Wednesday, June 29, 2022

My Love Affair with Samba...

Baiana from Salvador

"'She came from Bahia, from centuries of dancing and sorrow…' Even that long-ago day in a darkened theater—the first time I heard samba—I knew there was no first time. My ears recognized the whispered words, my mouth tasted the sadness behind the joy, and my feet moved to the rhythm."

My love affair with samba began in that darkened theater years ago, and like all long love affairs, it sparked mysteries, surprises, and discoveries. Music of resistance, music for lovers, sensuous and hushed, it speaks in a whisper louder than a shout. It has been the soundtrack of my life: I've written, dreamed, danced to its rhythm. 

No one expressed the multitude of voices of samba more than the "Little Poet," Vinícius de Moraes. 

Vinícius de Moraes

Vinícius was my introduction to samba, and I knew that one day I'd need to travel to Brazil, and in particular, to Bahia, where samba was born-- and where he wrote some of his most influential music. The voyage itself was transcendent and transformative, as was the experience of writing an essay about it.

                                                   Baden Powell (l) and Vinícius de Moraes (r)

"A Mouthful of Sadness: Listening to Vinícius in Bahia" came out today in Off Assignment, and I'd like to share it with you. An interview follows the piece. Please follow the link:

I'd love to know what you think, and if you've experienced similar voyages-- through the mind and the world-- that resulted in unexpected revelations. 


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