Born Margareth Menezes da Purificação, on October 13, 1962, in Boa Viagem, the Peninsula region of Itapagipe in Salvador. She is an internationally known, award-winning Brazilian pop star, but her music genre is predominantly the axé, samba-reggae, and samba-funk music of Bahia. From an early age, Menezes was surrounded by music, through her family’s love for it, and in her teens she began performing in the trios elétricos in Bahia’s Carnaval. In 1985, at the age of 21, she won the Troféu Caymmi for the Best Female Performer of Bahia, and she would win it again in the 1990s along with the Troféu Imprensa. Four years later, she recorded her first solo album dedicated to Bahian grooves. Her second album, Elegibô (Uma Historia de Ifá), stayed in first place for 11 weeks on the American charts in the World Music category. It was also awarded by Billboard magazine and Rolling Stone magazine appointed the album as one of the five best in the world in the same category. Other big hits include Me Abraça e Me Beija and Kindala. She is credited and appreciated for bringing the music of Bahia to the world.
Carnaval in Bahia (Carnaval Baiano) is one of the biggest street parties in the world. Every year this carnival brings over 2 million people from all races, religions, and cultures together to its capital city, Salvador. The event lasts officially for six full days, starting on a Thursday, then follows the usual five days of carnival (from Friday to Wednesday at noon). The festival takes place throughout the city at many sites. The most famous being the Campo Grande track (in the upper part of the city), Barra-Ondina track (by the shore), and Pelourinho (the historical neighborhood). It features many different rhythms and several musical performances. The most traditional presentations are the trio elétrico parades (trucks or buses carrying musicians, instruments, and sound systems), and Afro-blocos playing samba-reggae rhythms. Estimations state that approximately 2.5 million people (1.5 million being tourists) participate in the festivities every year.
Watch members of Batala Mundo play in the bloco for Cortejo Afro in Salvador at Carnaval de 2012.