Founded in 1974, the Afro-Brazilian group, Ile Aiye was founded by Antonio Carlos and Apolonio de Jesus in Bahia to raise the consciousness of their local community. Ile Aiyes literally means home life in Yoruba but may also be thought of as meaning ‘eternal heaven’. It began as a sometimes persecuted carnival group featuring global black culture and history in a celebration of the beauty of black people. As such, it came to influence all other blocos afro groups.
During carnival, the group expands to include thousands who become its musicians, dancers and members. The traditional process begins on Saturday night at Carnaval at the home of the Dos Santos family. The carnival crowds sing along in songs about African and Afro-Brazilian culture and religion.
Ordinary street corners become polyrhythmic dance floors. As Caminho echoes a rare confluence of ancient and modern inspiration, the basic beats and chants draw from the traditions of Africa. These draw from centuries old Candomble as the specific rhythms call to specific deities for assistance. This is particularly profound as soloist singers and ensembles enter into a call and response that carries these traditions while slipping in exchanges about current politics and neighborhood conditions. Ritual mantras join in the concerns of present day.
Canto Negro 4 – 25 Anos can be heard in its entirety here: