Tuesday night in Pelourinho

Salvador da Bahia Travel Blog

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From the first day we arrived in Salvador, the volunteers who had been there for awhile had been talking about Tuesday night in Pelourinho. Every Tuesday night there's a celebration in the historic city center. I didn't understand the celebration until I actually saw it. It's considered to be a touristy event but I absolutely loved it and ended up going every Tuesday I was in Salvador.

After dinner that night, there was a mad dash for the showers. We quickly learned that morning showers were practically impossible and a bit rude to the other housemates unless you wanted to wake up really really early. With the humidity, running around with young kids, and beach time, we definitely wanted to shower before going anywhere at night. After getting ready, we all divided up into cabs and headed for Pelourinho. We had a cab full of new volunteers and didn't know where to go once we were dropped off there. We noticed some tourists so we followed them. We turned a corner we were all of a sudden a huge square. There were tons of people, food and beverage kiosks everywhere and a big stage with a live samba band.

Eventually we found some other volunteers and they showed us to their favorite drink fruitstand. They have a variety of tropical fruit set out and you pick your fruit and your poison and they make a fresh mixed drink for you right there. I, of course, ordered a caipirinha. We hung around for a bit and met some of the local kid vendors. At night in Pelourinho you will find plenty of kids selling beaded necklaces to tourists, some that look as young as eight or nine. Most of them are good kids who go to school during the day and sell jewelry at night. One of them introduced himself to me as Silas. He surprisingly spoke English very well and I asked him how he learned to speak it. He said that he had learned it on the streets, interacting with tourists. He looked at me like I should have guessed that. We hung around for a bit with the street kids and then we went closer to the stage. There was a huge audience and it was so much fun dancing and being in the middle of it.

After awhile, a volunteer who had been there for awhile told us that there was much more to see. So we wandered the cobblestone streets and started to hear the sounds of drums in the distance. We eventually found the origin and it turned out to be Dida the all-girl drumming group! I had seen a documentary on them and it was one of many things that inspired me to come to Bahia. We hung around and danced for awhile and then heard even louder drumming. It was Swing do Pelo, another regular Tuesday night batucada ensemble. They roam the streets and stop every once in awhile and make their way through Pelourinho. It was so entertaining to watch- they did some crazy things with their drums and sticks in the air. It's hard to explain, you just have to see it!

After the drumming, we learned there was still more to see and do. We made our way to a restaurant/club called Habeas Copus... yes, Copus. At this club there was a huge crowd and a live band playing forro. Forro is probably the Brazilian equivalent of American country music but in my opinion, so much better. We made our way through the huge crowd and found the rest of the volunteers sitting at a table. They have food and drinks there, but in true third world style, it can take forever to get what you want. Everyone on the dance floor was doing some sort of two-step and dancing gracefully with partners. A group of us girls went to the dance floor and attempted to dance like the Brazilians. Almost instantaneously, were all dancing with male partners who were trying to lead us and teach us how to dance to forro. If we somehow shook off our overly-enthusiastic partners, it was only a matter of time before we had new ones. There was no asking, just grabbing of hands. It was irritating for a bit until I settled into the fact that that was just the way things were there and just went with the flow.

That night, I definitely understood why Bahia is called "the land of happiness" and "the land of the drum". I got to experience the different types of music the region is famous for. It was an amazing night and by the end of it, I had officially fallen in love with Salvador!
Orkide48 says:
I also fell in love with Salvador, Pelourinho, the city of music, rhythm, dance and happy people. We were staying in Nega Maluca in Pelourinho twice in 2005/2007. Actually my visits to Brazil made me book a flat in Natal:):) Looking forward to the building project being completed in October 2009
Posted on: Dec 06, 2008
worldcitizen says:
I'm not sure if Dida has a CD- I never saw anyone selling them. I was able to get one from Swing do Pelo though. If you get the Documentary Channel, they show the documentary on them pretty often. It's called "Girl Beat: The Power of the Drum"
Posted on: Apr 27, 2007
AndiPerullo says:
Do you know if Dida has a CD?

The pictures of these kids are precious!
Posted on: Apr 27, 2007
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Salvador's historic city center
Pelourinho is often referred to as "touristy" in guidebooks and articles on Salvador. It is touristy, but it has a lot of things that make it worth vi… read entire review