Bahia    The African Heartbeat of Brazil

It is a typical, languid evening in the Brazilian countryside. The heaven is full of stars, twinkling in anticipation of the narrow sliver of the waxing moon. People saunter the streets, stopping outside the homes of acquaintances and clapping their hands:  “Hello, anyone home?” They usually are; where else would they be? The last boat to the mainland is long gone and the neighbouring village Morro de São Paulo can only be reached by low tide. We are in the village of Gamboa, on the Brazilian island of Tinharé, just south of the city of Salvador on the coast of the state of Bahia. The crickets chirp, the dogs make a last hopeful tour of the garbage piles. Villagers exchange the island news: Ronaldo has a new motor on his fishing boat, Lourdes’ daughter is going to marry a boy from Valença. TV screens flicker through the open doors and windows of most houses, trembling with the love, deception, beautiful women and macho cowboys of the daily series ‘The Cattle King’. 

Text by Lieke Noorman