Nils Roeller on Thu, 12 Feb 1998 10:48:39 +0100 (MET)

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<nettime> Carnival and gift economy

Michael Jackson - the black who tries to have white skin and Spike Lee who
propagates a film asthetic adapted to black skin and thinking - Mister
blackwhite and Mister black-black promoted together a group called Olodum.
Olodum is a tribe of nearly 800 persons. Their  drumming and singing
encourages black selfesteem creating with rhythm an industry and a gift
economy in Salvador, Bahia: the town of Afro-american culture in Brasil -
called Black Rome. Nearly two million inhabitants, 80% disemployment, 84%
of the disemployed are black.

Salvador has colonial baroque churches and a history of cruel torturing
slavery (remember the anecdote of a female black servant with bright white
teeth, that were broken out because her white lady was jealous about the
white clearness in the black face). In the antique center of Bahia - in
Pelourrinho - blacks have tortured in public. Until the 19Eighties this
part of the city was a dirty destroyed hole, then a group of whores, poor
intelectuals founded a blocco for the carnival and made their rehearsel in
old building. This was a starting point for the restructing of the old
barroque city, which is now supported by the Unesco.

Olodum continue their rehearsals in Pelourinho. Every sunday a stage is
build, here 30 drummers and 2 singers create a hot atmosphere. Every sunday
ambulant traders earn a bit more money selling to the crowd beer and
Coca-Cola or stealing. Strong presence of MP (Military Police) tries to
prevent the robbery and protect white tourists. Tuesday is the day of
tourist economy. Here tickets have to be paid.

In Bahia Olodum is the most frequented social event for the black, because
of the free concerts on sunday, they attract more people from the black
community: Those who cannot afford to buy tickets for football matches.
Costs for tickets cannot be afforded by the majority  living from beans and
farina in houses without current water. Disemployment is about 80% and 84%
of this are black unemployed people.- During the rehearsals songs are
presented that deal with political issues that Oldum chooses as a their
carnival theme. So when songs about blacks in Egypt or Madagasgar and Cuba
were played people receive a basic instruction. Topics are integrated in
the songs that help to cover issues asked at school and university.
Olodum is against all racism and violence, women are part of the group and
also not--blacks.

Links to sites of afro-american interest check are offered (Be patient some
are portuguese).

Nils Roeller
Accademy of Media Arts
Peter-Welter-Platz 2
50676 Cologne
0049 - 221 - 20189-  226
Fax : 17

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