By Alexandra Alden, Contributing Reporter
SALVADOR – Rio may have been thrown into a frenzy over the upcoming World Cup, but on Wednesday April 21st, that fever also hit Salvador. Brazilian pop singer Jammil and his band Uma Noites teamed up with Bahian percussion group Olodum to film the video for one of Brazil’s potential World Cup 2010 songs on the colorful streets of Largo do Pelhourinho.
Chosen as one of twelve host cities for the Brazil World Cup 2014, the city, already a favorite stop for cruise ships, will become an even hotter tourist destination in the coming years. As such Salvador is investing in improving its infrastructure, updating its stadium, and of course publicizing itself to the world.
Serving as the backdrop for the video, Largo do Pelhourinho in the Pelhourinho neighborhood is known for its brightly colored buildings and colonial architecture. Also a protected UNESCO world heritage site and an integral part of Brazil’s rich cultural history, the Largo already graces the front of many a postcard and would be further embedded in the nation’s hearts if Brazil were to win the World Cup with “Haja Coração” as their song.
“Haja Coração” (loosely translated as ‘Have Heart’) was written by Manno Goés, Tennynson Del Rei and Paulo Vascon, celebrating football and Brazilian-ness with the chorus chant “Brasileiro, Brasileiro”, and given a particularly Bahian twist with Jammil’s voice and the hypnotising beats of Olodum.
Founded in 1979, Olodum is the percussion group credited with creating the ‘samba reggae’ genre of music and celebrate Afro-Brazilian culture at their annual Carnival bloco. The group strives to set a good example for black communities and promote equality in Brazil as a whole, and received worldwide exposure in the video for Michael Jackson’s ‘They Don’t Really Care About Us’.
On April 21st, the Largo do Pelhourino square was completely transformed as crowds dressed in Brazilian colors occupied the balconies holding flags from Japan, Spain, Argentina, Italy, the U.S. and, of course, South Africa. As with the Michael Jackson video, scores of locals crowded in to get a glimpse of the action and were soon involved themselves, dancing and singing as impromptu ‘extras’.
The video also featured ‘Troupe Dance’ group whom performed specially choreographed moves complete with mimed football actions. The graceful dancers all suitably dressed in green and yellow ended up mingling with one lucky group of American students who stumbled across the set and were also soon involved in the action.
In the afternoon Jammil and Uma Noites arrived and joined Olodum onstage, the band raising their gigantic drums in the air single-handed and tossing their drumsticks to each other across the stage in another feat of stunning choreography to wow the crowds.
In the early evening the shooting wrapped up and the production, which involved over 300 people throughout the day, dispersed as if nothing had ever happened, the square reverting to its tranquil, postcard beauty. “Haja Coração” with its Bahian backdrop and stirring sentiment is set to be released in Brazil in May, a little over a month before the World Cup 2010 kicks off.