Nestled on the Northern coast of Brazil, the quaint rural town of Santo Amaro looks like it belongs in another era. With sun baked streets, cobblestone roads and ice cream-colored Victorian architecture, this town is as picturesque as it is significant. Beyond the crowds of friendly people and bustling outdoor market, you’ll find the home of musical icon Caetano Veloso as well as the House of Samba Museum.
In the middle of town, you’ll find the childhood home of the poet of Salvador, Brazilian superstar Caetano Veloso and if you’re lucky, you’ll be escorted to the white washed house to meet his 100-year-old mother, who remains the village matriarch. A lyrical genius and political activist, as one of the leaders of the Tropicalismo movement with Gilberto Gil in the 60s, Veloso blended rock, jazz and Brazilian folk music with densely political lyrics. His family remains highly influential in Santo Amaro and the rest of Brazil.
Learn even more about Brazilian music at the House of Samba, a sprawling museum, studio and performance space. I always thought that samba was music but I discovered that it’s also dance, ritual and so much more. Exhibits of samba instruments, altars and dances explained that rural, folk versions of samba is very different from what you hear in Rio and that it’s traditionally performed in the sand. Stop by the museum gift shop to grab some classic samba CDs and them head to the outdoor Santo Amaro marketplace, where besides homemade hooch, you can sample fresh cashew juice as well as tasty coxinha which is battered and fried balls of seasoned chicken.
Photos courtesy of Rosalind Cummings-Yeates