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African-Brazilian Culture and Regional Identity in Bahia, Brazil$

Scott Ickes

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780813044781

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813044781.001.0001

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Carnival of the People

Carnival of the People

Batucadas and Afoxés

(p.143) 5 Carnival of the People
African-Brazilian Culture and Regional Identity in Bahia, Brazil

Scott Ickes

University Press of Florida

Abstract and Keywords

Chapter 5 explores the important changes that took place within Bahian Carnival during the Vargas era. Between 1938 and 1952 the elites clubs, which had dominated Carnival since the late nineteenth century, were financially hampered. This created a vacuum within Carnival that the African-Bahian batucadas filled. The batucadas and the African-Bahian afoxés played important roles in creating the association between Bahia and African-Bahian culture. The chapter shows the importance of African-Bahian agency, the power of public performance and ritual, and the extent and limitations of the dominant class's reshaping of the meanings of Bahianness from 1930 to 1954. This chapter is the first scholarly treatment of mid-twentieth-century Bahian Carnival.

Keywords:   Carnival, Batucadas, Afoxés, Samba

In 1942, Salvadoran poet, journalist, and magazine editor Áureo Contreiras wrote a piece for the conservative daily A Tarde titled “The Value of the Cordões and Batucadas to Carnival.” In his article, which was reprinted the following year in the Diário de Notícias, he argued that the small clubs from the poorer neighborhoods (the pequenos clubes), including the African-Bahian batucadas (small percussion-based carnival groups), were the “truest aspects of the festivities” and the “authentic core of the carnivalesque soul.”1 In making his case, Contreiras appealed to the nationalist discourse coming into vogue in the 1940s that Brazil was a mixture of Indians, Africans, and Portuguese—“the three sad races”—whose “shouts and songs” filled the streets during carnival. The cordões and batucadas, popular carnival institutions that paraded during the three days of carnival, were born in reaction to both the joys and the bitterness of everyday popular life. “Real carnival,” Contreiras was saying, was carnival as practiced by the working classes. Contreiras also singled out these groups' use of the pandeiro, cuíca, and reco-reco2 “and all the barbarous instruments evocative of the old slave quarters and of the Candomblé terreiros” as links to a bittersweet Bahian past that was nevertheless central to Brazil's formation. Contreiras's praise illustrates the larger discursive shift toward celebrating working-class African-Bahian contributions to carnival as the truest, most authentic component of this Bahian festive institution.

Contreiras's appeal reveals a number of things. It emphasizes the presence of African-Bahian agency in pushing cultura negra—the batucadas, in particular—to the forefront of Bahian carnival. In a manner similar to that described in the above discussion of the popular festivals, African Bahians took advantage of the transformative power of carnival to push for and receive greater cultural and symbolic relevance within the city's carnival (p.144) and beyond. Carnival's ludic (playful, transgressive) nature holds a capacity for individuals or groups to transcend, expand, or magnify themselves and their social condition in public spaces.3 The batucadas institutionalized and ritualized the presence of working-class African-Bahian musical practices and sociability. The afoxés, groups whose carnival participation was deeply influenced by the culture and cosmology of the terreiros, were perhaps an even more forceful (re) assertion of the right to coexist of Salvador's long-marginalized and persecuted African-Bahian religious institutions, subcultures, and values. These assertions deepened the process by which African-Bahian practices were incorporated into notions of regional identity and Bahianness, as Bahian carnival came to the fore as another venue of cultural political mediation and the creation of a common cultural framework for political negotiation and disputation. Finally, Contreiras's appeal also reveals the relevance of the Vargas-era project of creating a national Brazilian identity and how that project gave impetus to the contributions of journalists, authors, and public intellectuals, among others, to the ideological reappraisal of the place of African-Bahian culture in Bahia.

The reappraisal of African-Bahian contributions to carnival, part of the focus of this chapter, was largely carried out in the articles and editorials written by members of the Association of Carnival Chroniclers such as Contreiras. This association of reporters, which included one or two from each of the city's major newspapers, spent the greater part of January and February and sometimes March organizing and encouraging participation in the various dances, dress rehearsals (ensaios), and ceremonies leading up to carnival. The Association of Carnival Chroniclers assumed responsibility for publicizing carnival, mobilizing participation, and generally livening up the festivities. Their newspapers were a primary source of awards and prizes during carnival alongside those from the mayor's office, thus wielding a degree of fiscal leverage to influence carnival performance. The Carnival Chroniclers were also the principal commentators on the events of the three days of carnival and thus actively participated in constructing the meanings of the festivity for the city. Their efforts played a fundamental role in shaping the structure of carnival, how people and groups participated (or did not participate), and the dominant interpretations of carnival.

The standard historiographic narrative on Bahian carnival barely recognizes the period from 1930 to 1954. The story typically begins in the 1880s, when the largely white “official carnival,” with its grand parades, emerged alongside a “popular carnival” made up of a wide variety of smaller associations, including associations organized by African Bahians.4 From this (p.145) point the narrative jumps to 1949 and the founding of the afoxé Filhos de Gandhy and the creation in 1951 of the trio elétrico (electric trio), which was initially three musicians with amplified music atop a vehicle.5 Both were significant innovations. Filhos de Gandhy, now several thousand strong, creates one of the most striking visual images of today's Bahian carnival. The trio elétrico, greatly updated technologically to be much bigger and much louder, provides contemporary carnival with its official structure and much of its commercial attraction.

Nevertheless, changes in Bahian carnival during the years from 1930 to 1954 were particularly significant for Bahian regional identity and cultural politics. From its earliest days in the 1880s to the late 1930s, Bahian carnival centered on the official parades organized by the city's elite, the centerpiece of which was the three grandes clubes (big clubs): Cruz Vermelha (Red Cross), Inocentes em Progresso (Innocents Progressing), and Fantoches da Euterpe (Marionettes of Euterpe, the Greek muse of music, song, and dance). After 1930, however, the elite clubs fell into a prolonged period of financial disarray that mirrored Salvador's relative economic decline, which lasted into the 1950s. “Popular carnival” and the small clubs filled the vacuum, creating new meanings of carnival in Bahia. From the late 1930s to the early 1950s, African-Bahian carnival associations, especially the batucadas, increased their public presence during the three days of celebrations. The batucadas played sambas that had been created in the recording industry, but they also wrote and performed their own music and lyrics and thus were a public manifestation of a sort of raw, uncommercialized, African Bahianness. The 1940s became the “Era of the Batucadas.” Their rise was demographic, but their popularity and favorable coverage in the press also increased. Furthermore, during the late 1940s the afoxés experienced a revival that gave them an opportunity to add their own contributions to the reshaping of Bahian regional identity.

After 1950, the elite clubs regained their financial footing and some of their former prominence, but they did not recover their previous level of dominance over the form, content, or meanings of carnival. For over a decade Salvador's carnival had favored the festive practices of working-class African Bahians as the central symbolic markers of Salvadoran carnival identity. The importance of samba and batucadas during carnival and the reanimation of the afoxés in the late 1940s had established a permanent and powerful cultural association between African-Bahianness and carnival in the dominant discourse. The demise of the elite clubs and the rise of the small clubs shifted how working-class Bahians experienced carnival away (p.146) from a passive act (of appreciating the floats and their symbolic reinforcement of social hierarchy) toward their active participation.

Over the same period, moreover, carnival in Salvador spread and became more democratic and working class as the number of smaller clubs, including the batucadas, increased in the city's working-class neighborhoods. This demographic shift distinguished Salvador's participatory street carnival from Rio de Janeiro's more centralized spectacle. At the same time, from the 1930s, working-class Salvadorans spread popular carnival festivity beyond its traditional demarcation, invading the ritual space of the other major popular festivals and thus widening the presence of elements of African-Bahian culture such as samba and the batucadas beyond the spatial and temporal confines of the carnival calendar.6 This chapter will discuss how carnival in Bahia changed after 1930 and how these changes contributed to the reshaping of the meanings of African-Bahian culture. Carnival was not, however, an egalitarian moment free of its historical-structural context. Carnival provided not only avenues of racial and class resistance against the dominant culture but also mechanisms by which the dominant class could co-opt and circumscribe subaltern initiatives and/or reinforce the status quo.7 The chapter ends with an assessment of how carnival continued to reinforce Salvador's hierarchies of race and class.

Carnival in Salvador

The early precursor to carnival in Salvador and elsewhere in Brazil was the entrudo. Imported from Portugal, entrudo was characterized by street battles and coquettish play between women and men of all social classes involving water bombs and flour. Although slaves and servants worked hard to prepare festive meals, do extra laundry, and equip their masters with water and supplies, they along with free blacks found time to participate. Theoretically the entrudo was banned as early as 1853, largely on the grounds of being incompatible with “civilization.” In practice, however, the practical jokes and rowdy behavior continued into the 1880s, even after the Bahian police “definitively banned” it in 1878. The Bahian press continued to note, and despair of, such behavior until 1901, especially when the elite were not involved, attacking it as “barbarous” and “uncivilized.”8

The emergence of organized processions in the 1880s marked the beginnings of Salvador's modern street carnival, which elites envisioned as a more ordered and family-friendly event than the popular and promiscuous (p.147) entrudo. In 1884 an elite carnival institution, the Cruz Vermelha Club, was the first to parade through the main streets of the city. This inspired other young men of elite families, and the following year a second carnival club, Fantoches da Euterpe, paraded in the streets. Soon after that, “dissidents” from Cruz Vermelha founded Inocentes em Progresso. All three grandes clubes were dominated by and catered to the interest of the elite and Salvador's small middle class. Their size and prestige dominated Salvador's official carnival throughout the First Republic. They constructed massive allegorical floats that passed through the center of town. Politicians associated themselves with the grandes clubs, and the municipal government subsidized them. The newspapers' extended carnival coverage prior to the 1930s focused on their preparations and performances. Not surprisingly, their activities drew heavily on European carnival customs for inspiration, particularly those of Venetian carnival, and this period is often referred to as the era of Carnaval Veneziano. The elite clubs held confetti battles and masked balls for their members on Friday and Saturday nights in the theaters of São João and Politeama, underlining the distinctions between themselves and “popular carnival.”

The centerpiece of this period was the official carnival procession on the Sunday before Shrove Tuesday. The members of the three big clubs dressed up in costumes and paraded along a circuit with huge and complex carros alegóricos, or floats, that were decorated in keeping with the themes for that year. The crowds along the route threw rose petals, confetti, and streamers, applauding their favorites. The clubs imported most of the materials for their floats and costumes from France, Italy, and England. Even during the years when the elite clubs did not turn out (for financial or other reasons), they were, for most journalists, the “European” and therefore the civilized and modern ideal by which all lesser carnival associations were judged.

Many smaller clubs also participated in carnival during this period. Initially, most of these were middle class, with names such as Gentlemen of Malta, Sons of Venice, or Sons of Pluto. But we should hesitate before accepting Olga Von Simson's assertion of the early twentieth century as the era of “bourgeois carnival,” as opposed to “popular carnival.”9 As early as the late 1890s, popular carnival institutions were in evidence in Salvador. Kim Butler has found “dozens” of “African” clubs after 1896, with names such as the African Knights, African Vagrants, African Hunters, Grandsons of Africa, Defenders of Africa, the African Embassy, and African Merrymakers. Many of these were the carnivalesque manifestations of Salvador's centuries-long traditions of African-Bahian batuques, festive, religious, or (p.148) merely sociable gatherings around percussion, song, and dance. These were soon to be increasingly referred to in the sources, and at first mostly pejoratively, as batucadas. Others were simply blocos (literally “blocks,” or co-ordinated groups of merrymakers), while at least a few were the first wave of afoxés.10

This evidence of so many small “Africanized” associations has led Vieira Filho to conclude that after 1904, while official carnival in Salvador may have been dominated by the bourgeoisie, carnival that took place outside the official circuit was very significantly working class, especially in African-Bahian working-class neighborhoods.11 Once the entrudo faded away, along with the pranksterism and incivility that characterized it, the elite turned their anxieties and criticisms to “Africanized” cultural activities in public space.12 Local authorities banned all Afro-centric clubs from carnival from 1905 to 1914.13 Clearly, the decades prior to 1930 were a period when the Bahian elite, especially in the early 1910s, still felt very vulnerable to the possibility that post-abolition Salvador was becoming more “African” and less “European,” as they understood these terms. The most salient social polarity in Salvadoran carnival, then, was a struggle over whether European or African-Creole norms would define Bahian culture.14

After the ban was lifted following carnival season in 1914, Afrocentric carnival clubs returned and grew in number during the 1920s. Even before 1914, the city's daily newspapers began to call attention to the largely African-Brazilian practice of samba music performance and dance within Salvador's carnival. Elites, too, were more accepting of samba. The corta jaca (a form of samba) and the maxixe (a precursor of samba) had been incorporated in the carnival program of elite processions and dances in Salvador as early as 1899, and by 1915, samba was appearing alongside opera overtures and other pieces of “erudite music” during concerts or revues. Then, in 1917, a national record label released what would become known as the first commercialized samba, the song “Pelo Telefone” (“On the Telephone”).15 Journalists reported the following year that carnival was given over to explicit engagement with the samba: African Bahians wrote, performed, and danced sambas for and during carnival. Later, in the 1920s, the reporting on sambas performed in the streets and plazas (although not in the official processions) was reasonably positive, albeit slightly patronizing. Samba, it seems, was an African-Bahian cultural practice that the dominant class could accept, especially during carnival.16 Yet it would be more than a decade before the public discourse in Bahia enshrined samba within Bahian carnival and established the resoundingly positive associations between the (p.149) city's largest, most public cultural event and the region's African-Bahian cultural heritage.

By the 1930s carnival in Salvador had settled into a general pattern. The festivities began on Sunday and ended on Tuesday night. The climactic main parade was typically held on Tuesday evening. The “dramatic and luxuriant” corteges of the elite clubs were the principal attraction, often peopled with “the most beautiful and distinctive feminine visions of our [high] society.”17 The principal allegorical characters on these floats were most often represented by light-skinned Bahians, while the lesser roles in the parades (but rarely on the actual floats), were filled by people of both European and African ancestry. In years when the elite clubs did not parade or contributed in a diminished fashion, there was still an official carnival dominated by dominant-class institutions such as the Athletic Association or the Bahian Tennis Association. Onlookers in the crowds demonstrated their enthusiasm and allegiances by shouting out the names of the elite clubs as they passed by.18 Families set up chairs and even sofas along the main route so the older, younger, and better off could sit and watch the floats, a practice one scholar has characterized as an extension of the elites' reception rooms (salas de visita).19 Originally floats were pulled by horse or donkey, but later motorized vehicles did the pulling. Lesser parades, some with allegorical floats and decorated cars, some with musicians aboard, toured up and down the procession route for much of each day on carnival Sunday and Monday.

The official route, where transit was strictly regulated and the crowds were well policed, was along the Rua Chile and, later in the period, along the Avenida Sete de Setembro. These routes were where the principal crowds gathered, arriving in fantasy dress and masks from early morning, often in same-sex groups. Costumes varied widely, although certain genres or types were very popular, even emblematic—the doctor, the baby with pacifier, the street urchin, the pregnant woman, and animals of all types. Characterizations of Brazilian folk types also made their appearance, such as the caipira, or country bumpkin; the caboclo, or Brazilian Indian (who was typically portrayed as having both indigenous and Portuguese ancestry); and the vaqueiro, or cowboy, of the interior of Bahia. Also represented were archetypes inspired by history and by Hollywood, such as North American cowboys and “Indians,” Roman legionnaires, pirates, and the Pierrots and Harlequins of European carnivals past. The masks were playful, but perhaps they also contributed a maliciousness and licentiousness that was more suggestive than anything else, as Salvador was still intimate (p.150) enough that even masks did not guarantee anonymity. As Edison Carneiro put it, the answer to the ritual entreaty “Can you guess who I am?” (“Você me conhece?”) in Salvador was easily “Yes.”20 Ether in stylized canisters, or lança-perfume, contributed to the gaiety when it was sprayed on a handkerchief or on someone's costume below the nose, but it was burning agony when it was sprayed purposely in someone's eyes.21 Moving through the crowds, roving associations of revelers in blocos, cordões, batucadas, and afoxés complicated the picture all along the routes and the outlying areas. Masks were prohibited after 6:00 p.m., although for several years during the war they were prohibited during the day as well. By the time the day's procession had finished, revelers had already begun congregating in bars, members' clubs, or the homes of friends or relatives, or they had returned home. Most everyone was off the streets by midnight.22

Beyond the Rua Chile the excitement spread farther, spilling in one direction along the Avenida Sete de Setembro and in the other direction into the plaza known as the Terreiro de Jesus and adjacent neighborhoods. The municipal government provided lighting and ornamentation along the length of the official parade route from the Terreiro de Jesus to Campo Grande at the end of Avenida Sete de Setembro. Local businessmen, especially those who ran hotels, bar, cafes, and shops, also contributed. Embracing the adage “Greater animation, greater profits” (“Maior animação, maiores lucros”), local business owners decorated the streets off the main parade route with streamers, flags, and lighting, even erecting stages for live music and getting involved in carnival play themselves. The same preparations occurred to lesser degrees in many of Salvador's outlying neighborhoods, often attracting significant local participation, leading to the formation of very local carnival traditions. Here, away from the “official” carnival, the celebration relied on the contributions of small neighborhood carnival clubs.

These small clubs—known as blocos, cordões, batucadas, and afoxés—were the central institutions and mainstays of popular carnival from 1930 to 1954. There was some imprecision, or at least overlap, in the usage of the four terms for the small clubs, even within the same newspapers or between members of the same association. In addition, clubs sometimes switched from one type to another. In general, however, all small clubs had an elected or self-appointed leadership (diretoria) and each had their own musicians, flag bearer (porta estandarte), and general members, called sócios.

(p.151) The blocos and cordões were composed mainly of individuals from the middle class or from the poor and working classes. (The batucadas and afoxés will be described in detail below.) The main distinction between the blocos and cordões was that the cordões used a mobile cordon to keep control of their members as they paraded through large crowds and to keep out potential troublemakers. Partly for this reason the cordões tended to be smaller than the blocos. The size of the blocos and cordões at the beginning of the period averaged between twenty-five and seventy-five members, but by the end of the period some blocos had more than four hundred participants. Other than size, there was very little in practice that separated the blocos and the cordões from one another. They both grew out of nineteenth-century processional organizations known as ranchos and ternos, which sang, played music, and carried standards and were mostly associated with the Festival of the Three Kings. They both used a variety of wind and percussion instruments and played and sang a range of appropriate and inappropriate carnival songs. They specialized in the marchas (military marches rhythmically adapted for carnival) the radio and the record industry popularized from the early 1900s. The lyrics of this genre were festive and were often satirical, suggestive, and even raucous. Each year the blocos and cordões chose a theme that governed their choice of costume, songs, and behavior. Their masquerades fit their names. For instance, the Merchants of Baghdad wore baggy silk trousers and sash belts, open-necked silk shirts (if they wore any shirts at all), curly toed slippers, and hoop earrings and pendant necklaces, not to mention big, shiny turbans.23

Blocos and cordões could be either predominantly middle-class or working-class associations, and generally they were associated with a given profession or place of business. The bloco Vai Levando (Take It Away), for instance, was founded in the 1940s by dock workers. In photographs from 1946, this crew wears relaxed uniforms (flower-printed shirts) and is almost entirely African Bahian. Although blocos and cordões of the middle class could be quite racially mixed, it is striking that the majority of newspaper photographs showed mostly or entirely white or mostly or entirely black and mixed-race small carnival clubs.

The blocos and cordões were sexually mixed. Some smaller clubs seemed to be mostly women, as their names would indicate—Crioulas Farristas (Festive Creole Women), for instance. Indications from the sources suggest these were not men masquerading as women, although this was common—it was carnival, after all. The bloco Garotos do Morro (Kids from the (p.152) Hill) from Liberdade was presided over by Hilda Santos.24 Also memorable from 1943 was the number of female (and male) carnival-goers dressed as U.S. soldiers, complete with the caps. Many women embraced the new fashion that year of a “uniform” that consisted of a blouse and short pants.25 Yet even when the members of the small clubs were mostly women, the leaders were mostly male. Women members typically held only the position of flag bearer. The directors were generally responsible for deciding what days (or mornings or afternoons) the groups paraded through the streets, where they went, what competitions they entered, and what music they played. When not parading or competing, the members were free to celebrate carnival in their own ways.

Both the region's overall economic performance after 1930 and the war meant that participation in the smaller clubs waxed and waned. Establishing an accurate trajectory of individual clubs over the entire period is probably not possible, but the prevailing trend after 1930 was toward more new blocos and cordões that brought more people into organized ritual festivity. The first mention of public subsidies for the small clubs comes in the early 1940s, although newspaper-sponsored competitions that offered cash prizes date to the mid-1930s.26 Thus although the elite clubs were the focus of official carnival in the early twentieth century, the small clubs played a role in the festivities and were poised to emerge as more relevant. Starting in the mid-1930s, the small clubs—the blocos, the cordões, and especially the batucadas—began to rival and eventually surpass the elite corteges as the centerpiece of Bahian carnival.

The Power and Demise of the Elite Clubs

In the early 1930s, politicians and the press gravitated to the power of the big clubs—Cruz Vermelha, Inocentes em Progresso, and Fantoches da Euterpe—and thus enhanced their aura. A central inspiration was the possibility that Salvador could to some degree repeat the success that Rio de Janeiro was having identifying itself nationally and internationally with its carnival. In the case of Rio de Janeiro, this was happening through the institutionalization of its “samba schools” (large working-class, neighborhood-based organizations) within its carnival format.27 Bahia's dominant class, however, clearly preferred the big clubs as the centerpiece of the festivities, and the dominant narrative in the press in the days leading up to carnival focused on whether or not the clubs would participate, who their queens would be, what would happen at their events, and what the themes of their (p.153) allegorical floats would be. Bahian elites, especially young adult children of political and economic leaders, continued to associate themselves entirely with the three elite clubs after 1930, as did the Estado Novo political regime.28 This is somewhat surprising, given Vargas's emphasis on co-opting the working-class samba schools into typical patron-client relationships with his government. Bahian newspapers occasionally reminded everyone of Vargas's interest in fostering carnival activities in the national capital, for example pointing out that media reports from Rio de Janeiro “inform that Getúlio Vargas has authorized the Mayor's Office of Rio to augment the contribution toward Rio's carnival clubs.”29

In Bahia, however, Vargas's administrators must have felt that the elite clubs provided a suitable conduit for connecting with Salvadorans, taking advantage of the longstanding ties of loyalty between members of the working class and the elite clubs. Before 1930, the municipal government had often provided a baseline of financial support for the official carnival parade. In addition, municipal authorities had typically provided traffic control during the festivities, liaised with privately organized neighborhood commissions of local business owners, and provided illumination and decoration for the central area. From the early 1930s, the mayor's office also began to subsidize the appearance of the three big clubs, which symbolized the power of their elite members and legitimized their position at the top of Salvadoran society.30 This of course made sense for a number of reasons, and the clubs were not shy about pointing this out in their annual requests to the mayor's office for the subsidies that by 1930 they had almost come to expect. The benefit, as one letter put it, of the prosperity of the clubs would be “reflected in the progress of the city, intensifying the movement of its commerce, its industry, and its arts” as well as providing a much-deserved “sound distraction” for the population of the city and state.31 There is also some indication that in the years when the big three were to be involved in the parade, the mayor's office provided financial resources for the official main parade route along Rua Chile at the expense of the more popular and traditional festivities along the Baixa dos Sapateiros. The mayor's office dragged its feet so much that despite that thoroughfare's traditional claims to rival the Rua Chile, by 1940 the Baixa dos Sapateiros was no longer part of the official parade route.32

After the beginning of the Estado Novo in 1937, the new government's administrators also appreciated the political advantages of associating themselves with a successful carnival. They seemed to have increased their support for carnival over the years before World War II. They still focused, (p.154) however, on the elite clubs, as illustrated by the fact that in 1939 the interventor, the mayor, the head of the Secretariat of Public Security, and other high-ranking Estado Novo administrators and ideologues held honorary positions on the Board of Directors of the Cruz Vermelha carnival club. This was not an elitist or exclusionary act as it may seem. The big clubs had a lot of popular support, especially Cruz Vermelha.33 Working-class Bahians had strong ties of loyalty to one elite club or another that at times spilled over into assaults, sometimes with knives.34 According to occasional police reports in the newspapers, these disputes between club affiliates were invariably between artisans or workers. Often entire professions identified with a club. Shoemakers, for example, supported Cruz Vermelha. These allegiances decreased the distance between elites and the rest of Salvador and reinforced the ties of patronage that structured Salvador's social hierarchy.35 The mayors, beginning with Estado Novo appointee Neves da Rocha (1938–42), associated themselves with the festivities by presiding over such events as the ceremony to crown the carnival queen.36

In the 1930s newspapers and radio programs, whose contents were often mentioned in the press, strongly supported the idea that the three elite clubs were central to Salvador's carnival. Coverage focused on the institutions and activities of these—their floats, their parades, their dances. The themes these clubs chose included references to the classical world, Western Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and Brazilian current events. These themes rarely spoke directly to working-class or African-Bahian culture prior to late 1938, and North American sociologist Donald Pierson recorded that “of the 168 young ladies from Bahia's best families on the floats in the carnival parade of 1936, all were whites except two, and these were very light mulattoes.”37 The three elite clubs dominated the extended and much-publicized process of voting for the carnival queen, as their candidates were the only ones who had any chance of winning. Tellingly, photographs of the candidates never revealed any unambiguous African ancestry, and the occasional biographical detail almost always emphasized that the candidates, and especially the winners, were from the wealthier classes. The winner in 1939, for example, was Senhorita Maria Regina Gouveia, who “belonged to a traditional Bahian family.”38 Even though coverage of the activities of small clubs and working-class events often squeezed into the column inches devoted to the big clubs, especially from the mid-1930s, this initially only served to establish their marginal status within the media discourse on carnival prior to 1940.

(p.155) This marginal status was not to last, as 1937 was the final year (with one exception) that the three big clubs paraded with their own separate corteges. In 1938, only Cruz Vermelha, the largest of the three, managed to participate. The elite clubs still held dances and events, but a main parade was beyond them because of financial problems. The global depression had placed a great strain on Bahia's economic growth that weakened the big clubs' capacity to parade their traditional lavish floats. Indeed, their prestige had sunk so low that in 1939 the Municipal Department of Trees and Gardens threatened to prohibit the clubs from participating that year if they constructed floats that were big enough to damage the trees lining the parade route.39 The Department of Trees and Gardens need not have worried. Despite the promises in 1941 of a carnival “blitzkrieg” by “the assault cars of the big clubs,” World War II ended the era of the grandes clubes.40 Even though Brazil remained neutral until August 1942, the war stifled the mood for street carnival. Public festivity on the scale of previous years did not seem appropriate. The war also prevented the big clubs from importing the luxuries they needed for their floats and costumes. The conflict in Europe meant lean times for Bahia's commercial oligarchy that lasted into the 1950s. Carnival in 1940 was “almost good,” but only because the big clubs managed to combine their resources to create one allegorical float, which the press dutifully praised as indicative of Salvador's spirit of wartime cooperation and sacrifice.41 This was as good as it got until the “carnival of Victory” celebrations in 1946. Carnival in 1943 was “very, very cold,” and most partying occurred at the dances in the headquarters of the various clubs rather than in the streets.42 The following year it was an “indisputable failure.”43 Street carnival was effectively canceled in 1945, and it was left to the small clubs to carry out carnival's “offensive against unhappiness.”44

After the war, the three elite clubs struggled to resurrect their dominance of carnival. In 1948, the Conselho Deliberativo dos Préstitos Carnavalescos (Carnival Processions Advisory Council)—representing Cruzeiro da Vitória (formerly Cruz Vermelha, which had changed its name during the war to avoid confusion with the International Red Cross), Fantoches da Eutuerpe, and Inocentes em Progresso—beseeched Governor Otávio Mangabeira to financially support the three big clubs in their effort to “return to the streets of the city, as they did before the war.”45 The governor turned them down on the grounds that the state was facing its own challenges and could not possibly subsidize all three individual corteges, especially given their price tag of over one million cruzeiros each.46 The (p.156) governor nevertheless gave each club “only a small subsidy” (100,000 cruzeiros each), which was not far off the subsidy in 1939 but which meant that the clubs managed only one combined cortege, although each club had its own float and its own flag, trumpeters, band, and honor guard.47 Governor Mangabeira let it be known that he would provide the required funding the following year, for the four hundredth anniversary of Salvador's founding, whose “maximum splendor” was more and more openly intended to attract domestic and international tourists.48

In 1949, Governor Mangabeira was at least partly true to his word, although in the end he was not as generous as the clubs had perhaps expected. Mangabeira was keenly interested in returning the big clubs to Salvador's carnival. This was unusual, as state sponsorship (as opposed to municipal subsidy) was not common in Bahia during these years. During the carnival of 1949, Mangabeira and his family attended the official opening dance of the festivities at the Athletic Association of Bahia. This was atypical for the aristocratic Mangabeira, who was not known for his embrace of cultural populism. He also visited various points around the city where the informal street carnival was most intense. Finally, on the evening of the grand parade, the governor and his family and their guests, who were all from the local political and social elite, observed the main event, which included the three big clubs, as it passed the governor's mansion, which was adjacent to the official parade route.49

It was not lost on Mangabeira that the weakening of the three big clubs and their inability to afford lavish independent corteges had become a metaphor for the demise of Bahia's political and economic influence at the national level. Newspaper editorials laid the blame for the demise of Salvador's carnival on Vargas and in particular on the political and economic priorities of the Estado Novo. In 1947, the Diário de Notícias accused the dictator of “restricting carnival's liberties” and terminating the revival of Salvador's “golden age.” The newspapers frequently made a link between carnival glory and Bahian glory, “showing the rest of Brazil what the ‘Good Land’ [Boa Terra, i.e., Bahia] was capable of realizing.” Regionalists felt that Governor Mangabeira should attempt to revive carnival. In the democratic fervor that marked both the Allies' defeat of the Axis powers and the end of the Estado Novo, the electoral success in 1947 of Mangabeira, Bahia's most nationally important native son, over Vargas's preferred candidate symbolized Bahia's rejection of the Estado Novo in favor of regionalism. A revived carnival would underscore this emphasis, especially if it came during the four hundredth anniversary of the founding of the city. There (p.157) was even talk of Mangabeira winning the presidency in 1950, though this did not come to pass; Mangabeira failed to win the nomination of his own national party.50 Hopes for the revival of Salvador's big three clubs and hence the capital's carnival glory fizzled out, too, at least for the moment. Elite carnival revelers had to content themselves with their dances, their carnival queen contest, and their confetti battles. The money was simply not there. The municipal government gave nothing in 1949, although in 1950 Mangabeira released a small subsidy that enabled the three clubs to return to their practice of forming a single cortege with one small float for each club.51

From 1951, however, correspondence between the clubs and the mayor's office reveals that the Mayor's office reprised its former role of heavily subsidizing the three elite clubs.52 This included occasional help from the state government as well, leading to a revival of the elite clubs' parades and of their central position in carnival and carnival discourse.53 For fifteen years carnival in Salvador had ceased to be about dominant-class “artistry and luxuriousness” and was instead very much about the “batucada and animation.”54 Any loss of Bahian political prestige during the Vargas era was somewhat compensated for by Brazil's wider embrace of symbols of African-Brazilian popular culture, which Bahia had in abundance and with which the region was becoming inextricably associated.

The Rise of the Batucadas

The decline of the elite clubs created a vacuum, and the lesser carnival associations—the pequenos clubes, or “small clubs”—became much more central to Bahian carnival. Even before 1938 the size, number, and initiative of the smaller clubs were already altering the balance of carnival toward the popular. The Diário de Notícias began its first competition for small clubs that year, since they were “more animated this year than ever before.”55 In the 1940s, the number of small clubs tripled to well over one hundred, transforming carnival from an elite-centered festival to a popular event dominated almost entirely by the small clubs.

The increase in the number and geographical spread of the batucadas contributed to this popularization. In his introduction to Anísio Félix's Filhos de Gandhi, Bahian historian Cid Teixeira referred to the 1940s as the “Era of the Batucadas.”56 Judging from the carnival-related articles in the newspapers, this was no overstatement, but it was not something that could have been foreseen two decades earlier. Carnivalesque batucadas, to all (p.158) intents and purposes, did not exist in Salvador prior to 1930. Instead, Salvador boasted numerous small blocos and cordões with Afrocentric references in their names, which, thanks to the initiative and agency of the city's working classes, proliferated during the 1920s, picking up where they had left off before the ban on Afrocentric clubs between 1905 and 1914. The reaction in the newspapers was largely positive, especially from 1930 to 1934, when the elite clubs did not parade. The newspapers embraced “popular carnival” and enthused about all the small clubs equally, including those closely associated with African-Bahian culture.57 In addition to the small number of batucadas and afoxés that were active but mostly anonymous in the early 1930s, we find blocos and cordões with names like Os Africanos em Pândega (The Festive Africans), Guerreiros da África (Warriors of Africa), Filhos da África (Sons of Africa), Lordes Africanos (African Lords), Ideal Africano (African Ideal), and Gongo Africano (African Gong). One was named Pândegos de África (African Merrymakers), possibly in homage to one of the first Afrocentric clubs from the 1890s. In 1935, while much was made of the revival of the big clubs and their official parade, significant attention was also given to the semiofficial parade of the small clubs, of which there were over forty, including “musical groups, clubs, grupos africanos [African groups], cordões, and batucadas.”58

The batucadas emerged in the early or mid-1930s. From 1935 the newspapers begin to use the term batucadas in addition to blocos and cordões. This was the first year in which this was done in any systematic way, marking a change not only in nomenclature but also in carnival practice. At this point the Afrocentric blocos and cordões—the grupos africanos—largely disappear from view in press coverage. By 1938, the group A Negra Africana em Folia (Black African Women Celebrating) was the only one vibrant enough to make it into the newspapers. Perhaps many of the Afrocentric clubs became batucadas or samba schools or stayed as blocos or cordões but changed their names to something befitting a trend away from the Afrocentric, most likely influenced by the example set in Rio de Janeiro. Guerreiros de África, for example, may have hypothetically become a samba school, taking the name Bambas da zona (Neighborhood Hotshots) or Malandros da Avenida (Hustlers of the Avenue).

Supporting this supposition, newspaper coverage in 1935 included a large influx of previously unlisted names of small clubs that included all genres, not just batucadas. The members of the Afrocentric clubs may have joined one of these other genres. Surely most did not retire from carnival. Unfortunately, newspaper reports are too vague for us to be certain, and (p.159) oral history interviews are inconclusive. Perhaps this apparent decline of the Afrocentric cordões or afoxés may have been influenced, like so much associated with carnival, by changing trends or fashions. In addition, perhaps the need to assert an African heritage had decreased as acceptance of cultural traditions increased under Magalhães and Vargas. This need may have been fulfilled within the emerging batucadas and samba schools, which were embraced in the nation's capital. Finally, newspaper reporting tended to follow the latest novelties more closely than the older practices. Regardless of the reason, however, the earlier working-class, Afrocentric clubs—the outgrowth of community organization and ethnic identification in the post-abolition period—clearly provided a platform for the rise of the batucadas and afoxés of the 1930s and 1940s, which in turn must be understood as heavily indebted to an African and Creole cultural community that had its own institutions, particularly those associated with Candomblé, and made minimal concessions to the dominant culture, notwithstanding ties of patronage with members of the middle class, especially light-skinned mulatos.59

By 1937, nine different batucada carnival associations were mentioned in the carnival coverage, roughly a quarter of all the small clubs whose genre (bloco, cordão, etc.) could be verified. It is not clear what led to a small club being mentioned, although generally the bigger, more active clubs were included or those that sent some sort of notice to the newspapers. Nevertheless, an assessment of the coverage provides a general idea of the increase in participation of the batucadas. For instance, in 1948, twenty-one different batucadas or samba schools were mentioned, representing just over half of the verifiable total. While the number of small clubs grew rapidly from the late 1930s, the rate of increase of the batucadas outpaced that of the blocos and cordões. In 1951, twenty batucadas were mentioned, although after that, the number leveled off and then began to decline.60 However, in 1951, forty batucadas participated in the “Parade of the Batucadas,” so while there remains some imprecision in determining the absolute numbers and relative weight of the participation of batacudas in Bahian carnival, forty was significant.

The presence of the batucadas in Salvador's carnival after 1930 grew from the city's rich musical heritage. Salvador was steeped in local historical traditions of percussion bands and public performances. These included the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century batuques, a particular subset of rhythms and dances with origins in the context of New World African and African-Bahian culture from which the batucadas derived their name.61 (p.160) Salvador also boasted carnival precedents such as the afoxés of the early twentieth century and the nineteenth-century cucumbís described by Nina Rodrigues, Arthur Ramos, and others.62 Both institutions brought groups of Africans and African Bahians onto the streets during carnival. However, the contemporary impetus for Salvador's carnival batucadas came from Rio de Janeiro's samba schools in the 1920s and the popularization of the repinique or tambor, the portable percussion instrument that allowed the players much greater mobility. Important too was the rise of cultural nationalism in Brazil and the consequent interest in regional or national musical genres and local composers of all genres. This intellectual trend was taken up in Salvador with some alacrity in the late 1920s, and the African-Bahian samba, the batuque, and then the batucada were obvious beneficiaries. During the First Republic, any public form of the batuque or batucada was likely to be singled out for dominant-class criticism in Salvador, although during the early days of samba in the 1910s and 1920s the popularity of these genres at clubs and theatre reviews rose and fell.

Salvador's batucadas, also fittingly known as samba schools (escolas de samba), were most often entirely male affairs. They typically had between ten and twenty working-class African-Bahian members. Donald Pierson described them as comprising “invariably blacks or dark mulattoes.”63 The members were effectively a roving percussion band. The batucadas were typically based in neighborhoods, although any associative ties could bring together musicians and revelers from a variety of neighborhoods or occupations. The costumes or uniforms were the biggest expense for the members, but they were also a point of pride. Each individual was responsible for acquiring the fabric and hiring a seamstress or doing their own sewing.64 As the name batucada implies, percussion and particularly samba rhythms were their forte. They marched in single-file lines and played the samba hits of the day, although the musical style of the batucadas meant a different sort of rendition of these songs than what was heard on the radio. In addition, many batucadas played songs of their own creation. The batucadas, or sambas do morro (“sambas from the hill,” or working-class neighborhoods), as they were also known in Bahia, were much more raw and less melodic. This was the African-Bahian cultural practice closest to the musical traditions of the working classes of Salvador.65

Two examples of batucadas from 1948 illustrate their general characteristics. Malandros em Folia (Hustlers Celebrating) was from the working-class district of Roça do Lobo in Tororó, and Samba School Malandros do Amor (Hustlers of Love) was from the working-class district of Alto (p.161)

Carnival of the PeopleBatucadas and Afoxés

Figure 5.1. A carnival batucada in the streets of Salvador, late 1940s. Photo by Pierre Verger. By permission of the Fundação Pierre Verger.

© Fundação Pierre Verger

das Pombas. The descriptive information comes from the unofficial daily of Bahia's Communist Party, O Momento. During its short legal life span (1945–47) in the immediate postwar climate of democratic openness, the Communist Party used its newspaper to celebrate African-Bahian culture as part of a broader emphasis on working-class life. The newspaper continued to publish, albeit sporadically, after Brazilian communists were proscribed from running for elections in 1948. Not surprisingly, O Momento reported more frequently on the African-Bahian batucadas than on blocos or cordões. This testifies to the relevance of the batucadas to poor and working-class Salvadorans. Malandros em Folia consisted of about ten men, seven women dancers known as pastoras, and three girls filling roles (p.162) as two flag bearers and a mascot. Their principal leader was Otávio Neves de Jesus, nicknamed Dunga, a corporal in the police force (cabo de polícia) and, according to the newspaper, a hotshot (craque) on one of the local soccer teams, Botafogo. The group wrote their own sambas, which they played during their formal dry run (ensaio) through the neighborhood, bringing the neighbors to their doorways to watch. It also attracted a reporter for O Momento, who published the samba lyrics:
  • Nosso samba não pode parar
  • Se alguém vier nos desacatar
  • Damos couro até o sol raiar
  • Com Bia na cuíca
  • Bento no surdo e Balance
  • Neves fazendo a marcação
  • A turma todo dá couro
  • Para alegrar os corações
  • Our samba can't be stopped
  • If someone insults us
  • We'll deliver the goods till the sun comes up
  • With Bia on the cuíca
  • Bento on the surdo drum and Balance
  • Neves keeping time
  • The band as one gives their all
  • To spread happiness to everyone

At this point, each of the principal players sang their own piece. Bia, for example, who played the cuíca, sang first:

  • Fala cuíca malvada
  • Fala cuíca
  • No lugar que tem cuíca
  • Tamborim não vale nada
  • Speak, wicked cuíca
  • Speak cuíca
  • Wherever there's a cuíca
  • Tamborim66 ain't worth nothing

Then Balance sang:

  • Crave o punhal no meu peito
  • Tire sangue e lave a mão
  • (p.163) O relógio marca a hora
  • Da nossa separação.
  • Stick the knife in my chest
  • Draw blood and wipe the hand
  • The clock marks the hour
  • Of our separation.

Finally, Dunga sang lyrics recalling the name of the group:

  • Tenho direito de ser malandro
  • Mas não de ser um santo
  • Nossa Senhora lhe cubra
  • Com seu divino manto.
  • have the right to be a malandro
  • But not to be a saint
  • Our Lady cover you
  • With her divine mantle.67

Two things stand out here. The first is the reference to the malandro (hustler), whose typical behaviors included skipping work, vagabondage, street fighting, womanizing, living by one's wits, or being otherwise “socially irresponsible.” The reference to the hustler's lifestyle (malandragem) reminds us that the sambas the batucadas played during carnival were often edgier than those played over the radio (especially after 1938) or sambas whose lyrics were printed in the papers in the “For you to sing” columns. The popular sambas of the batucadas also represented a certain degree of rebellious assertiveness in their glorification of working-class male values that were associated with samba's socioeconomic context, values that were not necessarily shared or appreciated by the dominant class. Also notable in the lyrics cited above is a pleasure in performance and an assertive self-confidence and playful competitiveness that was one of the chief characteristics of Salvador's popular carnival during the Vargas era. These characteristics of mid-twentieth-century working men's culture in Salvador were manifested in song, dance, checkers, gambling, storytelling, chasing women, capoeira, football, and many other activities.68

A second notable feature of the lyrics was the frequency with which the groups improvised the words they sang.69 There were often also back-and-forth dynamics between two singers. The extemporaneous and flexible nature of the samba genre meant the lyrics could be shaped to suit the (p.164) circumstances, as when Malandros do Amor sought to flatter a reporter from O Momento:

  • Você não está conhecendo
  • O reporter de O Momento
  • É quem anda lutando
  • Pra nos dar melhoramentos.
  • Indicando o povo a se politizar.
  • You don't yet know
  • The reporter from O Momento
  • It's he who is fighting
  • To bring us better lives
  • Leading the people to become politically active.70

The reporter may have prompted these lyrics. Even so, the samba vocalists clearly had the skill to construct lyrics ex tempore or the journalist's artifice would not have had the desired effect. It should also be noted that the lyricists of the batucadas and other popular carnival associations seemed happy to participate in playful give-and-take with the newspaper reporter, although the reporter is more an observer than participant. The lyrics of this samba school clearly promoted the working class and the Communist Party, but this obviously must be appreciated within the context of the exchange with O Momento, the party's newspaper.

Vargas's Estado Novo administrators in Bahia seemed to acknowledge the importance of these small clubs and increased their subsidies by offering a variety of cash prizes to the victors in the numerous competitions of small clubs. This allowed a few of the clubs to more than recoup their licensing fees, assuming they paid them. There is no indication, however, that the subsidies favored the batucadas over the blocos or cordões.71 Certainly municipal subsidy did not work as it did in Rio de Janeiro under the early Vargas regimes, where the samba schools were targeted and the subsidies were used to institutionalize the clubs and encourage them to support Vargas's cultural initiatives, such as by invoking patriotic themes. The nature of carnival in Salvador meant that controlling the political messages of the small clubs would have been too complicated and costly, and the returns would have been uncertain. Vargas's administrators in Salvador, when given the choice, seemed more disposed to align themselves with the elite clubs or the presentation of the carnival Queens. Even in the years in the 1940s when the big clubs did not participate in carnival, there is (p.165) no evidence that politicians sought to associate themselves with particular small clubs or genre of clubs. This would have been an extreme degree of populism (in the Bahian context) that went well beyond where the Estado Novo interventors in Bahia or their immediate successors were willing to go.72

Governor Otávio Mangabeira (1947–51), who was democratically elected, also preferred to associate with the elite clubs or meet with (and, by 1951, pose with) the annual carnival queen.73 However, he was more willing than his predecessors to associate his office with the small clubs. For example, in 1949, Mangabeira “traversed the sections of the city where popular street carnival takes place, confirming the animation of the people.”74 In 1951, perhaps partly in response to his acknowledgment of popular carnival, forty-six small clubs participated in a carnival warm-up parade that was an act of homage to the outgoing governor. Parade participants waved white hankies as they paused outside the governor's mansion to salute him.75 Mangabeira's successor, Regis Pacheco, never seemed particularly interested in Salvador's festivals or popular culture. The mayor during Mangabeira's term, however, José Wanderley Pinho (1947–51), and particularly his successors, mayors Osvaldo Veloso Gordilho (1951–54) and Aristóteles Góes (1954–55), were very supportive of carnival while in office. They attended many social events related to carnival and walked the streets during carnival itself. The first consistent annual municipal subsidy for the small clubs began under Mayor Gordilho in the early 1950s: The mayor's office handed out cash prizes to every small club that competed on the main stages it had set up in the center of town.76 These changes indicate a greater populism and attention to popular carnival, including specifically African-Bahian cultural practices, on the part of Bahian politicians.

Somewhat ironically, it was the elite clubs during the Estado Novo that partially presaged the new emphasis on African-Bahian culture within carnival. The carnival of 1940 was proclaimed the “Carnival of the Bahianas,” and the elite clubs, “inspired by Carmen Miranda's success,” asked women to come to their dances dressed as Baianas. Smaller clubs also held dances with the Baiana theme, and even local business owners operating during carnival were exhorted to dress as Baianas.77 Granted, much of this association of carnival with African-Bahian women was done through parody (indeed, even parody of parody, given the tongue-in-cheek nature of Carmen Miranda's early use of the Baiana costume). In addition, the previous year, 1939, one of the corteges of the elite club Fantoches addressed the contributions of Mãe Preta, or the black nursemaid, to Brazilian civilization. One (p.166) newspaper, to its credit, did not duck the central issue but pointed out that the nursemaid symbolized a servility based on race that had no place in the “current moment, radiant of democracy and equality.”78 Nevertheless, carnival's association with African-Bahian culture was becoming axiomatic, as the discursive meaning of Bahian carnival tipped in favor of African-Bahian culture.

This is not to say that the elite contributions to carnival fell out of favor with journalists. Even after the demise of the elite clubs, newspapers continued to publicize and cover elite dances and related carnival events. Local illustrated magazines such as Festa, which catered to the dominant class and promoted the developmentalist concerns of the Vargas regime, viewed carnival from the perspective of the elite clubs and strictly within the confines of events along Rua Chile during the Estado Novo.79 But in the mainstream press from the late 1930s, the batucadas were central to the discursive construction of Salvador's carnival. Even during years when the blocos and cordões received more press coverage than the batucadas, journalist wrote of the batucada as the most authentic representation of the meaning and symbolic nature of Salvador's carnival.

On several occasions, newspapers suggested that the batucadas were the most numerous of the small clubs.80 During this transitional period, radio stations brought samba schools and batucadas into their studios during the weeks leading up to carnival. Radio programs that featured the samba school Primeiro Nós (Us First) in 1937 and the batucada Bambas da Zona in 1939 illustrate the growing stature of small clubs as media personalities in their own right. In 1937 and 1938, the local musical and carnival group Deixa Falar (“Let them Speak,” named after the first samba school in Rio de Janeiro) rode a wave of popularity. Part of their popularity may have stemmed from the fact that their African-Bahian president, Ponciano Nonato de Carvalho, was a member of the middle class (newspapers referred to him as a successful businessman[negociante bemquisto]) who perhaps understood how best to liaise with representatives in the media and the music industry.81

Not surprisingly, numerous sambas and batucadas (batucada was also the name of a subgenre of samba) focused on the theme that samba and the batucada carnival clubs were essential to both Bahianness and carnival. Most of these were creations of the recording industry centered in Rio de Janeiro, such as Vicente Paiva's 1940 song “Bahia, oi … Bahia!” (“Bahia, oh Bahia!”). The lyrics proclaimed, “After hearing the samba / that comes from (p.167) Bahia / sung by the Baiana / who swings like nobody. / … Who wouldn't want to be Bahian too?” Another Paiva song, his “Exaltação à Bahia” (“Exaltation of Bahia”) of 1943, argued that “Where Bahia is truly itself / is in the batuque and the samba.”82 Most local sambas whose lyrics were reproduced in the newspapers, however, focused on the themes of carnival romance, female betrayal, and the hustler or social problems such as poverty rather than the themes of African-Bahian cuisine or Candomblé. A 1953 series that featured six local compositions (marchas and sambas) made no mention of African-Bahian culture.83 But local radio composer and performer Batatinha did compose at least three sambas in the 1950s that referred to African-Bahian culture: “Iaiá no Samba,” “Vatapa,” and “Samba e Capoeira.” The latter samba explicitly incorporated aspects of the musical style that accompanied capoeira.84

Perhaps most convincingly, however, a locally composed and quite rough samba-batuque from 1952, “Bahia Is the Good Land,” illustrates that the practice of including African-Bahian culture in samba/batucada compositions was firmly rooted in the performative milieu of Salvadorans. The song includes lyrical passages that express aggression and competition. For instance, the lines “Bahia is the Good Land / Isn't jealous of anyone,” and “Bahia has fought wars / But will never be defeated,” illustrate the assertive combativeness of the batucada genre in Salvador. Moreover, the batucada picks up the theme of Bahia as the mother of Brazil: “If she [Bahia] is the mother of Brazil / It's important to say so.” It also expressed the notion of racial democracy, which was gaining currency in Brazil. This point is exemplified in the insistence that Bahia “loves all its children,” including “whites” and “blondes.” Batucadas made the point that Bahia had its own culture, using the tropes that associated Bahia with cultura negra—the “Baiana” who “dances batuque,” who “mixes the caruru”—and the likelihood that Candomblé beckons whomever falls romantically for a Bahian.85

The importance of the batucadas to Bahianness was a common theme in the more playful articles or pieces journalists wrote. For instance, two poems published in A Tarde in the late 1940s, written by Sílvio Valente (aka, Pepino Longo, or Long Cucumber), expressed the notion that the batucada was the musical reference point at the core of popular revelry. In lines from the poem “Evoé,” Sílvio Valente remarked on the way that the “beguiling batucadas / Make a boring morena / Fall into a trance and samba.”86 Valente was underlining the importance of the African-Bahian batucadas to carnival (and indirectly to the African Bahians playing the batucadas), which (p.168) enlivened the morena's “boring” personality or approach to life. The mention of the trance, a feature of Candomblé worship, deepened the association of carnival with African-Bahian culture.

Valente also played on not-so-subtle racial and cultural stereotypes of the period, although he did so in a way that celebrated the cultural contribution of African Bahians. The poet distinguished between three categories—the blonde, the morena (a brunette of predominantly European descent), and the mulata—in the following lines: “Long live the blonde and the mulata / In sandals and slip-ons / And the morena who is my love!”87 The lines “We don't make distinctions / Like the united' nations” alluded to the supposed lack of racial discrimination in Brazil, which made moments like carnival possible in the first place.88 We see the same sentiments in a second poem by Valente, “Carnaval,” from the same period, which argues that the universal musical power to excite of the “passing of the batucadas” created equality of revelry among “the fraternizing classes” and allowed “whites, black, mulattos” to “feel as brothers to one another.” The batucada was also “the soul of the nocturnal race” (presumably meaning African Bahians) that was central to carnival. Finally, the poem said, through their performances the batucadas lent their African-Bahian soul to carnival in such a way as to transform it into a transcendent moment of racial equality in the tropics: “Blondes, morenas, mulatas, / In sandals and slip-ons, / Samba-ing in their hearts!”89

Valente was not the only journalist to situate Bahia's batucadas and carnival within the discourse of Brazil's fabled racial democracy and national identity. Intellectuals in the southeast “lauded the samba as Brazil's own most authentic native music” and portrayed Rio de Janeiro's samba schools as the fusion of the three races.90 Bahian journalists and writers, particularly after 1940, situated their interpretations of Bahia's carnival experience within this framework of Brazil as a product of racial and cultural mixing and saw the various races “fraternizing” during carnival as evidence that racism did not exist in Brazil. The popularity of this shift is partly explained by the war, which allowed for and encouraged a more inclusive patriotic discourse of togetherness. According to this reporting, carnival was a time when “equality of race and color becomes reality for 72 hours” and “no one is concerned about who one's neighbor is, what the color of their skin is, or whether they are of respectable social position. Everyone finds themselves equal.”91

In the hands of working-class Salvadorans, the batucada genre also lent itself to moments of cultural and racial affirmation. Noteworthy in this (p.169) regard was a bloco called Preto Não é Mais Lacaio (The Black Man Is No Longer a Lackey). The group's 350 or so workers from the neighborhood of Liberdade took their name from the lyrics of the samba “Salve a Princesa” (“God Save the Princess [Isabel]”): “The Black man is no longer a lackey / The Black man no longer has a master / … Today the Black man can be a doctor/congressman and senator.”92 This is one of the more interesting aspects of the myth of racial democracy. Neither the bloco members nor the communist newspaper reporter who covered the story of the bloco likely believed that racial discrimination was nonexistent in Brazil. But the ideology of racial democracy gave people of color a rhetorical platform from which to criticize existing discrimination and inequality.93

By the early 1950s the media focus on the importance of the batucadas in Salvadoran carnival had begun to diminish, and the elite clubs and then the trio elétrico attracted the most attention. Yet the batucadas were still presented as a central feature of carnival in the growing working-class suburbs of the city. For instance, the Estado da Bahia paid homage to the Liberdade neighborhood, with its “great concentration of batucadas, cordões and ranchos,” because its inhabitants knew “how to play the batucada (batucar)” and for “singing samba, for singing marchas.”94 Meanwhile, carnival in the Uruguai neighborhood opened with “clarions” that gave way to the “rhythmic cadence” and “primitive rhythms” of the batucadas, which unleashed the “almost primitive animation” of the festivities and the “natural enthusiasm of our poor” in these neighborhoods.95

The waning of focus on the small clubs and batucadas in particular was partly made up for in other areas of the print media such as editorials, especially in the culture and literature supplements that became the arbiters of cultural taste in Brazil after World War II. For instance, in 1949, modernist intellectual and journalist Cláudio Tavares contributed an article to the Estado da Bahia that was an extended treatment of the rodas de samba in Bahia, accompanied by photos by French photojournalist Pierre Verger. The article, “Rodas de Samba,” was a republication of a piece originally published that year in the illustrated Brazilian monthly A Cigarra. Tavares discussed the origins and history of samba as well as its different characteristics and importance to African Bahians and to Bahia more widely.96 In 1951, Tavares and other members of the media served as judges for the “parade of the batucadas,” contributing to the continuing journalistic support for this popular element of Bahian carnival.97

A 1953 editorial in the Diário de Notícias lamented the recent municipal sanitation codes that threatened to remove the vending of food, and (p.170) hence the Baiana, from the streets of Salvador. The author associated vague notions of African-Bahianness (or “blackness”) with carnival, reminding readers that “the whites followed the footsteps of people of color,” even going so far as to embrace the practice of African-Bahian religions.98 Finally, in 1954, a full-page spread of carnival-related material that included history, discussion, and poetry, referred positively to African-Bahian culture in two poems about carnival. One, Laurindo de Brito's “Carnaval,” needs to be read carefully. The phrases “negro carnival of death” and “macabre sambas of the worms” appear in the context of de Brito's poetic exaltation of an overly hallucinogenic, eroticized, and anarchic world turned upside down. Milton Costa Lima's poem was much more literal in its embrace of the contributions of popular festivity to Bahian carnival, namely dancing to sambas and to the primordial drums of the batucadas.99

In the early 1950s, other aspects of the performance of carnival and of carnival discourse contributed to a consolidation of the importance of African-Bahian culture in the context of carnival. In 1952, the main stage in the center of town was in the form of a Baiana's giant tabuleiro, the tray from which she hawked her wares. The tabuleiro/stage sat before a giant model of a Baiana that was ten meters tall from her midriff to the top of her headgear, and it was on this stage that the batucadas and cordões competed in the city's government-sponsored competition for the small clubs. It is not insignificant that this stage was set up and paid for by the mayor's office.100

Another example clearly associated Candomblé elements with carnival. In 1953, the Filhos de Liberdade, a short-lived carnival club that was much smaller than the big three, entered a float in the official parade that recreated a terreiro, complete with a pai-de-santo and filhas-de-santo. This was most likely the only such representation by any carnival club, at least after 1930. By contrast, another newer, also smaller club, Democrata, recreated Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Fantoches had several floats with Viking mythology predominant, and Cruz Vermelho's emphasis was on aristocratic early modern Europe.101 Finally, in 1949 there was a “popular competition” for a “Black carnival queen” that ran concurrently with the usual carnival queen competition, which was dominated by women of European descent. This shift toward greater inclusion of women of African descent in the competitions for carnival queen, which apparently only happened once, suggests a tentative trend toward broadening the range of conventions of beauty within the dominant discourse.102

The Era of the Batucadas began to close in the early 1950s, although the batucadas remained a popular feature of Bahian carnival well into the (p.171) 1960s.103 The closing was due to several factors. First, the elite carnival clubs got back on their feet. When a journalist for the Estado da Bahia wrote in 1952 that “the participation of the big clubs was entirely down to the government,” he was not exaggerating. Mayor Oswaldo Gordilho's financial largesse was essential, and that it was forthcoming reveals how important he felt the big clubs were to carnival.104 There were even a few additional dominant-class clubs to contend with: Club Democrata was founded in 1946, and the Spanish Club was making a real effort, as were two smaller clubs based in the otherwise working-class neighborhood of Liberdade—the Sons of Liberdade and the Gentlemen of Liberdade. The Yacht Club, the Tennis Club, and the Bahian Athletic Association—all of which were associated with the well-to-do or those who were aspiring to be so—had also begun to contribute dances and allegorical floats.

The batucadas suffered because of a few other important shifts in carnival participation. The arrival of the trio elétrico drew focus away from the batucadas. It is also possible, as one interviewee stressed, that in the 1950s the batucadas priced themselves out of existence as their members wanted or felt the need to dress in increasingly expensive clothing.105 Additional cordões replaced the waning batucadas. They were cheaper, bigger, and provided more freedom of action because they didn't have to parade in a single file or even keep a rhythm. Two other carnival trends mostly in the 1960s—the blocos de índios, or groups dressed as Apaches, Sioux, Tupi-Guarani, and so forth, and the newer versions of samba schools (which were still very unlike those in Rio de Janeiro)—emerged in the same neighborhoods and drew from the same demographic as the batucadas.106

During the period 1938–52, when the presence of the batucadas at carnivals was at its height, they did not make a seismic change in carnival. Carnival was too complex and multifaceted. The aspects of carnival that were not specifically identified with African-Bahian culture still received most of the carnival coverage. Yet the batucadas did much to advance African-Bahian agency and performance and played a significant role in the discursive transformation of Bahian regional identity. During the 1930s, carnival in Salvador shifted to an emphasis on small clubs. This deepened with the rise of the batucadas. As a consequence, Salvador became more deeply associated with African-Bahian culture, and the percussive batucadas, once marginalized, were celebrated for defining the true soul of Bahian carnival. Even the odd media critique of carnival from the more conservative wings of the dominant class no longer referred negatively to anything that could be interpreted as African-Bahian culture. Instead, carnival criticism was (p.172) restricted to its sexual license, its affront to family honor and to morality more generally, its materialism, or its inappropriateness in the context of Bahia's urban social crises.107 The high point of the batucadas' existence, the 1940s, occurred in the midst of the transformation of Bahian regional identity and made a central contribution to the shifting dynamics of Bahian cultural politics in the Vargas era.

The Afoxés

In addition to the batucadas there was another markedly African-Bahian genre of carnival association known as afoxés. Whereas the batucadas drew a significant part of their impetus from the example of Rio de Janeiro, the afoxés were entirely a local phenomenon. As extensions of Salvador's institutions of Candomblé—they were often referred to as “Candomblé of the street”—they were certainly the most distinctive of Salvador's small clubs. Unlike the batucadas, the afoxés often used mobile cordons to set themselves apart from the rest of the carnival multitude. They kept very close to their cultural roots, principally honoring their African and African-Bahian religious heritage. Rather than playing and dancing to carnival music, the afoxés used the same or similar instruments, rhythms, and songs as those used in the terreiros. They also incorporated ritual language and ceremonies from Candomblé practice into their performances. The history and practice of the afoxés during the Vargas era provides ample evidence of the Candomblé community's insistent performative agency. The afoxé was effectively a public affirmation of Candomblé in a carnival context. By the early 1950s, the afoxés had revived as institutions, most notably with the founding of Filhos de Gandhy (Sons of Gandhi) in 1949, and the participants in the afoxés quite consciously made use of carnival festivity to expand the boundaries of what was culturally acceptable in Salvador.

The two best-known afoxés of the late nineteenth century were the rather exceptional Embaixada Africana (African Embassy), which was founded in 1895, and Pândegos da África (African Merrymakers), founded in 1896.108 These clubs mirrored the structure of Fantoches and Cruz Vermelha, but whereas the elite clubs chose themes from Greco-Roman mythology, the exclusively African-Bahian clubs used explicitly Afrocentric themes, for example the glories of African civilizations, such as those of Egypt, Ethiopia, and West Africa. These clubs were accepted by the white minority that dominated carnival in those years, possibly, as Kim Butler has suggested, because of their novelty factor or because the elite saw the clubs as an (p.173) improvement on entrudo. Other Afrocentric groups were not accepted.109 The even smaller groups, those other “Africans” who “caused all sorts of confusion,” were mercilessly criticized for their drumming and rowdy “uncivilized” behavior, which elites saw as degrading to Bahia. These would have been the batuques, which the persecution campaign targeted most fiercely, or any smaller afoxés that did not mimic the structure of Fantoches and Cruz Vermelha. The batuques and smaller afoxés were the main targets of the ban on Afrocentric carnival clubs from 1905 to 1914.110

After the ban (and perhaps clandestinely during it), several important afoxés were active in Salvador, including the Filhos d'Oxum (Sons of Oxum), Filhas de Oxun (Daughters of Oxun), Filhos de Obá (Sons of Obá), and Lordes Africanos (African Lords), all of which were mostly ignored by the press or received negative publicity.111 In the early 1930s, a number of these remained active or returned to activity once the climate of repression against Candomblé subsided. Starting in 1930, the judgmental attitude of newspapers shifted, and reporters included a number of afoxés alongside the other small clubs in the coverage of events leading up to carnival in the early to mid-1930s. These included Ijexá, Pai Burukô (Father Burukô), Congo d'África (Congo of Africa), Otum Obá d'África (Otum Oba of Africa), Filhos de Obá, Filhos de Congo (Sons of the Congo), and Príncipe da África (African Prince). Despite these relatively novel inclusions, for the next decade or so it is difficult to know the extent of the afoxés' participation after 1930 or to track trends over the period, largely due to some slippage of nomenclature in the sources between the use of the term afoxé and the more general and inclusive cordão or even “club.”112 It may be that the early 1930s was a high point for afoxé participation, which then trails off after 1935 and then revives in the late 1940s. Perhaps the overall dip in carnival activity around World War II encouraged the afoxés to focus on their local neighborhoods, in which case it is unlikely that they would have been covered in the press. It is possible, too, that the leading members of the traditional older afoxés were dying off and no one was in line to replace them. This was the case with Congo d'África, which had been in existence for several decades when its founder and principal organizer Rodrigo died in 1945 (although in this case his son took over almost immediately, but succession was not always so seamless). The revival of the afoxés in the late 1940s coincided with the creation of the carnival group Filhos de Gandhy in 1949, founded by a group of dock workers and stevedores as an afoxé.

The use of Candomblé songs, instrumentation, rhythms, and ritual set the afoxés apart from the batucadas and other small clubs. The agogo (a bell (p.174) that one strikes) and the mobile atabaque drums played central roles in the afoxé, and there was much samba, too. In the process of honoring their African and African-Bahian religious heritage within the wider festivity of carnival, specific instruments mattered greatly in this sophisticated percussive culture, as the precision of a variety of musical aspects was deeply enmeshed with individuals' relationships with the spiritual realm. It was not only a question of what type of drum to use, for instance, but also how its size and construction would affect its tone. The afoxés relied on a specific rhythm, that of Ijexá. The songs they sang honored the orixás and were a mix of African (particularly Yoruban) and Portuguese, but they were not the “powerful” songs that were sung in the terreiros. They were instead songs that would not give offense to the orixás or the ancestors because they were played in public.113

The performative roles in the older established afoxés included a king and queen, who were chosen in certain cases from the best dancers and singers. This indicates the importance of such talents not just during carnival but also within the ritual of the terreiros. Subordinate to the king and queen, but still prestigious, were positions within the honor guard. The individuals who filled all of these performative roles dressed in elaborate costumes. Many caboclo afoxés (those from terreiros that centered on gods, rituals, and powers that purportedly stemmed from native Brazilian eth-noreligious traditions) chose to honor their caboclo, or Indian protector, by representing him in the afoxé. The best dancer was chosen for this honor, wearing a costume that featured many feathers. If not the best dancer, the group might include a feiticeiro (someone who works with magic) who was responsible for carrying a figurative representation of an orixá or a caboclo or the balotin, an icon with spiritual or magical powers.

As with the other non-elite clubs, the majority of the officers in the few afoxés for which there is documentation were men. The principal singers and dancers were both women and men, although the musicians were all men. The role of the women was typically as Baianas, but of course within Candomblé, which was significantly matriarchal, being a Baiana was hardly a subordinate position if the woman was an initiate of long standing. The women also probably played important roles in organizing or overseeing the outreach activities of the afoxés.114

During carnival appearances there were various rituals to be completed, especially at the outset, such as the padê, the important initial ritual offering of farofa (manioc flour), a small vessel of water (quartinha da água), and most likely Brazilian rum to Exú, the intermediary between humans and (p.175) the orixás who was associated with crossroads. This was an important orixá to appease.115 There were also rites to protect the afoxé from the malign intentions of their competitors—“the troubles typical of the festivities of Rei Momo.” These might include a “ritual animal sacrifice … by someone from another carnival bloco, done out of jealously or simple devilishness.”116

Bahian writer Deoscóredes dos Santos has left testimony of his role in establishing an afoxé in the period 1935 to 1942 that illustrates not only the cultural richness of the afoxés but also their integration into the fabric of the working-class community.117 Santos's afoxé, the Troça do Pai Burukô (Merry Band of Pai Burukô), first emerged in 1935 in the context of the important Candomblé terreiro Opô Afonjá when the young Santos and a few boyhood friends received permission to roam about the local neighborhood requesting small donations for their carnival costumes. In 1942, now grown to young men, Santos and his friends brought together thirty sócios, or members, to participate more widely in carnival that year. They named their afoxé for an object that was of spiritual significance to them in childhood (an old tree stump in the shape of a human) that was baptized Pai Burukô. Each of the members of the Troça do Pai Burukô paid 30$000 at the outset and 10$000 per month.118 Practice runs began three months before carnival, on Sunday mornings. The ensaio geral, or final run-through, took place on the last Sunday before carnival weekend. All of the members, their relatives and friends, and members of fellow carnival associations came out for this rehearsal. Finally, on carnival Sunday, the members gathered early in the morning. The president used a whistle to convey his commands, among the first of which was to get everyone together for a drink of cachaça, or Brazilian rum. After everyone's responsibilities were outlined and the ritual animal sacrifice was made, the crew worked themselves up into a frenzy of song and set out into the surrounding neighborhoods.

The young men went to the houses of those they knew, often responding to invitations made long in advance, and found that this took up much more time than they had intended. At each visit they were expected to eat, dance, and “comply with all the formalities demanded of that type of festivity.” At the end of each stop they extricated themselves from the host's insistent hospitality, only to begin the process again at the next house. The socializing was so intense that the afoxé remained on the go all three days of carnival from nine in the morning until six at night and until nine on Tuesday. By the end they were so exhausted they could not make the long walk home; many of them spent the night in the center of town collapsed in the house of a filha-de-santo of the terreiro. This particular afoxé was popular (p.176) in the community, as evidenced by the sack of presents they received and the sack of invitations for the following year. The fact that the group's celebrations seemed to have been quite localized suggests the important social links between the afoxé and the immediate social environment.

The group recognized that some social responsibilities were incumbent and at least made an attempt to meet them. Carnival at this very local level, as represented to us by a middle-aged man looking back on his younger days, was about relationships between people who knew one another from the routines of everyday life and from their involvement in Candomblé. Carnival was also about reinforcing those relationships through spiritual, financial, and other types of communal exchanges. Santos makes another interesting point: He wrote that the initial stages of the merrymaking made the locals of São Gonçalo do Retiro, where the terreiro was based, “crazy with happiness and excitement, as they had never imagined that these lads, abusados (roguish, pesky, meddlesome), and traquinas (mischievous, wild, restless) as they were, could conceive and organize such festivities as those before them.”119 Successful organization and participation within a carnival afoxé seems to have been a way for working-class individuals to accrue status within the wider working-class, African-Bahian community.

The afoxé was clearly an opportunity for the Candomblé community to celebrate carnival in their own way, and carnival was for some individuals an opportunity to show their worth in a city whose stagnant economy and racial discrimination limited other socioeconomic avenues for doing so. Thus, although carnival did not explicitly threaten the social order, it provided an opportunity for this subordinate group to publicly assert their own cultural values. As Pai Burukô was not covered in newspapers in the 1940s (it was mentioned after 1950), it is legitimate to assume that other smaller afoxés for which we do not have a print source also formed and stuck close to their neighborhood roots, reinforcing social connections between the terreiros and their wider communities. There were, after all, over one hundred terreiros in operation in the 1940s.120

Also noteworthy within Santos's account is the dynamic on display between working-class carnival associations such as afoxés and the local government's administration of the festivities. The group needed a license to participate, and elected directors (president, secretary, etc.) were a requirement for a license, presumably so the police would have the name of someone they could hold responsible. There were certain other (unfortunately unspecified) bureaucratic regulations to be followed. Yet there did not seem to be any official opposition or discouragement in 1942 to the creation of (p.177) another afoxé. Moreover, the young men of the afoxé did not seem particularly interested in and felt they had the luxury of ignoring whatever protocols were expected of them by the authorities. The consequences were nothing more than that they did not receive their gift from the mayor's office: “To receive this, it was necessary to fulfill many protocolos (forms to fill out), and the fellas, with their cheeky ideas and blood on the boil were not prepared to adhere to such regulations.”121

Santos's afoxé seems to have been a bit ahead of the curve in 1942. Usually the founding of the group Filhos de Gandhy in 1949 is cited as the beginning of the mid-twentieth-century revival of the afoxés. That year a small group of stevedores founded a bloco, calling themselves the Sons of Gandhi, after the man whose passive resistance and assassination in 1948 was much in the news the previous year. The stevedores had also been inspired by a recent viewing of the film Gunga Din (1939), a Hollywood feature set in nineteenth-century India. Although contradictions within the oral history testimonies collected by Anísio Félix obscure the early years, it seems clear that after forming principally as a bloco or cordão, some members of the group began to introduce songs, instruments, and ceremonies from Candomblé. This was understandable, as many stevedores were part of the Candomblé community.

According to one of the founders, Djalma Conceição, at this point in the association's evolution a few ranking members went before the state tourist board, which was in charge of officially registering small clubs for the competitions, and suggested that the Sons of Gandhi be classified as an afoxé for the competitions on account of their instruments, which could not successfully compete with the largely percussion instruments of the others in the bloco category. The significance of this is that probably in the early 1950s (exact dates are difficult to determine), the afoxés were recognized by the tourism department of the municipal government, to the point that they had their own official category. In none of the newspapers up to that point was there a separate category for afoxés in carnival competitions. In fact, in 1948 the only afoxé to participate in the competition O Momento sponsored was given a special award. So it may be the combination of the insistence of the Candomblé community, the increased acceptance of African-Вahian culture, and the increased emphasis on tourism in the early 1950s that brought the afoxé firmly into the official carnival fold. The emergence of Filhos de Gandhy can perhaps be said to reflect these shifts.

Certainly the actual configuration of Filhos de Gandhy as an afoxé played a role in consolidating these dynamics. Filhos de Gandhy was not an (p.178) explicit extension of a Candomblé terreiro.Its members were dock workers first and foremost who chose to incorporate some of the central characteristics of an afoxé, in particular the rituals and rhythms and songs and their colors, which were taken from Candomblé cosmology—white for Oxalá and blue for Ogum. Yet they also incorporated elements that were clearly not of the terreiro: embracing a personality from India, for instance, and the elephant, which was sacred to Hindus but not the terreiros (even though the elephant is one of the animals that represents Oxalá). Similar in a way to the adjustments Mestre Bimba made to the teaching and practice of capoeira, which made it more palatable to the dominant class, and also echoing the changes that occurred with the Washing of Bonfim that struck a compromise between the Catholic Church and the Candomblé community, the recombining of elements of the terreiros may have contributed to their acceptance and their celebrated popularity. In turn, Filhos de Gandhy seems to have enhanced the popularity and acceptance of the more traditional afoxés as well, which were each associated with a specific terreiro.122 For example, in 1953, the minister of public security, Colonel Laurindo Regis, who oversaw the military police and the Civil Guard, sponsored a carnival event that prominently featured the afoxé Congo d'África. The event was also sponsored by a local councilman, Osório Villas Boas.123 Certainly Filhos de Gandhy influenced the emergence of the afoxé phenomenon in Rio de Janeiro. In 1951, another Filhos de Gandhy was formed in Rio de Janeiro. The founders had participated in the original Filhos de Gandhy and in several of the more traditional afoxés in Salvador. The founding of Filhos de Gandhy had a greater impact in Salvador, however, clearly, striking a chord in bringing together people of African descent around an explicit embrace of African-Bahian culture.124

As it had done with the batucadas, the print media reversed its early-twentieth-century position on the afoxés and other “African groups” (grupos africanos) around and especially after 1930. Indeed, attention and even celebration of the afoxés reached a high point in the period 1937 to 1942. For example, in 1938, the afoxé Otum Obá da África headed the festivities during an advance carnival gathering in Rio Vermelho, “bringing the latest news from the Congo amidst the sound of atabaques (Candomblé drums).”125 While the afoxés never rivaled the role of the batucadas at carnival, they had a place in the dominant discourse on African-Вahian culture, carnival, and the resignification of Bahianness in the 1930s and 1940s. After (p.179) 1948, this discourse on the afoxés intensified briefly as they were officially institutionalized as part of Bahian carnival discourse. This flurry of print discourse accompanied and contributed to the revival of the afoxé after 1948. From this point on, there was a category for “afoxés” in the carnival competition for small clubs that was separate from the categories of bloco, cordão, and batucada. In the carnival coverage the most commonly mentioned afoxé was Filhos de Gandhy, which Estado da Bahia said in 1955 “deserve[s] a place of particular eminence within carnival.” The second most mentioned was Congo d'África, although Pai do Burukô garnered frequent attention, too.126

The distinctive African-Bahian characteristics of the afoxés drew the attention of Salvador's second wave of modernists and writers after 1945. These middle-class progressive intellectuals in turn drew attention to the afoxés in two forums that pressed harder for recognition of African-Bahian culture than the mainstream dailies typically did. These were the communist party newspaper O Momento, and the national illustrated weekly O Cruzeiro. Darwin Brandão, a poet and keen folklorist, especially in the field of African-Bahian cuisine, and also a coeditor and frequent contributor to the Salvadoran modernist literary journal Caderno da Bahia, praised the afoxé in 1948 in O Momento as the distinguishing feature of Bahia's carnival and one of the region's principal contributions to Brazilian carnival.127 His article, a lengthy discussion of the role of the afoxé in Candomblé, was part of a series O Momento ran that highlighted working-class carnival associations and included descriptions of several afoxés, some of which received no mention in the other daily newspapers.

Brandão's article described an ensaio, or carnival warm-up procession, and a party of the afoxé Congo d'África, which had “a huge following” within its neighborhood. The big attraction that night was the “hard samba” accompanied by the sounds of the atabaque drums and a few moments of “jaw dropping” individual performances—by Reginaldo Costa, for example, who seemed to have “springs in his legs.” Costa did a few “capoeira leaps” as the music accelerated into the “Dance of the Agabi,” which, according to Brandão “symbolized the struggle of the slave against the land owner, the slave master,” or so he was told. This was just the kind of race consciousness and ritualized class struggle that a Communist newspaper could appreciate. It is significant, as Brandão pointed out, that the afoxé leadership chose the performance of the Agabi “especially for our report.” (p.180) The degree to which figures within the Candomblé community tailored their performative practices to suit the wider political or social circumstances is impressive.

An article by another minor intellectual figure in Bahia, Cláudio Tavares, also highlighted the reemergence of the afoxé as a symbol of the particularity of Salvador's carnival. Tavares contributed the sensationally titled article “Afoxé, Barbaric Rhythm of Bahia” to the May 1948 issue of the Rio de Janeiro–based national magazine O Cruzeiro.128 The article was a close, almost “thick” description of the same afoxé, Congo d'África. It discussed aspects of cosmology and phases of ritual and included song lyrics and descriptions of the group's costumes and dances. Accompanying the article were twenty-two photographs of different aspects of the afoxé by Pierre Verger. The article put the cultural practices of Congo d'África in the context of Africa's “totemic” contributions to Salvadoran carnival, via slavery and African-Bahian religion, and the cultural mixing of the three races, Brazilian Indian, European, and African. Carnival itself in Salvador, as Tavares marveled, was “filled up” by African Bahians, who were “the powerful propulsive force that moved Bahian carnival.”129

The recovery of the afoxés from the late 1940s (or their rediscovery by the press) and their contributions to carnival were later relatively marginalized in the carnival coverage by the same factors that diminished the popularity of the batucadas—the reemergence of the big clubs after 1950 and the invention of the trio elétrico. Nevertheless, the afoxés played an important role in reshaping the discourse of Bahian regional identity in the 1930s and especially the late 1940s and early 1950s. African-Bahian insistence on taking to the streets during carnival as public expressions of Candomblé gave the festival in Bahia a unique identity. Certain members of Salvador's intelligentsia such as Darwin Brandão and Cláudio Tavares (and Edison Carneiro before them) recognized this as a valuable cultural resource. The popularity and excitement the Filhos de Gandhy generated helped cement a place for the afoxés within the official structure of carnival. Afoxés continued to feature in carnival in Salvador and experienced another revival of stunning proportions in the 1970s. In the 1940s and 1950s, however, the afoxés illustrated African-Bahian agency and the extent of cultura negra within carnival, further contributing to the degree to which Bahia was becoming associated with African-Bahian culture.

(p.181) The Popularization of Carnival and the “Carnivalization” of the Festival Calendar

During the same years when the batucadas and other small clubs became the central features of carnival, two other changes were under way. The first was a demographic and geographic widening of carnival that contributed considerably to its popularization. The second was a “carnival creep,” a spreading of carnival songs, institutions, and play to the city's other popular festivals that had a secularizing and popularizing effect. Both changes intensified and extended the city's association with African-Bahian culture. As changes in carnival practice and discourse such as the increased celebration and inclusion of the batucadas and afoxés extended the boundaries of the acceptability of African-Bahian cultural practices during the rest of the year, the extension and popularization of carnival magnified this influence, stretching the everyday boundaries of the acceptable to include more African-Bahian practices.130

The demographic shifts after 1940 were largely due to the city's dramatic population increase over the same time period. Salvador's population grew from 290,000 in 1940 to 415,000 by 1950. This increase was largely the consequence of in-migration rather than natural increase, so there were many more adults available to participate in carnival by 1954 than there had been twenty-four years earlier. After the three elite clubs made their comeback in the early 1950s, they had to contend with many more small clubs, many of which were locally based and provided carnival entertainment in neighborhoods that were some distance from the central attractions.131 Even though other elite carnival institutions emerged—the Athletic Association and the dances at the Yacht Club, for instance—they had to compete with an almost exponential increase in the number of small clubs over the 1940s and 1950s. Not only were there more batucadas on the streets, but the number of blocos and cordões increased as well. The blocos were also bigger in size. Before 1940, few blocos numbered more than one hundred members, but the founding of the bloco Vai Levando (Take It Away) initiated the modern phenomenon of the “big bloco,” which included two hundred to four hundred participants. This trend toward the big bloco was consolidated during World War II by Brazilian sailors from the battleship Minas Gerais, stationed in Salvador, who paraded as the Filhos do Mar (Sons of the Sea). Theirs was the biggest bloco to march in Bahia up to that point, and they led the way for other big blocos such as Filhos do Fogo (Sons of the Fire) and Filhos do Porto (Sons of the Port).

(p.182) As the city grew to accommodate its increasing population, carnival spread geographically. The central, built-up commercial areas around the Terreiro de Jesus and the Rua Chile remained the official location for the biggest celebrations in the period 1930 to 1954. Beyond these central areas local shopkeepers combined forces, formed committees, and organized competitions, and local neighborhoods came to play larger roles as crucibles of carnival festivity. Even semirural residential neighborhoods took on a greater demographic and commercial density and infrastructure and began to host their own local carnival celebrations. During the 1930s, the main popular loci for carnival celebrations were the traditional areas of the Terreiro de Jesus, the Pelourinho, Maciel de Baixo, and along the street Baixa dos Sapateiros, in the center of town, as well as Santo Antonio, and the Calçada neighborhood in the district of Liberdade. By 1955, carnival gritos, or start-up parties, were being celebrated throughout the city in most working- and middle-class neighborhoods.

The gritos and celebrations in neighborhoods that were distant from the city center, such as São Caetano, Cidade Nova, Engenho Velho, Plataforma, Largo do Tanque, and Massaranduba, were announced in the daily newspapers during this period. Neighborhood notables would organize carnival clubs by drawing upon friends, relatives, and institutional networks of the local social club, the football club, or a Candomblé terreiro. For instance, clubs in outlying districts such as the Pirajá Athletic Club in Brotas held several carnival dances each season, usually for members and their guests. The clientele were local, and the institutions functioned to create associative ties in the neighborhoods and foster local identities. The clubs provided a structure for pooling scarce resources as well as a venue (by setting up public stages, lights, ornamentation, and so on) for shows and events that marked the public ritual life of the community. Just as the clubs were important institutions in the context of locally specific carnival-related events, carnival and the other major popular festivals were the most important times of the year for the clubs. This was when they could justify their existence to their members and garner financial reserves (through cover charges and the sale of food and drinks). Social and recreational clubs also provided an annual incentive for neighborhood musical groups to compete for prizes in the local festivities.132

Local clubs contributed greatly to the competitive nature of Salvadoran carnival. Throughout the period under study, newspapers encouraged rivalries between neighborhoods, and citywide carnival competitions meant that local pride as well as money was at stake. Newspapers may have (p.183) overstated the rivalries, but other sources confirm their existence and suggest that they frequently occurred. During carnival in 1941 three members of the Guarda Civil were injured while breaking up an altercation between two cordões on Portas do Carmo Street in the city center. Three days earlier, also in the city center, two men were arrested and three were detained for “instigating a conflict between two carnival blocos.” The weapons of choice were the sticks used to beat the tambor drums. Rivalries such as those between the neighborhoods of Uruguay and Massaranduba or between small clubs sometimes spilled over into violent conflicts that still color local carnival lore.133

The most well attended local neighborhoods were those that had established commercial shops with energetic proprietors, attractive prizes, and an annual tradition of successful festivity. The grito in the neighborhood of Uruguay was perhaps the most successful in this regard. A grito, literally a “cry” or “shout,” was an organized public carnival warm-up that figuratively announced the (not necessarily immediate) arrival of carnival. The Uruguay grito drew on the generous financial support of the bottling company and distributor Fratelli Vita and other wealthy benefactors. Hence the Uruguay grito offered some of the biggest prizes to the small clubs that showed up, and this was the main incentive for participation. The Uruguay carnival's popularity may also have stemmed from the fact that it was a working-class neighborhood and the many popular batucadas felt comfortable there (rather than in the more solidly middle-class neighborhoods such as Tororó).134 Such areas drew the attention of the mayor's office, which provided illumination only to the busiest locales or those that catered to the middle and upper classes (presumably in part because they were most able to petition successfully for support).135 Up-and-coming areas lobbied for their own illumination, sometimes successfully, but the mayor's office was unable to increase its subsidies as quickly as carnival was growing.

In 1952, at least twelve local commissions sent requests to the government for funds several weeks before the carnival. Other groups may have requested assistance as carnival drew closer.136 It is not clear what precisely motivated the mayor's office to support the spread of carnival foci into outlying neighborhoods. It may have been media pressure, a populist impulse, an attempt to insinuate a semblance of government influence into a process that was already well under way, or simply a belief that the grander the festivities, the greater the benefits for the city's businesses.137 Whatever led the mayor's office to take notice, it is clear that the growth of popular carnival was keeping pace or even outpacing that of the official and extensively (p.184) regulated cortege of elite clubs. Because carnival in outlying working-class areas was exclusively the domain of the small clubs, including the batucadas and afoxés, the growth of carnival enhanced the importance of African-Bahian practices in the context of the wider carnival experience and the association of carnival with African-Bahian culture.

A second general carnival phenomenon contributed to the spread of the acceptance of African-Bahian culture and its increasing association with Salvador's public festival culture and baianidade. Carnival festivity during the Vargas era extended beyond the limits of its calendar and invaded the ritual festive space of the city's other popular religious festivals such as Bonfim or the Festival of the Three Kings. Bahians, especially young men and women, were importing carnival music, behaviors, and institutions such as the small clubs into the ritual space of the other festivals. They were no doubt encouraged by the spread of radio and the commercialization of Brazil's recording industry, which disseminated carnival music earlier and earlier in the cycle of festivities leading up to carnival. A consequence was the increasing secularization and further democratization of these other festivals. Events whose character had previously been defined by a balance between specific religious themes and appropriate festive activities, including specifically religious musical traditions on the one hand and profane revelry on the other, increasingly took on aspects of carnival in their structure as well as their content.138 This intrusion of the carnivalesque tipped the balance away from the elements most closely associated with the dominant class (for example, the Catholic mass inside the churches).139 As carnival included the percussive rhythms of the African-Bahian batucadas, the popular festivals became even more associated with African-Bahian culture after 1930. Through this process, the dominant class, firmly associated with high Catholicism, ceded some of its influence over the narrative and meaning of popular festivity in Salvador.

The traditional dominant-class elements of religious festivals lost ground to elements associated with Salvadoran carnival. The informal celebrations following the Festival of Our Lord of the Bonfim on Ribeira Monday provide one example. Ribeira Monday had been something of a carnival “warm-up” since the beginnings of Bahian carnival in the 1880s.140 But the carnival associations shared the festival with groups of young men and women and boys and girls, called ternos and ranchos, who used Ribeira Monday to reprise their musical performances during the Festival of the Three Kings (6 January) and the weekend of the Bonfim festivities. By the late 1930s, however, the emphasis of Ribeira Monday had shifted almost (p.185) entirely to being the first outing of the warm-up cycle for carnival. Carnival was even infiltrating Thursday's religious procession to the Church of Bonfim leading up to the Washing of Bonfim.141 By 1942, the more traditional police and fire department bands that had always accompanied the procession to the church had introduced drum rhythms and carnival marchas, giving the procession a more carnivalesque character than before.142 A report in a 1946 newspaper described the procession as “a giant rolling party” with cordões singing the “hits” as they marched along, “accompanied by a veritable percussion orchestra,” which included instruments such as “pandeiros, cuícas, gangues and atabaques,” all of which were more appropriate for carnival songs than for religious music and ritual, or at least more appropriate for a roda de samba than for a religious procession.143

The Festival of the Three Kings is the most salient example of a religious festival that took on aspects of carnival. Since the 1920s traditionalists had been concerned about a partial carnivalization of the Festival of the Three Kings, and by the end of the 1930s the change was pronounced, led mainly by young working-class and middle-class Salvadorans. The new emphasis on carnival traditions during the religious festival took place mostly in the emerging neighborhoods in the city's suburbs such as Brotas and in older neighborhoods, such as Liberdade, that were still growing.144 The ranchos and ternos and their informal parades and musical performances were central to the Festival of the Three Kings, and their numbers were growing for most of the period from 1930 to 1954. The scope of the festival was growing, too, spreading into new parts of the city. In 1940, the papers began to announce the times and dates of the rehearsal sessions (ensaios) of the ternos and ranchos. These ensaios had become performative events in their own right, probably because of word of mouth among the young people.145 They were adopted directly from the carnival tradition of both Rio de Janeiro and Salvador. Late-night dances at the headquarters of the ternos and ranchos often followed the rehearsals, and this may have been an opportunity to bring the group a little extra cash for costumes and decorations, especially from the sales of drinks.146

These extended rehearsals contributed to a significant degree of the carnivalization of the Festival of the Three Kings, not least because their repertoire included more and more carnival songs. Newspaper evidence suggests that their popularity began to rise in the late 1930s, diminished during the war, and increased again after 1945. By the end of the 1930s, carnival batucadas and marchas had begun to replace the traditional songs of the ranchos and ternos as the principal entertainment during the festival, even (p.186) at the height of the events on the evening of the fifth of January.147 Even the odd afoxé showed up during the festival in the 1940s and 1950s.

The organizations that assumed responsibility in many of the neighborhoods for organizing the local commemorations of the Festival of the Three Kings were in fact previously established Commissions for the Promotion of Carnival Festivity (Comissões Promotoras dos Festejos de Carnaval). With this sort of institutional overlap, it is perhaps not surprising that the carnivalization of the Festival of the Three Kings took place during the Vargas era.148 Moreover, even the elite carnival clubs, which still held private commemorative functions for the Three Kings, had begun to treat these commemorations as part of the carnival cycle. Indeed, these functions of these clubs for the festival came to mark the beginning of carnival season. This change was reflected in radio broadcasts. In 1947, on the eve of the Day of the Three Kings, Radio Sociedade da Bahia broadcast a program dedicated to carnival music instead of the traditional religious cânticos (children's songs) associated with Epiphany in Salvador. These changes provoked a strong reaction from both folklorists and Catholics, who wished to preserve the “original aspects” (notas originais) of the Festival of the Three King.149 For many, this meant protecting the sacredness of the festivals from secular popularization. But there was little that could be done to stop the shift, which was given impetus by wider trends toward secularization, the music industry, and possibly youthful, rebellious initiative. The Festival of the Three Kings faded in popularity after a final, government-sponsored revival for the quarto centennial celebrations in 1949, perhaps as a consequence of its inability to fully distinguish itself from the wider carnival cycle.150

None of this is to say that young people only wanted to dance to the latest carnival music. There were many who probably wished to preserve the original aspects of the festivals, and many young men and women and boys and girls still contributed to the more “traditional” activities. But by the 1950s the carnivalesque profane had clearly become an extensive and popular feature of several of Salvador's larger popular religious festivals.151 Carnival had even begun to intrude on New Year's Eve celebrations and in the many social clubs dotted around Salvador. The Estado da Bahia excitedly reported that many of the evening's dance festivities were now “considered Gritos de Carnaval,” and the article appended lyrics from a popular carnival samba-batucada for 1951. That same year the elite carnival club Fantoches brought in a samba school from Rio to welcome the New Year.152 (p.187) Clearly, during the 1940s and 1950s, the balance shifted from older religions and musical traditions that were not especially identified as elements of African-Bahian culture (although African-Bahians certainly participated in them) toward more sambas and batucadas that were associated with African-Bahian culture.

The Limitations of Carnival

As with the other popular festivals, the discursive and performative inclusion of elements of African-Bahian culture in Bahian carnival traditions was done in a way that would contain it within clearly defined limitations and hierarchies. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly given carnival's reputation for disregarding social morality and convention, carnival festivity in Salvador was separated by class and race to a marked degree. It is instructive here to quote at length a passage from Donald Pierson's study of race relations in Salvador. Pierson wrote of carnival in 1936 that “proceeding, during, and following the parade [of the three grandes clubes], Negro batucadas and cordões pass through the milling crowds. The batucadas are usually composed of fifteen to twenty young men, invariably blacks or dark mulattoes…. A cordão consists of fifty or sixty people of both sexes and all ages, invariably blacks and dark mulattoes.” In one such cordão of 43 participants (although from the wider description this was almost certainly an afoxé), “24 were blacks, 19 were dark mulattoes, and none were whites.” In a survey of “9 batucadas, of a total of 157 young men, 113, or 72 per cent, were blacks; 40, or 25.5 per cent, were mulattoes, all dark except one (who, although light of skin, had kinky hair); 3 were cafusos [of Brazilian-Indian and African descent], and only 1 was white.”153

Oral history interviewee José Ferreira also confirmed that “when Fantoches da Euterpe paraded there were no blacks, one didn't see a single African-Bahian.”154 In fact, even when the floats of the elite clubs depicted a scene from African-Bahian culture, the participants were whites in blackface. In 1955, the main float of the elite carnival club Cruzeiro da Vitória was a modest homage to the abolition of slavery. Twelve “young ladies from the cream of our society” (senhorinhas da nossa melhor sociedade) dressed as Baianas. Their faces were blackened and broken shackles hung from their wrists. Behind them rode the carnival queen, in this case dressed as Princess Isabel, the royal who signed the emancipation decree in 1888. It is hard to say how this was meant to be interpreted. The report described it (p.188) as depicting “the drama of slavery,” but clearly it can be easily read as the “slaves'” celebration of the moment of their emancipation by a white princess (and of a white carnival queen).155

Pierson acknowledged exceptions to the racial, cultural, and class divisions in Salvador's carnival but points out that in even informal circumstances people of different “races” only barely intermingled. He had this to say about the crowds of carnival onlookers: “In the milling, dancing, singing crowd one ordinarily sees whites with whites, blacks and dark mulattoes with blacks and dark mulattoes, the exceptions being that a white occasionally accompanies a group of dark mulattoes and blacks, while brancos da Bahia and light mulattoes are often to be seen with whites.”156

Pierson's descriptions of the afoxés and batucadas also explicitly present a dramatic visual conflation of “race” and cultural practice. As such, what stands out is not just the historical fact that the afoxés and batucadas were comprised exclusively of Bahians of marked African ancestry. Such practices must have been strongly coded racially. Bahians were not so simplistic as to assume that everyone of marked African ancestry played in a batucada; but they would have agreed that batucadas were strictly comprised of individuals of marked African ancestry. Pierson's study problematized the correlation between cultural forms and the phenotypic characteristics of their practitioners, but this was a correlation that Bahians to large degree took for granted. Consequently, as journalists and others incorporated the batucadas into constructions of baianidade, they incorporated African Bahians into these constructions as well. Almost without exception, well into the 1950s the blocos in newspaper photographs were comprised either of Bahians of overwhelmingly European ancestry (some were of mixed-race ancestry with light skin) or they were overwhelmingly African-Brazilian (with some of mixed-race ancestry but with dark skin). The batucadas and afoxés in the photographs were always entirely African Brazilian. The photographs Pierre Verger took of blocos and cordões in the late 1940s and 1950s also show marked degrees of racial homogeneity in Salvador's small carnival clubs.157 In photographs of the bloco of eighty rowers from Santa Cruz Sporting Club in Salvador in the 1940s, all of the members are light skinned. This was typical of the dominant-class or elite sporting clubs, “who did not want people with dark skin,” as several informants affirmed.158

Despite the potential of popular festivity and performance to undermine the structures that governed the daily lives of the poor and working class in Salvador, the festivals in the city largely reinforced and legitimated (p.189) socioeconomic hierarchies. Performance during carnival did both. It is true that some areas of carnival experience were integrated. Certain small clubs, for instance, were mixed, and in some public areas participants or onlookers were mixed. Photos of Bahian carnival by Pierre Verger in the late 1950s, for instance, show people of all physical types in areas next to the official parade route, such as the Praça da Sé.159 Yet obvious differences in social status were operationalized during carnival. The rich participated in very different ways than the working class or the poor, which meant that the experiences of most whites and the vast majority of blacks diverged significantly. The grand corteges of the elite clubs, for instance, were clear symbols of class and racial superiority, and although the working class could claim an allegiance to one club or the other, their relationship to the clubs during carnival was primarily as spectators. The dominant class's confetti battles and costume balls were, for the most part, closed to the bulk of society and the majority of African Bahians. As oral history interviewee Antônia Conceição put it, when it came to accepting people of African descent into elite institutions, the dominant class was “very demanding.” It was possible for a black person or family to be present for events at the Athletic Association of Bahia, for instance, but only if they had a college degree (formatura), “something [that was] very unusual.”160

Elite events reinforced the social order and were structured as the symbolic pinnacle of Salvadoran carnival. Despite the relative decline of the elite clubs and the popularization of carnival, the elite managed to present a much-abridged annual version of their former parades and could convince themselves that they were still the centerpiece of the festivities. The costumes and masks of the revelers in the streets were also markers of status. The better versions were imported from Europe or were made from imported materials, perhaps of satin, and could be quite complex. In contrast, the poor might cut holes in the peel of a breadfruit or a pillow cover. Poor youths often chose their worst clothes and went as street urchins, perhaps to prove that they were not in fact street urchins.161 This was part of the wider phenomenon of the “dirty blocos” (blocos de sujos) in both Rio de Janeiro and Salvador. This group was comprised of workers and domestic servants who, in the words of Rubem Braga, organized almost by chance in almost every neighborhood, darkened their faces with charcoal, dressed in the messiest clothes they could find, and perhaps carried an inside-out umbrella, all part of a “self-caricature” of their own urban poverty.162

Although African-Bahian cultural practices were increasingly accepted as an essential element of Salvador's carnival, the ludic nature of carnival (p.190) could be used by the dominant class to reinforce hierarchy. For instance, Donald Pierson noted how in 1936, “in a spirit of levity common to the Carnival season, one will occasionally see a group of whites and light mulattoes burlesquing the cordão [in this case an entirely African-Bahian afoxé]. Encompassed by a rope, they pass through the crowd, singing, dancing, and beating their palms. In one of these blocos, as they are called, 16 of the participants were whites and 12 were mulattoes, all light except one. There were no blacks.” Moreover, there continued to be places and times where samba and particularly more rudimentary batucadas were not permitted.

An article in O Imparcial suggests that even in 1937, the Rua Chile, the principal location of formal carnival and the main procession route for the big clubs, was not an entirely egalitarian space. That year, the police broke up a roda de samba there. O Imparcial neither defended nor criticized the sambistas. The tone was of detached regret that “samba é pro terreiro” (“samba is for the terreiro”), meaning that the Terreiro de Jesus, the principal square barely three blocks away from the Rua Chile, was the right place for such practices because it was understood to be where working-class African Bahians celebrated carnival. It did not seem to matter that the musicians the police disturbed were the locally famous group Três e Meio, who were at the time making an impression on local radio audiences in Salvador. Newspaper reports, in the 1930s especially, reinforce the point that the Terreiro de Jesus was the epicenter of popular and African-Bahian carnival practice. That was “the meeting point of the batucadas and the afoxés” during Salvador's festivities, which extended through the poor and working-class neighborhoods adjacent to the Rua Chile and along the Baixa dos Sapateiros, but not along the official parade route itself, or at least not without provoking some degree of class and racial tension.163

Interviewees underline this point that the Terreiro de Jesus, and other locales such as the Largo da Piedade, were understood as the “appropriate” place for African-Bahian and working-class cultural practices. Moreover, dominant-class whites rarely went to the Terreiro. According to José Ferreira, African Bahians consciously restricted their movements. It was a question of certain behaviors and certain people belonging in certain places and not belonging in others.164 After carnival in 1935, a number of batucadas continued to practice for the Micareta, which was a brief reprise of carnival on the weekend of or just after Easter Sunday. A Tarde carried a criticism of this practice, arguing that carnival was over and the Micareta was a long way off and it was not the time to be drumming in public. These “batuques” were disturbing the peace, and the use of batuques (which is in (p.191) quotes in the original), seems in this case to have been a reminder of the African origins of the practice. This is one example of how the language reporters and editors chose reinforced cultural hierarchy. Batucadas needed to stay in their rightful time and place.165

Finally, the rise of samba as a regional and national symbol had its critics. In 1937, professor emeritus Luís Pinto de Carvalho of Bahia's Medical School lambasted regional and national elites, including President Getúlio Vargas, for celebrating popular musical forms such as samba. Pinto de Carvalho insisted that the only proper material for musical education, general artistic development, and even social well-being, was classical music.166 How many Bahians agreed with this position cannot be known, but his statement at the very least represents a strand of dominant-class discourse on samba. Echoing Pinto de Carvalho's sentiments in 1937, historian Pedro Calmon, who was director of the Law Faculty of Bahia, criticized samba as an inappropriate musical genre for representing Brazil internationally. He was specifically targeting Carmen Miranda and her “vulgar and degrading” performances abroad, although his criticism was also directed at associating Brazil with “Guinea blacks or Hottentots in striped shirts.”167 As these comments suggest, the association of Bahian carnival with African-Bahian practices was accompanied by a degree of criticism that limited and controlled the meanings of African-Bahian culture as they were assimilated into notions of Bahianness.


The key development in Bahian carnival from 1930 to 1954 was that the “artistry and luxuriousness” of the elite clubs gave way to the “batucada and animation” of Salvador's samba schools. The region's stagnant economy and World War II undermined the elite clubs' financial base and the willingness of the mayor's office to subsidize them, curtailing their ability to parade individual corteges and maintain their place as the centerpiece of the city's carnival celebrations. Throughout the 1930s and especially after the war, Salvador's African-Bahian poor and working classes formed more and more batucadas for the three-day pre-Lenten festivity. In this they were encouraged by the success of samba in Rio de Janeiro, the commercial success of the genre, and its elevation as a manifestation of Brazilianness and Brazilian racially inclusive national identity. Bahian journalists, too, were influenced by the rise of samba to national prominence and began to construct Salvador's batucadas, which performed sambas publicly, as positive (p.192) contributions to the city's carnival. In addition, one of the conventions of samba, as performed in the radio studios in Bahia and the southeast of Brazil, was the frequent use of themes and imagery that invoked African-Bahian cultural practices, which began to stand in as the principal signifiers of Bahian identity in Brazilian urban popular music. Afoxés also played important roles during carnival and extended the presence of the terreiro into the secular festivities.168 The afoxé Filhos de Gandhy, founded in 1949, became ambassadors of the institution as a distinctive cultural marker of Salvadoran carnival. The phenomena of the batucadas and the afoxé reinforced the general trend in Bahia after 1930 whereby journalists, academics, intellectuals, and public figures began to write and speak of African-Bahian cultural forms as positive contributions to and a central element of Bahian regional identity.

That African-Bahian practices did not become the principal (or even the only) defining feature of Salvador's carnival, as was the case with the samba schools in Rio de Janeiro, was due to several factors. While local political bosses in Rio de Janeiro recognized the political usefulness of the samba schools, Salvador's elites did not perceive a politically expedient need to institutionalize the diverse and small carnival associations around the city. Instead, the municipal government focused its energies and financial support on the three big clubs and was central to their revival in the early 1950s. Nevertheless, it supported popular carnival and the smaller clubs in smaller ways, not only in the downtown area but also in numerous outlying “hot spots.” Some politicians also used carnival as an opportunity to enter African-Bahian space in a public and official capacity. For example, Mayor Aristóteles Góes (1954–55) made a point of attending both elite events and African-Bahian events during carnival. The batucadas and afoxés certainly benefited from this public show of support. This was known at the time as “the officialization of carnival,” as both elite groups and African-Bahian groups became dependent on or were at least strongly influenced by government largesse.169

The Era of the Batucadas drew to a close in early 1950s. Much of this was due to the emergence in 1951 of the trio elétrico, which provided a spirited alternative to the batucadas. In 1950, two Bahian musicians, Adolfo Nascimento and Osmar Macedo, known affectionately as Dodô and Osmar, introduced the dupla elétrico (electric double) to Salvador's carnival. They played electric guitars atop a Ford pickup truck as the vehicle moved along the carnival circuit. But the duo did not remain a duo for long. The following year a third musician, Temístocles Aragão, joined the two pioneers (p.193) and the trio elétrico was born.170 The innovation quickly became popular. Fratelli Vita, a bottling conglomerate with a long history of sponsoring carnival, began sponsoring the trio of musicians, which appeared at carnival gritos in 1953 and 1954.171 And in 1955, a second, “official” trio elétrico was organized by the mayor's office, which no doubt hoped to reap some of the benefits of the popularity the phenomenon generated.172 The trios elétricos posed problems for the batucadas and even for the centrality of samba to Bahian carnival. The trios initially played a different type of music, called frevo, that was popular during carnival in another northeast city in Brazil, Recife.

Nevertheless, the period from the late 1930s to the early 1950s saw a rise in popularity of the batucada carnival associations of the poor and working-class neighborhoods that coincided with the demise of the grand corteges of the elite clubs. This combination facilitated the celebration, largely by journalists, of the place of the African-Bahian batucada in carnival. Carnival, of course, was arguably Salvador's most important popular festival in the configuration of Bahia's regional identity. As Nathalie Zemon Davis argued long ago, although dramatic changes in the social order are rare, carnival is powerful because over time the festival extends the boundaries of what is acceptable. What is initially an inversion, or perhaps merely an exception, becomes increasingly normative.173 The dynamics of the Era of the Batucadas, particularly from 1938 to 1952, contributed to the consolidation of African-Bahian musical practices—such as the batucada, the samba, and, to lesser extent, the Candomblé-related afoxés—as central elements of Bahian regional identity during the Vargas era. Even after 1954 the batucadas did not disappear entirely. They and a number of afoxés continued to provide a bridge of ethnic identification and cultural agency between the Afrocentric clubs of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, on the one hand, and the afoxés and blocos afros of the late twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Both played important roles in the reformulation of baianidade from 1930 to 1954 as African-Bahian cultural practices, and African Bahians were celebrated as “the powerful propulsive force that moved Bahian carnival.”174

Finally, during these years the demographic and geographic spread of popular carnival and the carnivalization of several other popular religious festivals also deepened Bahia's association with African-Bahian practices. These practices shifted the balance in the festivals away from the religious representatives of the dominant class and toward the African-Bahian celebrants in the street. Carnival in Bahia between 1930 and 1954 was very much (p.194) a carnival of the people. While carnival and carnival discourse transformed during the Era of the Batucadas, an important process was occurring more widely in Salvador. This was the consolidation of an explicit, self-conscious project carried out by key figures in Salvador's political and cultural elite that identified the inclusion and celebration of African-Bahian practices as central to Bahian regional identity. It is to this act of consolidation of a recreated Bahian identity that we now turn.


(1) . A Tarde, 9 February 1942; Diário de Notícias, 8 March 1943.

(2) . A cuíca is a high-pitched, hand-held percussion instrument played by rubbing a thin stick that is stuck through the drum head. It is often said to mimic human speech. A reco-reco is also held by hand. The sound comes from scraping a stick across sideways ridges along a hollow tube.

(3) . Turner, Anthropology of Performance; Burton, Afro-Creole, chap. 4; Davis, Society and Culture, chaps. 4 and 5; Da Matta, Carnivals. Also, on the power of the ludic, see Schechner, “Carnival (Theory) After Bakhtin,” 9–10.

(4) . Butler, Freedoms Given, Freedoms Won, 172–75; Fry, Carrara, and Martins-Costa, “Negros e brancos”; Ferreira Filho, “Desafricanizar as ruas.”

(5) . Butler, “Afterword,” 164–67; Góes, 50 anos do trio elétrico, 36–40; Risério, Carnaval Ijexá, 16–18; Moura, “Carnaval como engenho,” 172. On the trio elétrico, see also Metz, “Alegria.” Guerreiro, “Trilhas do samba-reggae,” is a notable exception.

(6) . Emphasizing the power of carnival beyond its official time and place, Piers Armstrong notes that for the early twenty-first century, “temporal and spatial boundaries between carnival and everyday culture are relatively open so that the two domains are less (p.268) polarized and their respective performative modes converge.” See Armstrong, “Bahian Carnival,” 449.

(7) . Matta employed the work of Victor Turner to update Bahktin's interpretation (in Rabelais and His World) of carnival as a moment of cathartic democracy and symbolic resistance to the repressive and exploitative structures that ordered daily life; see Matta, Carnivals. Queiroz disagreed, arguing that Matta ignored the hierarchy and power differentials that were still present during carnival and that the dominant bourgeois value system domesticated carnival for many years; see Queiroz, Carnaval brasileiro. Most scholars of carnival in Brazil mark out positions between these two poles. See Ortiz, Consciência Fragmentada, especially 13–27; Stam, “Carnival, Politics and Brazilian Culture”; Soihet, Subverção pelo riso; Cavalcanti, Rito e o tempo. See also Raphael, “Samba and Social Control; Tupy, Carnavais de guerra; Severiano, Getúlio Vargas e música popular; Matos, Acertei no milhar; and Cunha, Ecos da folia.

(8) . Butler, Freedoms Given, Freedoms Won, 172–75. See also Fry, Carrara, and Martins-Costa, “Negros e brancos”; and Ferreira Filho, “Desafricanizar as ruas.”

(9) . Simson, “Espaço urbano.” For Simson, “popular carnival” did not emerge in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo until the 1920s.

(10) . Butler, Freedoms Given, Freedoms Won, 177. See also Fry, Carrara, and Martins-Costa, “Negros e brancos,” 254–60.

(11) . Vieira Filho, “Africanização do carnaval de Salvador,” 128–49.

(12) . Vianna, “Do entrudo ao carnaval,” 285; Risério, “Carnaval,” 92.

(13) . Jornal A Bahia, 16 February 1906; Fry, Carrara, and Martins-Costa, “Negros e brancos,” 255–56.

(14) . Butler, Freedoms Given, Freedoms Won, 171, 187–88.

(15) . Donga and Mouro de Almeida, “Pelo telephone,” original recording by Banda Odeon, Odeon, 1917. See Hertzman, “Surveillance and Difference,” 233–36, for a discussion of the degree to which it is legitimate to refer to “Pelo Telefone” as a “samba.”

(16) . Butler, Freedoms Given, Freedoms Won, 180–81; Vieira Filho, “Africanização do carnaval de Salvador,” 136–44.

(17) . Imparcial, 13 January 1937.

(18) . Walkyrio Meyer and Delza Meyer, interview by the author, Salvador, 21 October 1999, 23–24.

(19) . Durval Lima Filho, interview by the author, Salvador, 26 October 1999, 25–26; Diário de Notícias, 16 February 1947; Moura, “Mapa político,” n.p.

(20) . Edison Carneiro, “Caretas da Bahia,” p. 133C, Arquivo Edison Carneiro, Texto 36, 211.2, Biblioteca Amadeu Amaral. Cunha elaborates on the contribution of anonymity to carnivalesque transgression in late-nineteenth-century Rio de Janeiro. See Cunha, Ecos da folia, 21–41.

(21) . José Ferreira, interview by the author, Salvador, 11 November 1999, 115–16.

(22) . José Ferreira, interviews by the author, Salvador, 4 November 1999, 44–45, and 11 November 1999, 69–70. On restrictions and censorship during carnival, see Cx 6456 Pc 03, 1906–43, Secretaria de Segurança Pública, APEB.

(23) . For photos, see Estado da Bahia, 17 February 1954; and Verger, Retratos da Bahia, 126–27.

(24) . Momento, 1 February 1948.

(25) . José Ferreira, interview by the author, Salvador, 4 November 1999, 45–46.

(26) . Diário de Notícias, 10 March 1943.

(27) . Imparcial, 29 January 1937.

(28) . During the 1930s, newspapers did not mention politicians or political positions with regard to carnival. This was likely the convention of carnival reporting at the time. However, sporadic correspondence in the Pasta Clubes Carnavalescos in Salvador's municipal archive (the Arquivo Histórico Municipal de Salvador) shows that the mayor's office subsidized the big clubs.

(29) . Diário de Notícias, 11 February 1939.

(30) . Newspaper articles throughout the period remarked on the waxing and waning of state and especially municipal support for the big clubs. The municipal budget for 1939, the only year available, indicated that in 1939, Cruz Vermelha and Fantoches da Euterpe received 30:000$00 contos de reis each ($1,500), while Inocentes em Progresso received 20:000$000 ($1,000), a not insignificant amount of money at the time. Livro de orçamento de 1939, Fundo Prefeitura Orçamento, Arquivo Histórico Municipal de Salvador (hereafter cited as AHMS).

(31) . Cornelio Daltro de Azevedo to the Mayor of Salvador, 6 July 1935, Pasta Clubes Carnavalescos, AHMS.

(32) . See, for example, Diário de Notícias, 11 February 1939. See also the possibly tonguein-cheek report on the unenthusiastic response of the mayor to requests for support for the popular and predominantly African-Bahian carnival in the Plaza Terreiro de Jesus in A Tarde, 9 February 1933.

(33) . Diário de Notícias, 13 February 1939.

(34) . Pierson was in Salvador in 1936 and tells us simply that “the rivalries, especially between Cruz Vermelha and the Fantoshes [sic], are intense, the Inocentes em Progresso appearing to be rather generally admired.” Pierson, Negroes in Brazil, 201.

(35) . Diário de Notícias, 6 February 1937.

(36) . A Tarde, 24 January 1942.

(37) . Pierson, Negroes in Brazil, 202–3.

(38) . Diário de Notícias, 3 March 1939. From the report in Diário de Notícias it would seem that “the delicacy of her features” was the deciding factor for Ms. Gouveia's election.

(39) . Diário de Notícias, 16 January 1939.

(40) . Diário de Notícias, 10 January 1941.

(41) . Diário de Notícias, 22 February 1941; Diário de Notícias, 3 February and 7 February 1940.

(42) . Diário de Notícias, 8 March 1943.

(43) . Diário de Notícias, 20 February 1944.

(44) . A Tarde, 1 February 1945; Diário de Notícias, 11 February 1945.

(45) . Diário de Notícias, 11 January 1948.

(46) . At the official exchange rate, one million cruzeiros was fifty-four thousand U.S. dollars.

(47) . Fundo Prefeitura Orçamento, Livro de orçamento de 1939, AHMS.

(48) . A Tarde, 10 January 1948.

(49) . A Tarde, 28 February 1948; A Tarde, 28 February 1949.

(50) . Diário de Notícias, 11 February 1947.

(51) . Diário de Notícias, 25 January 1950; A Tarde, 20 January 1951.

(52) . Caixa Clubes Carnavalescos e Esportivos, AHMS.

(53) . A Tarde, 7 February 1951; Estado da Bahia, 17 February 1955.

(54) . “Animation” in Portuguese referred to the excitement and enthusiasm ordinary Bahians brought to the festivities. The quote contrasting luxuriousness and batucada comes from an anonymous interviewee who was comparing Salvador with Rio de Janeiro in Diário de Notícias, 10 February 1937. See Queiroz, Carnaval brasileiro, 18, on similar distinctions that occurred during São Paulo's carnival.

(55) . Diário de Notícias, 10 January 1938.

(56) . Teixeira, “Prefácio.”

(57) . Interesting to note that according to Soihet, prior to 1930 the press in Rio de Janeiro rarely mentioned the activities in the Praça Onze, which was the principal site for African-Carioca cultural expression during carnival. After 1930, however, this changed incrementally. See Soihet, Subversão pelo riso, 58.

(58) . For a sampling, see A Tarde, 2 February 1930; A Tarde, 4 February 1931; A Tarde, 25 February 1933; and A Tarde, 1 March 1935.

(59) . Butler, Freedoms Given, Freedoms Won, 184–85.

(60) . A Tarde, 20 January 1951.

(61) . For the batuque in post-abolition Salvador, see Fry, Carrara, and Martins-Costa, “Negros e brancos,” 252–60.

(62) . Nina Rodrigues, Os africanos; Ramos, Folclore negro no Brasil; Mello Moraes, Festas e tradições, 76, 132.

(63) . Pierson, Negroes in Brazil, 201.

(64) . Luciano da Silva, interview by the author, Salvador, 10 November 1999, 30; Inail Alves, interview by the author, Salvador, 18 October 1999, 20.

(65) . Not long after the record labels began professionalizing samba compositions for a national market, the name batucada was given to a type of samba that featured an upbeat tempo and a greater emphasis on percussion.

(66) . A tamborim is a small, stick-beaten frame drum (not to be confused with the English-language tambourine).

(67) . Momento, 5 February 1948. Although the Communist Party in Brazil was effectively outlawed in 1947, O Momento continued to publish, albeit increasingly sporadically, until 1957.

(68) . José Ferreira, interviews by the author, Salvador, 4 November 1999 and 11 November 1999, passim; Luciano da Silva, interview by the author, Salvador, 10 November 1999, passim. Jorge Amado's social realism novels such as Suor, Pais de Carnival, and Jubiabá capture well Salvador's working-class competitive masculinity.

(69) . A Tarde, 17 January 1949.

(70) . Momento, 28 January 1948.

(71) . Diário de Notícias, 10 February 1941.

(72) . There were some attempts by the regimes in power between 1930 and 1954 to establish more formal political control over the carnival sphere. There were prohibitions on criticizing “the federal, state and municipal authorities”; military and religious associations and institutions; and even consular officers during wartime. There were also local efforts to “moralize” carnival behavior, especially those of the city's working classes, via (p.271) punitive restrictions on hard liquor, controls over gambling, and use of lança perfume, for instance. See the numerous portarias in Cx 6456 Pc 03, 1906–43, Secretaria de Segurança Pública, APEB. For additional information on carnival's relationship to the state outside the realm of cultural politics, see Ickes, “Salvador's Transformist Hegemony,” chap. 5.

(73) . A Tarde, 16 January 1951.

(74) . A Tarde, 28 February 1949.

(75) . A Tarde, 31 January 1951; A Tarde, 12 January 1951.

(76) . Estado da Bahia, 23 February 1955; Estado da Bahia, 2 February 1952; A Tarde, 21 January 1953.

(77) . Diário de Notícias, 20 January 1940 and 3 February 1940.

(78) . Diário de Notícias, 18 February 1939.

(79) . Festa II, no. 6 (April 1941).

(80) . Diário de Notícias, 22 February 1939.

(81) . Imparcial, 23 January 1937.

(82) . Vicente Paiva and Augusto Mesquita, “Bahia, oi … Bahia!,” original recording by Anjos do Inferno, Columbia, 1940; Vicente Paiva and Chianca de Garcia, “Exaltation of Bahia,” original recording by Heleninha Costa, Columbia, 1942.

(83) . Diário de Notícias, 8 January, 19 January, 22 January, 23 January, and 25 January 1953. See also Diário de Notícias, 20 January 1940; and Estado da Bahia, 5 February 1947 and 14 January 1955. For additional examples of local sambas lyrics, see Cruz, “Samba na roda,” chap. 4.

(85) . Pedro Caldas, “Bahia é terra boa,” Estado da Bahia, 13 February 1952. See appendix for lyrics in Portuguese and English translation.

(86) . “A Batucada gostosa / Faz a morena tão prosa / Cair no santo e sambar,” A Tarde, 9 February, 1948, quoted in Leal, Pergunte ao seu avô, 174–75.

(87) . Vivam a loura e a mulata / De sandália de alpercata / E a morena que é meu bem!

(88) . Não façamos distinções / Como as “unidas” Nações.

(89) . A Tarde, 28 February 1949, quoted in Leal, Pergunte ao seu avô, 176–79:

  • Ao passar das batucadas
  • batendo forte o tambor,
  • as classes fraternizadas
  • se encontram no mesmo ardor.
  • Nessa cadência soturna
  • a alma da raça noturna
  • eleva clamores vôos.
  • E brancos, pretos, mulatos
  • seguindo os passos exatos
  • se sentem todos irmãos.
  • Louras, morenas, mulatas,
  • De sandália e alpercata,
  • Sambando no coração!

(90) . Raphael, “Samba Schools,” 261; Queiroz, Carnaval brasileiro, 58–59. On racial democracy in Brazil, see, among others, Hanchard, Orpheus and Power; Guimarães, Classes, raças, e democracia, 137–46; Twine, Racism in a Racial Democracy; and Alberto, Terms of Inclusion.

(91) . Fry, Carrara, and Martins-Costa, “Negros e brancos,” 235; Diário de Notícias, 4 and 13 February 1944. The year that racial democracy is most explicit in coverage of carnival is 1944, especially in Diário de Notícias, 4 February (“the festival annuls prejudice”), 13 February (carnival has at least the one virtue of “effecting an authentic equality of the races”), and February 20.

(92) . Francisco da Silva Fárrea Júnior and Luís Soberano, “Salve a Princesa,” original recording by Trio de Ouro, Odeon, 1948. The Portuguese: Preto não é mais lacaio / Preto não tem mais senhor.… / Hoje preto pode ser doutor / Deputado e senador. The group was reported on in O Momento, 1 February 1948. There was also a bloco in Bahia called Preto não é Mais Lacaio in the late 1940s. It is worth noting a parallel phenomenon in late 1940s Rio de Janeiro, where the carnival club Unidos de Tijuca was expressing politicized African-Brazilian racial pride and alternative readings of the myth of racial democracy in its carnival costumes and allegorical floats. See Tupy, Carnavais de guerra, 112–13.

(93) . Alberto, Terms of Inclusion, 179; Fuente, Nation for All.

(94) . “Homenagem a Liberdade,” Estado da Bahia, 28 January 1955.

(95) . Diário de Notícias, 9 January 1954. See also A Tarde, 19 February, 1954.

(96) . Tavares, “Rodas de Samba.”

(97) . “Desfile de batucadas,” A Tarde, 20 January 1951.

(98) . Diário de Notícias, 21 January 1953.

(99) . Lima, “Meu Carnaval da Bahia,” A Tarde, 25 February 1954; De Brito, “Carnaval,” A Tarde, 25 February 1954.

(100) . Estado da Bahia, 2 February and 27 February 1952. For a photograph that was published in the 27 February issue, literally dozens of Baianas posed in front of the giant tabuleiro/stage.

(101) . A Tarde, 16 February 1953.

(102) . Estado da Bahia, 11 February 1949; A Tarde, 3 February 1949.

(103) . Guerreiro, “Trilhas do samba-reggae,” 120–22.

(104) . Estado da Bahia, 2 February 1952. See also the documents in the Caixa Clubes Carnavalescos e Esportivos, AHMS.

(105) . José Ferreira, interview by the author, Salvador, 11 November 1999, 112.

(106) . Guerreiro, “Trilhas do samba-reggae,” 120–22; José Ferreira, interview by the author, Salvador, 11 November 1999, 111–12; Godi, “De índio a negro.

(107) . See, for example, Diário de Notícias, 3 February 1940.

(108) . There is some disagreement over the use of afoxé for the Embaixada Africana and Pândegos da África. The Embaixada Africana may more rightly be considered a carnival club than an afoxé despite the fact that it had linkages with members of the Candomblé community. Fry, Carrara, and Martins-Costa see Pândegos da África as an intermediary group “bringing into contact and communication distinct value systems”; see Fry, Carrara, and Martins-Costa, “Negros e brancos,” 262. Risério suggests that the press temporarily accepted the two institutions as improvements on the “horrors” of carnival's predecessor, the Entrudo; see Risério, “Carnaval,” 92. See also Carneiro, Folguedos tradicionais, 102; and Vieira Filho, “Africanização do carnaval de Salvador,” 20–21, 115, 181–90.

(109) . Butler, Freedoms Given, Freedoms Won, 176–82.

(110) . Albuquerque, “Esperanças de Boaventuras,” 220.

(111) . Carneiro, Félix, Nina Rodrigues, and Querino were the first to discuss the afoxés of the late nineteenth century. See Carneiro, Folguedos tradicionais, 102; Félix, Filhos de Gandhi; Nina Rodrigues, Africanos; and Manuel Querino, Raça. See also Butler, Freedoms Given, Freedoms Won, 175–85.

(112) . For instance, as early as 1931 the Diário da Bahia mentioned that “Ubá África” [sic; “Obá África”] was inviting its associates to an ensaio, or warmup, at the end of which would be a feast of the typical food of the Candomblé community—“vatapá, acarajé, abará”—suggesting that Ubá África was an afoxé. But the Diário da Bahia described them as a “carnival Club” (club carnavalesco). See Diário da Bahia, 13 February 1931. Meanwhile, the organizers of carnival in the largely African-Bahian working-class neighborhood of Maciel de Baixo offered a prize for the “best cordãoaffoxé’ [sic]” in 1933. A Tarde, 25 February 1933.

(113) . Carneiro, Sabedoria popular, 111; see also Tavares and Verger, “Afoxé, ritmo bárbaro.”

(114) . Momento, 4 February 1948. For the afoxé Congo d'África in the late 1940s, one director was a woman, but the other seven members of the diretoria—the director, secretary, treasurer, song director (cobrador), speaker (orador), band treasurer (fiscal da charanga), and band master (contra-mestre)—were all men.

(115) . Jaime Moreira de Pinho, interview by Félix, in Filhos de Gandhi; Pierson, Negroes in Brazil, 201.

(116) . Santos, Axé Opô Afonjá, 92.

(117) . Ibid., 90–95.

(118) . In 1942, 30 cruzeiros (30$000) was worth $2.50, and 10 cruzeiros (10$000) was worth just under $1.00.

(119) . Santos, Axé Opô Afonjá, 94.

(120) . Carneiro, Candomblés da Bahia, 20.

(121) . Santos, Axé Opô Afonjá, 95.

(122) . Félix, Filhos de Gandhi; Morales, “Afoxé filhos de Gandhi”; Djalma Conceição, interview by Félix, in Filhos de Gandhi.

(123) . Diário de Notícias, 18 January 1953.

(124) . Lody, Afoxé, 5–6.

(125) . Diário da Bahia, 22 Janurary 1938.

(126) . Estado da Bahia, 23 February 1955.

(127) . Momento, 4 February 1948.

(128) . Tavares and Verger, “Afoxé, ritmo bárbaro.”

(129) . Ibid., 57.

(130) . Davis, Society and Culture, chaps. 4 and 5.

(131) . The number of small clubs was increasing throughout the 1930s, even before the definitive decline of the elite clubs, even though the well-established small clubs probably numbered less than forty. The war in Europe and its economic consequences decreased the number of small clubs on the streets. However, they rebounded during the 1940s.

(132) . On the social context of the working-class neighborhood clubs, see Amado, Jubiabá, 295–319; and Diário de Notícias, 4 and 6 January 1945.

(133) . Secretaria de Segurança Pública, Cx 21, Pc 1, Partes da Polícia 1941, APEB; José Ferreira, interview by the author, Salvador, 11 November 1999, 66–68; Deôdeto Porto, interview by the author, Salvador, 4 November 1999, 44–45.

(134) . José Ferreira, interview by the author, Salvador, 11 November 1999, 72–73.

(135) . See, among others, Walter Santos, secretary of the Commission of Carnival Festivity of the Rua do Uruguay to Wanderley Pinho, Mayor, 1 February 1950, in Caixa Clubes Carnavalescos e Esportivos, AHMS.

(136) . Estado da Bahia, 2 February 1952.

(137) . Diário de Notícias, 7 February 1947.

(138) . One must not lose sight of Campos's point that these festivals were originally founded by the exuberant masses and devotees of popular Catholicism and that their profane nature was always evident. See Campos, Procissões, passim.

(139) . I use “carnivalesque” here to generalize about the presence of small clubs and music typical of Bahian carnival rather than in the Bahktinian sense of the inversion of the social order. See Bahktin, Rabelais and His World. Some of this momentary inversion may have been present, however. Indeed, such momentary inversion may have played a role in the spread of carnival to the other popular religious festivals in the first place.

(140) . Santana, Alma e festa, 196–99.

(141) . Diário de Notícias, 19 January 1938.

(142) . A Tarde, 15 January 1942.

(143) . Diário de Notícias, 18 January 1946.

(144) . Imparcial, 1925, quoted in Hildegardes Vianna, “Noite de Reis,” http://www.fundacaocultural.ba.gov.br/04/revista%20da%20bahia/Folguedos/noite.htm/. The June festivals of Saint John, Saint Anthony, and Saint Peter were also already partially devoted to traditional samba by the 1930s even though those festivals had their own musical traditions. Batucadas were popular there, too, by 1937 and 1938. These festivals, however, remain outside the scope of this study.

(145) . José Ferreira, interview by the author, Salvador, 11 November 1999, 113.

(146) . Diário de Notícias, 4 January 1939, 5 January 1940, and 2 January 1941.

(147) . Imparcial, 6 January 1937; Diário de Notícias, 6 January 1939; A Tarde, 4 January 1942.

(148) . Diário de Notícias, 4 and 6 January 1945 and 5 January 1950.

(149) . Diário de Notícias, 5 January 1944.

(150) . Vianna, “Noite de Reis.” Couto observed a similar carnivalization in the 1970s in Ilhéus at the Festival of the Hauling of the Mast. See Couto, Puxada do mastro, 186–87.

(151) . Imparcial, 6 January 1937 and 4 January 1942; Diário de Notícias, 5 January 1944 and 5 January 1947.

(152) . Estado da Bahia, 30 December 1950.

(153) . Pierson, Negroes in Brazil, 201–2.

(154) . José Ferreira, interview by author, Salvador, 4 November 1999, 31. In 1949, a photograph of the fifteen members of the “Feminine Wing” of the elite club Inocentes em Progresso revealed only light complexions. A Tarde, 22 February 1949. Piersonhas some excellent anecdotal passages on racial and racist assumptions among white Bahians in Negroes in Brazil, chaps. 1–8.

(155) . Estado da Bahia, 19 February 1955.

(156) . Pierson, Negroes in Brazil, 202.

(157) . Verger, Retratos da Bahia, 122–35. See photographs of the carnival group Mexican Embassy at http://www.pierreverger.org/.

(158) . Walkyrio Meyer and Delza Meyer, interview by the author, Salvador, 21 October 1999, 14–16.

(159) . Verger, Retratos da Bahia, 122–24.

(160) . Antônia Conceição, interview by the author, Salvador, 2 November 1999, 38.

(161) . Edison Carneiro, “Caretas da Bahia,” p. 133A, Texto 36, 211.2, Arquivo Edison Carneiro, Biblioteca Amadeu Amaral.

(162) . A Tarde, 26 July 1937. For a newspaper editorial concerned with the “great number” forced to “beg for charity … [on] every corner” during carnival, disrupting the gaiety of the celebrations, see Diário de Notícias, 18 February 1947.

(163) . Imparcial, 11 February 1937; Leal, Pergunte ao seu avô, 205–6. Três e Meio was one of Dorival Caymmi's early bands.

(164) . Walkyrio Meyer and Delza Meyer, interview by the author, Salvador, 21 October 1999, 27–28; José Ferreira, interview by author, Salvador, 4 November 1999, 38–41.

(165) . A Tarde, 19 March 1935. For additional examples of samba at the “wrong” time or place and even a suggestion that samba affected worker productivity, see A Tarde, 18 May 1946 and 4 December 1947, quoted in Cruz, “Samba na roda,” 43.

(166) . “Originalidades,” Imparcial, 10 March 1937; “Opinões musicais,” Imparcial, 17 March 1937, discussed in Cruz, “Samba na roda,” 44–48.

(167) . Pedro Calmon, “Sr. José Lins é a favor do samba,” Estado da Bahia, 15 July 1937. See also McCann, Hello, Hello Brazil, 63–65.

(168) . In extending their presence, the afoxés were playing the role described for them by Sodré, as “mytho-cultural patrimony” and as “poles of African-Brazilian ethnic identification.” Sodré, Terreiro e a cidade, 62.

(169) . Estado da Bahia, 23 February 1955 and 27 February 1952.

(170) . Leal, Pergunte ao seu avô, 205–9; Góes, 50 anos do trio elétrico, 40–51.

(171) . Diário de Notícias, 4 February 1954.

(172) . A Tarde, 7 February 1955.

(173) . Davis, Society and Culture, chaps. 4 and 5.

(174) . Tavares and Verger, “Afoxé, ritmo bárbaro,” 57.