Woah, sorry I should have finished this a long time ago, whoops..
This post is a little dated, but essential nonetheless. Two weeks ago our mae asked Alec and I if we wanted to go to a concert put on by her friend's husband. Knowing little else beyond that Salvador is home to many different musical influences, we begrudgingly said yes despite wanting to spend Thursday night out with the group. What a pleasant and welcome surprise that gametime decision ended up being.
Our mae, Carla, swept us up and drove to Pelourinho, the Old City portion of Salvador. Through a convoluted maze of cobblestone streets we tried to follow our mae, not an easy task. After a couple of double-takes we caught up with her in front of a wrought-iron gate that seemed unassuming enough. We nodded at a bouncer and walked up some stone steps to where this small concert should have been.
And then we entered another world. A wave of music and motion crashed over us. I've tried a thousand times to think of a quick way to describe the scene and all I can come up with is that we were in a scene out of "Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights" (yeahh, they made a sequel). Bodies upon bodies all moving to intoxicating guitars and drums, as a singer belted out crowd favorites. We were quickly swept up in the mass and didn't stop dancing for over two hours.
When the dust finally settled we couldn't believe it. The band nailed it as everyone vibed to the funky Bahian fusion. Alec and I surprised ourselves really getting after it (even though our mae said we moved like "robos", robots). Our mae was even more surprising, looking at home on the dance floor. It sounds weird describing a mae like this, but she just seemed so happy and fluid out on the floor, it was really something to be seen, and contagious.
I really don't know how to express my appreciation to her for taking us into her world voluntarily and showing us something so authentically Bahian. She went out of her way to open our eyes and give us a broader perspective of a diverse (both societally and culturally) people and saved us from falling into the all-too-easy tourist trap of the bar scene down by the water. It was really something that I'll never forget.