Salvador, summer 2024

Image: Leonardo Dourado
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By ÉRICO ANDRADE*

A trance in a sad Bahia

I get in the shuttle car towards the airport. Leaving Santo Antônio Além do Carmo, my eyes roam the historic city to embrace the praise of God, who played in the car at the necessary height of what needs to be shouted, with the image of yet another evangelical church. They, like my eyes, roam Salvador. Some are bigger than everything around them. After all, the God of evangelicals is greater than anything else. To immerse myself again in the fading Salvador, I put on the protective barrier of my headphones so I could listen in a trance. sex. I always preferred the sad Bahia of music.

In my trance, I slowly chewed on the experience of living Caetano and his gesture, both delicate and generous, of bringing to the stage his band's original composition, responsible for giving the trance its most intense musical format. Listened sex as if it were my home in Salvador, but in my immersion the image of black bodies selling beer, water and popcorn at the summer festival assaulted me. Some bodies were doing the trick, so praised by Lélia Gonzalez, and had fun to the sound of other black people who occupied the stages. On the other hand, black bodies that were also tired and reminded me that for them the year doesn't start after Carnival, but much before, in all the pre-Carnival parties there are those bodies working to the point of exhaustion.

Of course, so many black people circulated through the spaces enjoying a beautiful party, but when I think that Salvador is one of the blackest cities in Brazil, I realize what Patricia Hill Collins drew attention to with her concept of proportionality. The number of black people serving was inversely proportional to those who were just having fun. This dissimilarity hit me like a torpedo. Wouldn't Salvador be my refuge, my quilombo?

Several images of orixás tried to convince me that it was. From the entrance to the Abaeté lagoon to the circle that formed in another lagoon, to some images on billboards, everything was an invitation to ancestry. Even city hall propaganda. I realized, still under the influence of Caetano's sound, that all of this is commerce, “both business and businessman” where those who make the least profit are black people who at parties, when they are not serving, are collecting excess, typical of carnival or summer. , to maintain the resilience of what is recycled. And everything seems to be the same cycle in Bahia. It all comes back to where we started: exploration. No, I don't want this Bahia. I listened again sex, but something in me faded. Was it the image of Salvador disappearing “in the houses that saw me pass by on both sides of the window”?

The answer could and should be yes, but I remembered the image of that man, with mature hair and not so fair skin, who was approaching me to ask for the menu, announcing, with his order, my color, which is the color of Savior. Salvador, however, serves more than is served. We are so strong there, I thought I wanted to hold on to the hope of being in a more welcoming place than Recife. He remembered that Salvador is the Brazil that rarely elects black people to the majority and main position in the city. It was when the chorus played “It's a long way".

However, I shouldn't rhyme love and pain. So I live in philosophy. I should resign myself to my idyllic Salvador and to avoid falling into that pit I should listen to “Celly Campelo”. She thought. After all, what should accompany me was the color, the sun and the sea of ​​Bahia. So many beautiful things there! Yes, but as another song would say: “life is real and biased”. And the trap that my love for Salvador set for me was called contradiction.

*Erico Andrade is a psychoanalyst and professor of philosophy at the Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE). Book author Blackness without identity (n-1 editions) [https://amzn.to/3SZWiYS].


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