SALVADOR, MY HOMETOWN IN BRAZIL. THE BEST CARNIVAL.
Carnival in Salvador.
Axé music continues to dominate Carnival, together with samba-de-roda's greatly coarsified bastard offshoot, Bahian pagode, axé (ah-SHEY) music being a commercial pop grab bag hybrid of whatever, including American/European danceclub styles (named for the West African life force axé, combined with the English-language music, in a derogatory dig at its pretensions, the name catching on nevertheless). Television coverage of Carnival in Salvador is likewise dominated by the big commercial blocos, DVDs available after any Carnival in question undoubtedly (up to now, anyway) featuring the money bands. And in at least one respect a general good does come out of this: The commercial blocos provide work for any number of top-flight musicians who find such work in too-short supply during much of the rest of the year.