July 31, 2005

Sorry, I haven´t been updating my blog for a while. Like some of you have been suspecting I have just been really, really busy. I finally managed to turn in my MA, and after I recovered from that I realized that I don´t actually have that much time left in which to pull together my research here. I still only have 3 interviews. I do have 5 more scheduled, but as expected when you don´t have that much time something else always comes up, and you have to postpone things. I´m starting to notice how busy Candomble can keep people. Something comes up - a spiritual problem with an irma de santo (someone who belongs to the same temple as you), the spirits request a ceremony or your pai or mae de santo (head of the temple) simply needs you to go and help out clean the temple - and you will have to leave everything else and go and spend several days at the temple.
But I feel I´m still doing pretty good with the research. I started a Yoruba language course for Candomble people. It is difficult, yoruba is a tonal language, so what looks like the same word can actually mean completely different thing depending on the tone. But it is great, I´ve met some new Candomble people, and learned to understand a little Candomble talk too. So many people in the Candomble community use words in yoruba in the speech that I have been having a hard time keeping up with conversations.
But it hasnt been all work. The weather has finally been getting better, and I´ve actually gone to the beach a couple of times, and the international capoeira event of my group is coming up a week from now so a lot of my capoeira friends have been coming into town in the past week, so we´ve spending a lot of time just hanging out, going out in the evenings and playing as well as talking capoeira.

July 14, 2005

It´s raining again and it feels cold. But I´n sure it does me good to stay home for a change and sit in front of my computer. I finally got down to working on my thesis again yesterday, and I hope I will get it done in the next week. I am really excited about working on it, but there would be so much else to do too. But I´m trying to do my best balancing my time between writing at home and doing some anthropological fieldwork as well. So far I have two interviews under my belt and three more scheduled for the coming week. And there´s another Candomble ceremony coming up this weekend. It will be held at a teeny temple in Liberdade. I hear the place always packs up, because the ceremonies there are always so beautiful. And this one will be for the goddess of beauty and vanity, Oxum. I´m looking forward to it!
But for now, I´m off to do some capoeira. It feels so good to be training again here. I am feeling my body in a different way again after having spent the last year in the library, sweet aching pains in my muscles that tell me I´m getting strong. And my game seems to be improving too.

July 07, 2005

I´m off to do my first interview just now and I´m pretty excited. Lady luck seems to be smiling at me this time around doing fieldwork. I made friends with a guy who is initiated into Candomble and works at the umbrella organization for all the temples in the area at the Candomble ceremony I went to two weeks ago. Since then he has been of great help to me introducing me to people and even taking me to a Caboclo ceremony (the one´s I´m writing my MA on) last Sunday in the periphery of Salvador. And now he has agreed to let me try out my interview questions on him.
Last Saturday was the Independence day of Bahia that is celebrated to commemorate the expulsion of Portuguese troups from here in 1833. The streets filled with people wearing the colors of the Brazilian flag - blue, green and yellow - and a huge procession led by the Caboclo and Cabocla, an Indian couple, understood as representing Brazilianness in its most authentic form.
The celebration of the Caboclos continued in the Candomble temples in the evening as well as the next day. The ceremony I went to on Saturday night, led by an articulate Caboclo spirit dressed in an enormous feather headdress, who manifested in the temple´s main priest, was probably the most luxurious Candomble ceremony I have been to yet, and quite a contrast to the humble ceremony I went to in a small temple the next day, but the songs the spirits sang and messages they were transmittin to their followers were still pretty much the same, and to my delight confirmed many of the ideas I had been unsure of in my thesis (Now I just have to get my final draft in for the thesis, and soon).

July 01, 2005

It´s been a pretty busy week. I´ve been to a Candomble ceremony for Xango, danced forro at another concert of my friends´ band, done some capoeira and met up with most of my friends from last year. It warms my heart to realize how many people still remember me and are happy to see me again. But don´t worry I´m not just partying and hanging out with friends here. I started both a Candomble percussion and a dance course this week, and they are really hard. The first drumming class I was so hopeless that I wasn´t even allowed to play the drum. Instead the teacher gave me an agogo (a metal bell like the one played in capoeira, for those of you who don´t know) to strike the rhythm on. But yesterday, I did much better. I got most of the rhythms on a drum and even managed to sing some of the Yoruba-language songs that are supposed to be sung along with the drumming.
It has been great and I am feeling happy amd excited about being here.
Here are some pictures from my friends' gig last Sunday. There band is called "Eruditos". As soon as I figure out to transform my recordings into MP3s I´ll put some music on too.

Oh, I finally managed to get myself a cellphone. So, if you feel like calling or SMSing me, send me an email and I´ll send you the number.