Vai-Vai was my first. In January of 2006, during my first trip to São Paulo, I became washed in the downpour of sound and energy that is the open-air rehearsal of the Vai-Vai Samba School. I fell in love with Brazil that night. With the cadences that were only two or three beats away from the black high school and college drumlines I grew up with. With the beautiful people – women and men – who sang and danced and invited anyone and everyone into their tight-knit community with a wink and a smile. With those same beautiful people who represented every age and color, trending heavily, of course, to the profound darker hues of the spectrum: black people from coal to cream, rehearsing for a Brazilian cultural institution as steeped in African ritual and interaction, maybe even more so, as any other in the Diaspora. Vai-Vai was my first, which is why you’ll find me carousing with her every Sunday from now til Carnival. She’s what brought me to Brazil.
“Meu Povo. Minha Gente. Minha Raça. Minha Escola.”
Video from this Sunday’s practice: