If it is Tuesday…it’s Olodum in Pelourinho

I arrive on a Tuesday. Stressed out from my economy seat and not so consumerable meal.  I checked in to my hotel and went to sleep for a few. You do this because on Tuesday night, we follow the beat of the drums to Pelourinho, the old section of Salvador, Bahia in Brazil.  Highways and sidewalks with modern high-rise buildings give way to cobblestone streets as the drumming grows louder and you no longer hear it, you feel it. The people begin to move with a singular rhythm. The colonial churches and buildings guide you to small streets and alleys and there you are, In the midst of a thousand of new friends who were also drawn and can feel the beats of AFRICA.

Olodum is the Drumming that takes place on Tuesdays and has since 1979. Back then it was “Terça da Bença” (Tuesday of Blessing), originally designating the day Saint Francis of Assisi, would distribute food to the needy. Later it became the day when bands would practice. Now the streets of Pelourinho fill with people dining, drinking and dancing. It is truly a street party on the grandest, but purest scale.

As a bit of history, The Grupo Cultural Olodum was founded in 1979 by the dwellers of the Maciel-Pelourinho district of Salvador. It has grown to include any number of street marching bands. Clubs with bands and corner groups fill in the chorus. But back then they were working to get their percussion section into Carnaval. Blacks were not always part of this celebration known Worldwide. The name Olodum, like the drum, the rhythm and the people all are African. Olodum is from Olodumaré “the God of all gods” in the Nigerian Yoruba religion of Candomblé which is another reason why you must visit Salvador and Bahia. All this and so much more is alive in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil’ where the African Diaspora LIVES.
Gene Harley, Executive Producer


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