About Salvador

Brazil has the biggest black population of any country outside Nigeria.

Over 10 million African slaves were shipped to Brazil, six times more than to the United States.

Slaves were prohibited from practising their own faiths. To avoid persecution they gave Catholic names and figures to all their African gods, giving birth to the Afro-Brazilian religion of candomblé.

Riachâo sings and dances on table The rhythm Brazil is best known for, is samba. So who better to talk to about its origins than Riachão, the original sambista? Every great Brazilian musician has worked with him: Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Chico Buarque among others. Now in his eighties, Riachão is famous for improvising love songs. He's a crooner, a terrible flirt and he believes that samba has its roots in candomblé.

Listen

sample
  • ALEX:  De onde vem a música samba, quais são as raízes?

     
  • RIACHÃO:   Raízes? É que o Brasil nasceu na Bahia. Então pra aqui veio os portugueses e os africanos. E os africanos trouxeram o seus exus na senzala.

     
  • ALEX:   Qual é o ritmo do candomblé? Me mostra como se vira samba.

     
  • RIACHÃO:   Daí - (CANDOMBLÉ DRUMMING) E daqui.(SAMBA DRUMMING) Você vê a diferença.

     
  • ALEX:  Mas é diferente. Mas é parecido.

     
  • RIACHÃO:   Parecido.

     
  • ALEX:   É, um criou o outro.

     
  • RIACHÃO:  (CANDOMBLÉ DRUMMING) Da doom doom doom. Da doom doom doom. O povo dançando no salão do candomblé. E o samba (SAMBA DRUMMING) (SINGS) "Já lhe disse meu bom camarada / você todo invocado não posso negar / sua bochecha é de bom tamanho / você tem um corpo estranho como eu nunca vi/ Só vou sair daqui, quando você bochecha grande / resolver sair dai." Você vê a coisa como é, diferente, mas todo mundo gostoso.

     

Next  The secret power of Brazilian footballers

Map of Brazil

Map of Brazil

Click on the map to access each area

Wallpapers

Download mesmerising pictures from some of Brazil's most famous photographers as wallpaper for your computer desktop.

Open/close

Video Course

Talk Portuguese

Online video course to learn Portuguese

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.