The Bembé do Mercado in Santa Amaro is Approaching…

The Bembé is a festival which takes place on and around the 13th of May in the market square of Santo Amaro, Bahia, an hour or so away by car from Salvador and at the north end of the Baía de Todos os Santos (Bay of All Saints).

The festa began in 1889, one year to the day after slavery was abolished in Brazil, when a pai-de-santo began to test the waters, so to speak, playing the rhythms of candomblé in public (more on this on our Festas page).

Beyond the candomblé there is a lot of local music, and magnificent João do Boi will play with his deepest-roots ensemble Samba Chula João do Boi at 11 p.m. on Friday, May 11th.

Born and raised in an area (the Bahian interior) where the poor of his generation had no schooling at all…but a master’s master of his powerful and historically important music.