Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Samba de Caquente

On the western edge of Cachoeira along the riverbank is the clubhouse for the Caquente crew, painted in sky and haint blue. That deep haint blue is a sacred color. We found it all over Nawlins & Savannah. It is present throughout the French Caribbean. And now here. Hmmm.

Their pad was feeling like a juke. The wooden floor smelled like dried suds. The walls, plastered with homey images of past performances, icons and bad lighting. The crew, about a dozen people appeared to be 20ish to early thirties; one or two looked fifty. A few had their children in tow. The women, friendly, were a bit robust, some wearing “Baby Look” tight blouses. The men, toned and welcoming, smiled lovingly as we entered. The Germans had already set up some of their equipment. The room had been reconfigured to create the space for playing and dancing, Samba de Roda.

I stayed off to the side, engaging a young girl, Jaclyn (Jak-leenie), 7 years old. She immediately took to my camera wanting to shoot images of her Dad, the tambour player. She had a good eye, so we shared it. When the music started in earnest, I took full possession. The sound was sweet and lovely. I knew why I needed to be back here. The air was fresh and sweet coming off of the river. Their music gave me a shit eating grin for hours even though I was tired, hungry and still nursed some flu-ie feelings. Hours later, when I was falling asleep on the patio in a light drizzle, Francisca suggested that her pal, ‘Nita take me back to the apartment to settle in. Walking the cobblestone streets after one AM, exhausted but content, I knew I was home. Blocks passed quickly. Before I realized it, we were in the house and she was making my indoor-camping bed. Snoozeville, here I come…..

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