February 22, 2018

Gilberto Gil & Jorge Ben - Filhos De Gandhi (V4YS Afoxé Edit)

Released in 1975 as part of Jorge Ben & Gilberto Gil duo album Jorge & Gil, this song evokes the legendary Carnaval bloco from Salvador de Bahia, the Filhos De Gandhy, whose history is a great snapshot of Brazil social and cultural roots.

In 1951, following authoritarian Brazilian authorities challenge of some important social welfare benefiting Bahia's port workers, a group of the city's dockers led the opposition, chosing Mahatma Gandhi's famous non-violent approach.
Unfolding during carnival time, their demonstrations were met with a large popular success, so much that they decided to cement their group through a cultural and spiritual association: a carnival bloco. The Filhos De Gandhy (with an "y", I don't know why), were born.

 Today it's one of the oldest and largest blocos in the country with more than 10 000 members. Their white outfit and turban is easily recognizable, and the legend says it gives men wearing it a certain sex-appeal with women :)

Bahia's strong African legacy is also very much present in the Filhos's songs and chants, often written in Nigerian Yoruba language, while also influenced by African animist religion Candoblé (also known in Brasil as Afoxé). Born in Salvador and occasionally partying with the group, Gilberto Gil wrote this 13 minutes-long song, probably as a direct tribute to the Filhos.

Here is my drummed-up and shortened Dj-friendly edit of it.

P.S.: the photo artwork dates back from 1946/48. It was taken in Bahia by late French photographer and enthnologist Pierre Verger, who dedicated his life studying the links between West Africa and Brasil, notably the Candomblé religion. His work as a photographer is simply stunning, I urge you to google it if you enjoy photo as an art, and Brasil & its people in particular.

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