork. I
also noticed at the Salgueiro School that there were a lot of couples and a lot
of the dances were done with partners, whereas at Ilê Aiyê the majority of people
were single and dancing by themselves. It was interesting to notice how the Afro-Brazilian
influence on the city of Salvador produced differences between samba schools.
The last show we saw in Brazil did not disappoint, as Ilê Aiyê put on a great performance.
Ilê Aiyê, like Olodum, is an organization that seeks to empower Afro-Brazilians
and also sponsors musicians who perform at their headquarters in a Liberdade neighborhood
in Salvador. This Ilê seemed to be heavily African-influenced as they were strictly
a percussion group. Ilê Aiyê had many people who would get on stage and perform
with them, some of whom I am sure are famous in Brazil because everyone was singing
the lyrics to their songs. Our group enjoyed the show from the VIP section in the
balcony, which was a wonderful experience. Being able to just watch everyone party
and get ready for Carnaval was the chance of a lifetime. Even better was when the
group went downstairs to join the Brazilians on the dance floor in our last night
at a place that has nightlife down to an art.
Walking up a hill to reach the Ilê Aiyê as we spent our last night out in Bahia
was a perfect way to end our fabulous trip to Brazil. We had VIP wristbands, which
gained us access to the floor above the dance floor. The dance floor consisted of
different types of individuals of all ages, with drummers in the front blasting
out the most amazing beats. We were told that everyone has a twin in Brazil and
I did not believe it until this night, when we spotted someone who reminded us all
of a classmate who has blonde hair. This was extremely odd because blonde is a hair
color you seldom find in Bahia. This was the best way to say farewell to Brazil!