Olodum performed a concert in the old town of Salvador; it has a very traditional
Afro-Brazilian influence with all sorts of drums and multiple singers. If you’re
looking for a younger crowd that loves to dance then this is the place for you.
There are vendors inside the building where you can buy food and other drinks! Olodum
is a world renowned Afro-Brazilian cultural group. Olodum (pronounced oh-lo-doon)
was founded in 1979 as a bloco afro (African Bloc), a Bahian carnaval association
promoting African heritage and black pride through music, dance and art.
At first I was not excited to see the Olodum concert. Our group had been
traveling in the bus the entire day, and when we finally reached the hotel in Salvador
the last thing I wanted to do was go back on the bus.
The concert was located in the old part of Salvador in an area
called the Pelourinho. When we finally got to the concert I was very happy that
I went. The band consisted of heavy bass drums and percussion. The drummers were
very flashy; they would throw the bass drums in the air, catch them and continue
playing. The first singer reminded me of a Brazilian Lauryn Hill. Looking around
the crowd I noticed something interesting: for the first time we were not the only
group of tourists. I saw a woman my age and I saw a group of older men who spoke
English with American accents and later spoke Portuguese to a group of Brazilian
women. One of the biggest differences I noticed on my first night in Salvador was
the greater African influence that existed in the music and the dance there as compared
to Rio. Another difference that surprised me was how there were many more foreign
tourists in Salvador than in Rio.
Olodum was another live band that was more like a concert atmosphere. The
location was interesting as we were at the top of a building in the Pelourinho district.
Now that we were in Salvador, the people and the culture seemed to have changed
dramatically. This music reminded me more of a reggae concert than anything else;
in fact, I learned that Olodum is credited with pioneering samba-reggae fusion.
There didn’t seem to be set dances like the samba or forró; people here were more
inclined to do their own thing. Also, this atmosphere seemed to be more about the
people on stage rather than the interaction on the ground floor, which was completely
okay with me because Olodum put on a great show.
Olodum was by far one of my favorite nights in Brazil. After a 15-hour
bus ride and having 20 minutes to check into our hotel, take a shower and be downstairs
to go out we were not too enthusiastic, to say the least. But once we arrived in
downtown Bahia at the Olodum concert everyone’s eyes immediately lit up and it was
time to party. Imagine people squashed to the left and right of you, everyone sweaty,
and people dancing and having the time of their lives; that is what Olodum was.