A Real Baiana
Sweet Cocoa Dancer is a representation of many Baianas, a “group of elderly women the dance in circles in the Carnival parade in Rio de Janeiro. These women held the culture and traditions of our community with their beauty, novelty, endurance, vision, and grace.
After the slavery Emancipation in Brasil the black population had no other choice other than to move up with their families to the hills. The new communities such as a Catumbi, Gamboa, and Santo Cristo were thriving despite the poverty. Therefore, most black women in the community came forward to support their community.
They would host and gather musicians in a “sarau” – a cultural and musical event, in which people reunite to express themselves artistically. These old women would offer drinks and tasteful foods to composers and musicians. This magical environment would then naturally create the conditions for advancement of the first samba rhythms. The old women were much respected for their spiritual knowledge because their were descendants from African ethnic groups like the Nagô, Ioruba, Fula, Mina and Haussá.
Today in Bahia, Brazil, most street vendors who serve acaraje are women, easily recognizable by their all-white cotton dresses and headscarves and caps. The image of these women, often simply called baianas, frequently appears in artwork from Bahia.
In the Afro-Brazilian religions the women priests are the owners of the tradition, knowledge and culture and the ones responsible to pass it on to the new generations because there are no sacred written book