Salvador on Brazil's north-eastern coast was the first capital of Portugal's new colony in the sixteenth century, until it surrendered that privilege to Rio de Janeiro in 1763 (it wasn't until 1960 that the plans to build a new capital in the centre of the country, Brasilia, came to fruition). But if this was once the entry point for European culture (and guns, germs and steel) into Brazil, today it is Salvador's African heritage, a product of three hundred years as a major slave port, that gives the city its distinctive flavour.
In particular, Salvador has developed a fusion of African, European and indigenous south American music known as Bahai (also the name of the region of which Salvador is the major city). While samba is the king of Rio's carnival, here Bahai dominates, spawning several world famous musicians from Gilberto Gil of the Tropacalia movement, to Caetano Veloso.
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