Salvador, Bahia in Enchanted & Benighted Brazil

Iconic Salvador & Environs

Salvador and Bahia — by virtue of the enormous weight of history they bear — are more than the sum of their qualities: a tropical climate, beaches, festivals (although Salvador’s Carnival is another thing altogether), fascinating local customs and sites, food, history, music, dance…here these are pulled, stirred, hefted, and ultimately borne by powerful and profoundly moving cultural currents.

If nothing else we hope to impart to you, unknown friend, some wan reflection of what makes up what is, in spite of vast travails and only by virtue of the beyond-resilient people here — past and present — one of the most enchanted places on earth.

Our Menu / Table of Contents, found at the TOP and BOTTOM of every page herein, includes:

Rua das Portas do Carmo, in Salvador's Centro Histórico
Rua das Portas do Carmo, in Salvador’s Centro Histórico

We took BBC/Lonely Planet Magazine through Carnival here in Salvador, and BBC Radio 3 World Routes (Lucy Duran) to the Recôncavo village of São Braz for samba de roda.

We took France Inter (French National Public Radio) in the person of Giv Anquetil to Santo Amaro, Bahia for the Bembé do Mercado candomblé festival.

We produced a show of samba chula here in Salvador for and were interviewed by David Dye of World Café for broadcast on U.S. National Public Radio.

We’d be happy to take you through Salvador’s Centro Histórico for a couple of hours or so, pointing things out and explaining things. Or should you care we can go farther afield, into the Recôncavo. Amongst much more, the town of Cachoeira is a beautiful and fascinating place. Let us know! More on tours here!

Dorival Caymmi - Largo do Pelourinho - Salvador, Bahia, Brazil
Nobody sang Salvador and Bahia like Dorival Caymmi, here climbing the Largo do Pelourinho (in the direction of — a hundred or so meters up — Salvador Bahia Online’s headquarters-as-record shop devoted to authentic Brazilian music)…

This is Not an Ordinary City Guide

We were the first online guide to Salvador, beginning as Bahia Online in 2001, morphing into Salvador Central (though to be truthful we preferred and prefer “Bahia”: for centuries the popular name for the city of Salvador, carrying much heavier ethereal cargo and pronounced like a sighing soul)…and then Salvador Bahia Online. Now we are back to our original domain (, although including “Salvador”* in our title: SALVADOR BAHIA ONLINE: —

*People tend to search for “salvador” more than “bahia”…

We are based here in Salvador, in the Centro Histórico.

Cana Brava Records in Salvador, Bahia
Our headquarters is a record shop devoted to authentic Brazilian music.

We’re Preparing to Sell Brazilian Music Online!

Why not? We have a record shop devoted to samba-de-roda and samba chula and samba and choro and afoxé and candomblé. We have extremely rare music that nobody else has. We have music that is not on Spotify and not on iTunes and not on Pandora (and I guess not on Deezer; I couldn’t be bothered to sign up)…

One thing we do here in the shop is rip from out-of-print LPs and burn to CDs*. This means that rare music here is replenishable. Were we simply to sell an LP and then that was that… we might find another in a week, a month, 6 months…never. A couple of good examples of what I’m talking about are Afros e Afoxés da Bahia and Os Tincoãs. Amazing records, very in demand in our small (but makin’ shakin’) world. Doing it our way the music is always here to be discovered.

*I started doing this after it became almost impossible to have the type of record shop I’d envisioned and had had. Brazilian gravadoras (record companies) were discontinuing the manufacture of what I wanted in here. They’re in business to make money, and this music wasn’t doing that (we’re extremely proud of our small community though). My alternative was rip, or close**.

**Or produce my own records, or to be more accurate, those of the artists I love, respect and want to support and divulge. More about this will follow…

In our Cana Brava Records: Deepest roots samba-de roda group Raízes de Acupe!