Friday, July 14, 2017

Information About Brazil's Axé Music & Three Videos Of Brazil's Ilê Aiyê Band

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post provides information about Brazil's Axé music and Bahia, Brazil's renown Ilê Aiyê Band.

Information about the meaning of the phrase "ilê aiyê is also included in this post.

In addition, this post showcases three YouTube examples of Ilê Aiyê along with selected comments from those videos.

The content of this post is presented for cultural, folkloric, linguistic, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to Brazil's Ilê Aiyê Band for their musical legacy and thanks to all those who are quoted in this post. Thanks also to the publishers of these examples on YouTube.

"Axé.... is a popular music genre originated in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil in the 1980s, fusing different Afro-Caribbean genres, such as marcha, reggae, and calypso. It also includes influences of Brazilian music such as frevo, forró and carixada. The word Axé comes from the Yoruba term às̩e̩, meaning “soul, light, spirit or good vibrations”.[1][2] Axé is also present in the Candomblé religion, as “the imagined spiritual power and energy bestowed upon practitioners by the pantheon of orixás”.[1]

Roots and History of Axé
Numerous different African cultures were brought to Brazil due to slavery, which lead to the creation of the vibrancy and complexity of Brazil and its culture. Therefore, several of Brazil’s popular music styles have derived from African cultures and African diasporic influences, including samba, lambada, funk and axé. There is a tendency by Brazilian musicians to draw inspiration and utilize themes, imagery and symbolic symbols from the Candomblé religion and its African roots.[1] Artists such as Gilberto Gil, Vinicius de Moraes, Caetano Veloso, Sergio Mendes, Daniela Mercury, Carlinhos Brown, among others, have all used African culture, religion and symbols as inspirations and lyrics of their songs.[1]

Axé was a fusion of African and Caribbean styles such as merengue, salsa and reggae, as well as being influenced by other Afro-Brazilian musical styles such as frevo and forró. Axé music was labeled in 1980s, but it was already noticeable in the 50s with the incorporation of the “guitarra baiana” (guitar from Bahia).[3] This genre was purely instrumental, and remained so until the 1970s, when Moraes Moreira (of the band Novos Baianos) went solo.

In 1974, carnival in Salvador, Bahia began taking shape. A group of Afro-Brazilians civil rights activists formed Ilê Aiyê, a music ensemble that derived their heavy rhythm from Candomblé’s religious ceremonies. Quickly, Ilê Aiyê gained a huge following, allowing them to influence other artists to incorporate the samba-reggae style and the heavy beats to their music.[3] Groups such as Timbalada, Olodum and Filhos de Gandhi also shared the heavy beats and rhythms with Ilê Aiyê, as well as utilizing African symbols such as typical outfits and instruments that all these bands use to perform. Olodum's rehearsals soon became a starting point for up and coming artists, composers, and music. In these rehearsals, artists presented and experimented with their music, in search for legitimacy from the population.[4]"...
"Axé" is written as " às̩e̩" in Yoruba, but is often given as "ashay" or "ashey" in English. These words are pronounced "ah-shay"

Click for information about Ase.

The Afro-Brazilian group Ilê Aiyê was founded in 1974 by Antônio Carlos “Vovô” and Apolônio de Jesus in the neighborhood of Liberdade, the largest black population area of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. The expression stems from Yoruba language (ilê - home; aiyê - life) from may also be interpreted as 'eternal heaven'.
Ilê Aiyê works to raise the consciousness of the Bahian black community. Persecuted by the police and the media during its first years, and still controversial for only allowing blacks to parade with the group, Ilê Aiyê is a renowned element of Bahia’s carnival. The group pioneered the type of carnival group known as the bloco afro, featuring themes from global black cultures and history, and celebrating the aesthetic beauty of black people. All other blocos afros borrow elements originally created by Ilê Aiyê, including such groups founded shortly afterwards, such as Olodum and Malê Debalê.[1]

During Bahian carnival, the group includes hundreds of musicians, dozens of dancers, and thousands of members. They traditionally begin their procession on the Saturday night of Carnaval at the home of the Dos Santos family, where for many years Mãe Hilda de Jitolu, the mother of co-founder Vovô presided as spiritual mother to the group and formal leader of a candomblé. As Ilê Aiyê passes, carnival crowds sing along by the thousands to songs about the importance of African and Afro-Brazilian culture and religion."...

Ayodele Ayetigbo , 9/5/96
"Ile Aye, by its Yoruba literary translation, means the house of the world. Yoruba people of Nigeria, Benin, Sierra-Leone and other countries along the coast of West Africa believe that Aye (world) is one kind of a giant market hall where each human visits to hawk or practise what he believes. At the end of this market activities, Yoruba religion says all humans then return to our original home - heaven (orun) to give account. It is thus said in Yoruba:"

Aye loja, orun ni'le

This means in English: The world is a market while heaven is home. We are all visitors to the world and must at the end return home.

Ile in Yoruba = house
Aye = the world

Ayetigbo - my last name, for a quintessence, means the world has heard. Yoruba believe there is literary and spiritual meanings to names and words. That Ayetigbo, as a character, practises a profession such as communication is therefore not surprising to a Yoruba scholar. The Yoruba carry no social security numbers or cards as practised here in the US. Your name tells all about you.

Ile Aye is significant to us cos that's the only playhouse we can grasp as living beings. The other world, that is, heaven - the real home - is way beyond our physical comprehension This can only be felt or imagined in dreams and other ritualistic engagements. The intrigues, lies, dysinformation, misinformation, thievery, slavery, racism, ethnocentrism and all other bad stuffs humans engage in while on earth, as in a market place, makes "Ile aye" all the more so significant to the followers of Yoruba religion. Yoruba as a religion is being practised in Brazil, Cuba, the US and other parts of the world where people trace their ancestry to the Yoruba of West Africa.
Enough and I hope I have been helpful."

Steve Enzer, 9/12/96
..."Not to try to contradict someone who obviously has much more information on the topic than this gringo does, I would just pass on that I do have a CD with a Clara Nunes recording of a song called Ilu Aye, which may or
may not be the same Yoruba phrase, translated (as the title of the song) as "Terra da Vida" - or "Land of Life."

I don't know how that fits in with the rest of the discussion, but I wanted to pass it on.

The recording, by the way, is the MPB disk from the series "Brasil: A Century Of Song" on Blue Jackel (sic) records, which is a great compilation if you happen to see it around. Picked it up last night and I've already played it 3 times... que saudades do Brasil!!!

Steve Enzer
More comments about the meaning of "Ile aye" can be found in this pancocojams post: Similarities & Differences Between The Yoruba Word "Aiye" ("Aye") And The American Word "Ayee". That post also features comments from the discussion thread of Nigerian Afrobeat artist Davido's 2014 YouTube video "Aye".

Example #1: Ilê Aiyê | Que Bloco É Esse?

Petrobras Published on Feb 8, 2012

Religião, fé, tradição e muito ritmo: o Ilê Aiyê é a cara da Bahia.

A Petrobras apresenta o primeiro mini-documentário do projeto ´Que Bloco É Esse?´, que conta um pouco da história do ´mais belo dos belos´.
Google translate from Portuguese to English

Religion, faith, tradition and a lot of rhythm: Ilê Aiyê is the face of Bahia.
Petrobras presents the first mini-documentary of the project 'Que Bloco É Esse?', Which tells a bit about the history of 'the most beautiful of the beautiful'.
Here are four comments from this video's discussion thread:
1. ticiadiasbrasil, 2012
"Antes eu queria ser invisível..., mas tudo mudou,... Foi tremendamente emocionante."

Muito lindo o que ela disse.
Hoje sou uma mulher negra, mas já fui uma menina. Uma menina negra que olhava para suas bonecas loiras e então desejava ser invisível. Eu sei como é se sentir assim. E fico muito feliz que existam iniciativas como estas do Ilê Aiyê que valorizam não só a beleza como também a história do povo negro.
Porque povo que não tem respeito pelo seu passado , não preza pelo seu futuro."
Google translate from Portuguese to English
"Before I wanted to be invisible ... but everything changed, ... It was tremendously exciting."

Very beautiful what she said.
Today I am a black woman, but I was a girl. A black girl who looked at her blond dolls and then wanted to be invisible. I know what it feels like to be like this. And I am very happy that there are initiatives like these of Ilê Aiyê that value not only the beauty but also the history of the black people.
Because people who have no respect for their past, do not cherish their future."

2. Kiki da Bahia, 2012
"Meus Deus qua saudade da Minha Grande Mãe Banda Aiyê cinto muita falta dela Hoje eu eu moro en Nova York mais cinto fala da minha familia Ile Aiye
Axe Atomico!!! familia Ile Aiye"
Google translate from Portuguese to English
'My God misses my Great Mother Banda Aiyê I miss her a lot Today I live in New York more belt speaks of my family Ile Aiye
Powerful Axé!!! Family Ile Aiye"

3. Gabriela Jonas Macedo Moreira, 2012
Google translate from Portuguese to English:

4. jantyla, 2013
"Gostei do depoimento do Crioulo. Legal o nível de consciência de autoestima que alcançou! Reparem no centramento de alguém que se reconhece, se aceita e se gosta por todo um contexto cultural que muita gente ainda não assimilou, nem compreendeu!"
Google translate from Portuguese to English:
"I liked the testimony of the Crioulo. Cool the level of self-esteem consciousness you've achieved! Look at the focus of someone who recognizes, accepts and enjoys a cultural context that many people have not yet assimilated or understood!"

Example #2: Ilê Aiyê - Alienação | Desfile | Que Bloco É Esse?

Petrobras Published on Feb 28, 2012
O Ilê Aiyê desfila pelas ruas de Salvador cantando a consciência negra desde 1975. Confira o clipe da música "Alienação", produzido pela Petrobras durante o desfile do 'mais belo dos belos' no Carnaval de 2012.

Vem descobrir junto com a gente que bloco é esse!

Quer conhecer mais sobre a história do Ilê Aiyê? Assista o mini-documentário:

Confira também o clipe do Ilê com o rapper Criolo:
Google translate from Portuguese to English:
"Ilê Aiyê parades through the streets of Salvador singing black consciousness since 1975. Check out the music video "Alienação", produced by Petrobras during the parade of the most beautiful of the beautiful in Carnival 2012.

Come find out with us what block this is!

Want to know more about Ilê Aiyê's history? Watch the mini-documentary:
Check out also Ilê's clip with rapolo Criolo:"

Example #3: Ilê Aiyê 'Depois Que O Ilê Passar' 'A Força do Ilê' Brasil 500 Anos

olbp Pinheiro Published on Apr 9, 2013
Selected comments from this video's discussion thread:
1. Silvia Cristina Serrao, 2014
"Amor ao ilê."
Google translate from Portuguese to English:
"Love to the ilê."

2. Wagner Wagner, 2016o
"Estou toda arrepiada, salve minha Bahia, salve u ilê, salve os orixas."
Google translate from Portuguese to English:
"I'm all shivering, save my Bahia, save my soul, save the orixas."
Here's some information about Brazilian orixas:
"Candomblé an Afro-American religious tradition, practiced mainly in Brazil[2] by the "povo do santo" (people of the saint). Candomblé officially originated in Salvador, Bahia at the beginning of the 19th century, when the first temple was founded. Although Candomblé is practiced primarily in Brazil, it is also practiced in other Latin American countries, including Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Venezuela, having as many as two million followers.[2][3]
Candomblé developed in a creolization of traditional Yoruba, Fon, and Bantu beliefs brought from West Africa by enslaved captives in the Portuguese Empire.[2] Between 1549 and 1888, the religion developed in Brazil, influenced by the knowledge of enslaved African priests who continued to teach their mythology, their culture, and language. In addition, Candomblé absorbed elements of Roman Catholicism and includes indigenous American traditions.[2]

As an oral tradition, it does not have holy scriptures.[2] Practitioners of Candomblé believe in a Supreme Creator called Oludumaré, who is served by lesser deities, which are called Orishas.[2][a] Every practitioner is believed to have their own tutelary orisha, which controls his or her destiny and acts as a protector.[2] Music and dance are important parts of Candomblé ceremonies, since the dances enable worshippers to become possessed by the orishas.[2] In the rituals, participants make offerings from the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms....

Candomblé is a polytheistic religion and worships a number of gods:[6]
the orishas of the Yoruba (Ketu nation), spelled Orixás in Portuguese;
the voduns of the Fon and Ewe (Jeje nation); and
the nkisis (minkisi) of the Kongo (Bantu nation).

These deities are believed to have been created by a supreme God, Olodumare[7] (called Zambi by the Kongo people; and Nana Buluku by the Fon people).[7] The orishas and similar figures form a link between the spiritual world and the world of humans.[7]"...

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