Back in 2001, after having tasked myself with the project of setting down in writing for others (the music came later) observations with respect to a place (very) few outsiders had even heard of, let alone knew anything about beyond maybe Carnival, beaches and Pelourinho (the Centro Histórico)…and putting this writing online, I faced a second daunting task: coming up with a name for this project.
I’d heard about America Online, well monkey see monkey do: how about “Bahia Online”? Why then though, not “Salvador Online”?
Because…Salvador is a small subset of Bahia, and my interest (here) beyond anything else is Bahia’s kinetically kaleidoscopic culture.
Beyond this, “Bahia” is — as I harp on elsewhere in this site — the traditional popular name for the city of Salvador, still sometimes used in the villages of the Bahian interior — is “Bahia”.
Beyond that, “Bahia” is a muted explosion followed by a sigh. It’s a sonic poem in one word. “Salvador” — “Saviour” — is almost a travesty when used to describe a place where many of the people brought to its shores after its founding were worked to death.
So we’ve got bahia-online… Everybody then was dot com. That was the rage! Why not me? Because first of all it was already taken. It still is. Gotta use another domain suffix then…
Org? Sounds like a group of people with offices in a building. Not me for sure.
I was a fan of a website called deltablues.net, run and written by a guy named Junior Dougherty. Junior, with his long, white ponytail, would drive his big ol’ bluesmobile around Mississippi and hang out in juke joints and talk to people and write about these places and the people in them. His site was a fascinating window into a part of vintage americana (the reality-deniers would deny the americanness of this I’m sure) that is just about gone.
Junior is gone now too, or has moved on, and his website as well. It continues to live on though in that Heaven called archive.org (The Wayback Machine) at https://archive.is/j8cMd.
“Net”. Junior made it cool for me, and nets are very big in Bahian culture too. There’s something called puxada de rede…”net pulling” here, where a big net has been cast into the ocean close to the shore and groups of men pull together to bring in the catch, while singing. They still do it.
And there you have it!