Dona Anna is an old school sambadeira, or samba player. She has spun her skirt and her voice among the best in the samba de roda, a local style of samba music of the Recôncavo Baiano. These days her body asks for silence and the expensive medicine needed to recover from a stroke.
This does not prevent her, however, from gathering kids for the Children’s Samba de Roda of Saubara in her living room, seated on wooden stumps carved and painted with flowers.
One boy shows up, enters, she offers him a tambourine, he accepts and leaves to call another one who lives in the next street over. Another one shows up and sits without needing invitation, then the girl who plays cymbal walks in, gets up to find the key that opens the door to the instrument room, and in this way music gets made under the gaze of Dona Anna and David’s attentive camera.
The percussion of the hands of these children combines with their absent-minded gaze and smiling songs.
These boys and girls between 7 and 14 years of age are open to the music, the rhythm and the culture that circulates freely among them.
They keep playing until an adult reminds them that today is Wednesday and it’s time for them to go home for lunch because they have school later.
In truth, I think it’s the school that should come here to Dona Anna’s living room and partake in this samba and this culture that goes beyond books and blackboards.
Text and photos: Renata Meirelles