Posted by: Steve Scherer | March 14, 2010

Geneseo Brazil Project – Sunday part 3

Dinner was great.

Sunday on the bus on the way to Dannenman

Driving through Salvador, there are vendors on the street who take a coconut with the green husk on it in one hand, and a machete (large, long knife for cutting through brushy areas) in the other hand.  They take 3 or 4 wacks at the end of the coconut and cut an opening about as big around as an egg.  They may or may not add anything to the coconut milk, and then they pop a straw into it and sell it as a beverage.

There are so many people very close together.  They are almost always men and women together.  I have rarely seen a group of men or a group of women.  They are together.  Sitting together, standing together, waiting, for something to happen.  Middle of a town intersection with a little boulevard.  Four men sit on wooden crates or boxes, playing cards on a board while a fifth watches.

People are selling food and drink everywhere.  Food and cooking are so important.  Taste is so important.  If it doesn’t taste good enough, they’ll discard it.  It’s not about feeling full or satisfied.  It’s about good taste.

There are many motorcycles.  Small quiet motorcycles, almost always with more than one person.  Motorcycle taxis are very common.  Today I saw a man and two small children board one.  One child on the gas tank, then the driver, then the other child, then the dad.  Off they go.

People don’t follow traffic signals.  Red means be careful.  I took a taxi that didn’t even slow down for a red light.  They pull out into traffic and expect the others to slow or stop.  They travel very fast in very small areas.

Drug lords don’t allow crime in their neighborhoods, because they don’t want police in their neighborhoods.  (according to our guide).  Things are very peaceful.

Most of population not wealthy, so on their homes, the last thing they pay for is “finishing” their homes.  So they don’t have nice walls and floors and contents, and usually don’t have glass in the windows, because they can do without them.  They have the space, the necessities, and a way to lock.

The buildings built on the hillsides are built straight up only separated by stairs to climb.  Very steep earth walls below the buildings are covered sometimes with concrete to prevent mudslides.  Long stairs and ladders are everywhere.  The poor live on the hills, and the wealthy live on the flat.

Family, property, religion.  Property is strength.

Wheelbarrows.  There are people with wheelbarrows everywhere.  To vend.  To carry belongings.  To pick up finds.

Flat dirt patch, red dirt, two primitive goals made with sticks.

No pollution can be created in the city.  So they have two or three industrial centers 30 miles outside of the city.

The land is most fertile around the bay because of the humidity right next to the water.  So that’s where they grow cash crops and cattle.  Sugarcane.  Tobacco.  Clay for roof and bricks.  Bamboo.

Most places not air conditioned.  Hot too much of the year.  Too expensive.

Water tanks on top of all private buildings with a single pipe leading down.

Rustic hut or shack for vendor or bus stop.  Along the roads.  Big sticks from trees used to build a frame, and palm branches across the top for a roof.  That’s it.

Horses and mules parked along road in the country.  They tie them where there is grass to eat.

To harvest the sugar they do it manually.  They burn it first because the leaves are sharp like a razor.  Then they have to harvest it quickly.

Dannenman was early 19th century.  Tobacco.  First company that provided jobs for free blacks.  Today it is a cultural center.

1830 music is a very important component of local culture.  This is important cigar making.  Dannenman is best cigar in Brazil.  Every year they have philharmonica (concert band) contest.  Music is the main art in the culture because they know it can change the culture.  They value music as an important part of society.

Cows, bulls, horses, mules.  They are everywhere in the country.

Music is a high prestige for those who know how to play instrument.  They wear a shirt with the name of the band they are part of.  It is important for every student to have education in music.  Because this is a city where the tobacco industry is important, Europeans came hear to learn.  Of the music, African drums and African musicians most important most religious.  The city is not as important as it was for 200 years because the train is not used as much.  And is no longer used for passengers.

Important African music taught here, bossa nova.

They don’t work on Sunday because they are religious.  They rest.

The drummer is protected.  He is the one who gives orders.  He is protected.  The drum major.  Then once, the Portuguese shot the native drummer, and the people were so angry that many joined the army because the drummer was killed.

Sunday they bow, beach till 11, then beer.  They don’t go to church on Sunday.  Only the eldest go.  Others go to church on other days.

People with money are very nutrition conscious.  They don’t over indulge in food.  They eat what they need, protein, etc.  Almost no one is overweight.

Today we played at the Dannenman Cultural Center.  It is located in a little town called Cochiera.  They have a local community band and a youth band.  In Brazil they talk about seven ares.  The arts are very important.  So they encourage their your to be involved in the arts.

We set up to play at Dannenman.  We started for the first 20 minutes or so.  When we challenged the



  1. motorcycle taxis? sounds fun yet dangerous. =] and I can’t believe that people joined the army just because their drummer was shot.

  2. wow Everything sounds so different over there. I would definatly be very scared to drive over there!!!! I really like that everybody is so close and its nice to know that there isnt much trouble goin on there.

  3. Eeek. The traffic sounds scary! How many accidents are there? And the thing about the drug lords doesn’t sound like it should be right…drug lords=no crime? That’s opposite of what we’re told in the US. Interesting. I also enjoy how respected music seems to be there

  4. whoops. “some of THAT”

  5. Some of the sounds like you were trying to write a poem. still, sounds awesome though

  6. Dang…..Salvador really sounds like a place that respects its musicians. I wouldn’t mind going down there with a few of my friends from camps’ past and play with the locals. I would like to hear in video how the performance at the Dannenman turned out.

  7. Sounds like a fascinating experience.

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