Meet Marcus Ba

Meet Marcus Ba, artist, painter, musician, Gemini, capoeirista, and home cook. He has been living in Itacaré since he was one year old. His family followed his talented grandmother here.
Marcus, what is your first memory of Itacaré?
A place with really good energy but there was havoc in the streets, on Pituba actually. The police were destroying people’s homes … mainly poor people … forcing them out. This was twenty-eight years ago, I was five. The locals shared everything. Conflicts existed but it was always peaceful in the end.

Itacaré has been exploited greatly. The town itself wasn’t ready for this type of exploitation and growth. The mentality of the people who arrived was totally opposite of the people indigenous to the land. People were living off the land and the ocean. Life was easy and free back then. I also remember the beautiful beaches and playing with my friends.

After this response, I knew I was in for an enlightening afternoon.
How long have you been painting and playing music?
I used to make my own instruments to play at home when I was a little boy. Then I joined my cousin’s percussion group called Filhos de Jah. And drawing and painting has been a constant. So all of my life … I have been making art since I was able.
marcus_filhosdejah marcus_boothMarcus’ cousin is Zé Rasta who currently lives on the border of Rio de Contas not far from Itacaré. 

Are you a Rastafarian?
No, I’m not a Rasta in the religious sense but I have compassion for Rastafarianism. I also have great respect for nature and my body.

Describe Itacaré.

A place beautiful for its nature, the quality of life it offers, and the people who live here.
marcus_paintingsIf you could visit any place in the world, where would you go?
South Africa because I think it’s closest to the culture here in Bahia. Ethiopia because it’s the birthplace of humanity. And Canada because I suspect they have a good quality of life.

What makes you happy Marcus?
Freedom (liberdade). When you are free inside you can do anything.

Where do you live and with whom?
I live in Porto Atrais, just outside of Itacaré center on Rua Novo Brasilia. I live with my family. My mother has been here most of her life. My whole family is respected and loved. My mom is a genuine spirit, very pure. She and I have a spiritual connection.

I can vouch for Marcus, his family is adorable. After a brief chat in front of his booth at the Artesano center, we walked to his house and he prepared the most yummy lunch. Then I met his mother, sister, brother, and his adorable nephew. His family runs a little store in the front of their home while Marcus paints away the day and plays music whenever possible.
marcus_comidaAfter lunch, we randomly stopped by a neighbor’s house. Marcus walked in, picked up an electric guitar, and started jamming with two guys who had been practicing. They were clearly impressed by his musical prowess — as was I.
What I admire most about Marcus is his committed to his art. He has been suporting himself solely on his art for the past 12 years. He lives truthfully and trusts in nature every step of the way. Most of his paintings incorporate waves, plants, trees, the ocean, and scenes from the local culture. I usually visit Marcus at his booth at night and practice my Portuguese while he practices his English. He is currently studying at Easy 2 Speak, the local English school.

Watch out for bikins in the water!

By: Bella Papadopoulou.

With so many beautiful beaches and good surf breaks, it would be impossible not wanting to take a board and get out there. Although surfing is dominated by male surfers, Itacaré has quite a few girls that are ready to prove the contrary!

Young Marianna Padilha can´t keep herself out of the water for too long and she is participating in regional surf competitions all year around. She caught her first wave three years ago in Barra Grande and have been in love with everything that has to do with surfing ever since.

Tiririca is Marianas favorite wave

”I feel anxious when I am competing! But then, all the girls talk and joke with each other just to break this feeling and start having fun riding the waves” Marianna says.

Australian Cassie Bordin started surfing about 5 months ago when she first came to Itacaré and claims her biggest challenge to be: her own stubbornness to succeed.

”I soon realised that surfing is mostly out of your control as it is up to various natural elements and not only your own capabilities. It´s about what mother nature gives you on the day” Cassie says.

Cassie likes to surf Enegoncha but is slowly starting to like Tiririca more

Coming from a town close to Byron Bay, which is also one of Australia’s most famous surf breaks, she has gotten many questions of why she waited with surfing until she came to Brazil.

”It is something I always wanted to do but I guess it was never the right time for it. Here in Itacaré I finally had the time that surfing requires plus the waves are not as strong as they are back home. Also Itacaré has a big selection of beaches and breaks for all levels and skilltypes” she says.

Having lived in Itacaré for over 10 years, Jane Morais is considered a local surfer by now – and with 12 years of surfing in her resume – a pretty good one! What kept her motivated for so many years was the feeling of being totally calm and focused in the water.

”The sea for me is a place where I can connect to the nature, relax and forget about everything” she says.

Jane is a surf instructor at "Easydrop" surf school

She now works as a surf instructor and what she finds most rewarding is to see her student’s progress and excitement.

”Everyone that starts surfing has their own barriers and fears and seeing my students surpass those fears and limits is what is most rewarding for me as a surf instructor she says.

Although this is changing, surfing is still dominated by male surfers and is something that can make girls hesitate wether they should try it or not. Being a good example her self, Jane explains that ”surf is about dedication and practice so anyone that is determined to surf can do so!”.

Katia Pitta, a surfer girl of 6 years, thinks that surfing is a great way of keeping your body in a good shape while still having loads of fun. Although she adores to be in the water catching waves, she loves the time after surfing even more, when you feel so tired and content.

Katia Pitta stared off surfing in Engenocha and it is still her favorite spot today

Nayane Rosetti is from Sao Paolo but left those breaks in order to surf the Bahian spots. Having surfed for almost 10 years, the days of trying to stand up on the board seem far away. Yet her tip to all beginner surfer girls is to start out with a proper board that allows you to have fun and stand up easily.

Nayane´s favorite wave is Tiririca

”When I was a beginner the perfect board for me was an Evolution board because it is very stable and easy to paddle on” she says.

Today Nayane and all the other girls keep enjoying the surf in Itacaré and have loads of fun both in and outside of the water.

ART made with love by KAU

By KalaLea.

When Kau first arrived in Itacaré eighteen years ago, there were no supermarkets, no resorts and only one bar called Bar do Senior Santana in town. Born in Bella Horizonte in the state of Minas Gerais, Kau was 33 years old when she hopped off the bus with her (now) husband. Her first memory of Itacaré was the smell of the ocean and the abundance of nature. She immediately regretted putting this trip off for months and fell in love at first sight.
A budding English speaker, Kau and I met in one of my English classes at Casarão Amarelo. After class she invited me to her shop and upon entering I knew I had to write about this sweet, happy and talented artist. Take note, there are no shortage of artists in Itacaré but Kau is one of the brightest stars in the bunch.
kau_portraitWhen asked what inspires her, she gave me a warm smile and said, “colors inspire me to create. I particularly love the many colors of beads (micangas)”. Before coming to Itacaré, Kau lived for three months in Morro de Sau Paulo living only off of selling her bead work.

Kau`s Art Boutique is a warm and colorful little shop on the main road aka Pituba. One of her specialties is fuxico, a brilliant way to use leftover pieces of fabric that may otherwise be thrown away. The word comes from the word “fuxicar” which means to gossip which is exactly what the women who worked in this artform did when sitting around a large table.

kau_shopWhere did you stay when you first came to Itacaré?
I came with my husband to Gravatar Pousada and every night during the week I would sell my artwork in the front.

When did you open your shop?
I opened my first store in 1998 and everything I sold was made with my own hands. Then in 2004, I opened this shop on Pituba. I don`t have the time to make everything any more but I do what I can.
Itacaré has changed a great deal over the last 18 years, has it changed for the better or worse?
It depends on how one sees things, I think it has changed for the better but it`s not as peaceful — especially during the summer or high season.

What is your favorite restuarant in Itacaré?
Encanto de Artes for their pasta dishes (massas).

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
I have only traveled around some parts of Brazil and Argentina; however, I would still say Itacaré. It is my Port Seguro (safe haven). There is something special about this place, a strong pulling and positive energy.

What type of music do you like and name your favorite artists.
Musica Popular Brasileira (MPB) and Rock
1) Geraldo Azevedo 2) My favorite song is Bobby McGee by Janis Joplin.

If you had one wish, what would it be?
My wish would be not to lose my inspiration nor my health so that I can always create which makes me feel happy and complete.

Kau`s Art is open every day. In addition to fuxico and fitas de cetim (bracelets), Kau makes and sells tee shirts, handbags, home decorations and much much more. And don`t forget to check the promotion basket for special deals.

10 must-know phrases for Itacaré

By: Bella Papadopoulou.

1. Aí sim (Oh Yeah).
This is probably the most used phrase in Itacaré. It is used in order to encourage a good situation and is a also a way for people to share excitement and success. If you catch a good wave or pop open a cold beer in the summer heat there is nothing better than hearing a simple yet so great ”Ai sim”!

2. Boas ondas/Altas ondas (Good/High waves).
For anyone in search of good waves: Itacaré delivers! It’s no surprise that the town’s character is partly shaped around it. When walking to the beach with your surfboard under your arm, people passing by will most likely say this to you, along with a big smile.

3. Vamos nessa galera (Let´s go everybody).

Your days of solitude are over! Itacaré is a big family and you are welcome to be a part of it. If the language is indeed a mirror of the culture then the fact that the word ”we” is referred to as ”a galera” (meaning ”the gang”) says it all.

4. To ligado (I got it/I understand).
Also a very common thing to say here and it is used to give your friends a heads up that you are on the same page. “To ligado” can be used as question and statement: practical!

5. Bahian time.
Oh yeah, this phrase is just perfect and should be enforced everywhere in the world. If anyone hustles or stresses you , turn around and simply say ”I’m on Bahian time”.

6. Mais uma (One more).

Imagine being on the beach on a hot summer day and your cold beverage is all gone. Is there a better thing to say then ”mais uma” in that situation? I don’t think so!

7. E ai beleza (Hey, all beautiful/amazing/great).
The perfect greeting phrase. Why stick to a regular ”hello” when you can ask someone if everything is going beautifully? In Itacaré it almost always is, so the answer to this would be ”Beleza pura” (meaning ”pure beautifulness”)!

8. Bora (Let´s go/Let´s do it).
Don´t wait around, don´t hesitate, don´t think twice… Bora!

9. Show de bola (Everything is awesome).
It is not enough to say that things are good around here, they are ”show de bola”, a fun expression to say that certainly ups the atmosphere.

10. ”Bota fé” (You can believe it).
Sometimes it’s hard to believe that things are for real here. It can almost seem like too good to be true. In a place with such beautiful nature, great waves, cool music or a gripping moonrise sometimes just that someone tells you ”Bota fé”!

Jorge Amado’s birthday celebrated in Bahia.

By: Bella Papadopoulou.

The big celebration weekend made the memory of what would have been award winning writer Jorge Amado’s 100th birthday more vivid than ever.

Beloved Bahian author Jorge Leal Amado de Faria, would have turned a century if he was still alive on the 10th of August and there was a big celebration in his honor throughout the entire weekend.

One of the many attractions were Caetano Velosos free public concert in Ilhéus that many Itacarenses happily attended.

Jorge Amado is one of the most famous writers of the modernist school and his work has been translated into over 50 languages and some even made into films such as “Dona Flor e seus dois maridos”.

Jorge was born in a village called Ferradas, close to Itabuna which at that time belonged to the district of Ilhéus. This is why he always referred to himself as a citizen of Ilhéus.

He published his first novel at the age of 18 in 1931 called “O país do carnaval” and in 1933 he increased his popularity with the publication of his second novel “Cacau”.

One of the reasons that his books gained such big recognition was due to the social issues that he raised through his stories. In the large cocoa plantation, Jorge saw the misery and the struggles of the people working the land and how they were living in slave conditions. All of this is very present in his work especially in his book called “Terras do Sem Fim” from 1944.

This was also why Jorge had to confront the political system. His leftist activities made it difficult for him under the regime of Getúlio Vargas. In 1935 he was arrested for the first time, and two years later his books were publicly burned. His work was banned from Portugal as well, but in the rest of Europe he gained great popularity, especially with the publication of “Jubiabá”.

Top 10 of Itacaré

By: Bella Papadopoulou.

1. Nature. Every where you turn in Itacaré can feel like you’re in a tropical forest. That’s because you are! The town is built inside the rich Atlantic Rainforest and there are many untouched paths to explore in order to get the ultimate feeling of man against wild.

2. Hang-out at Tiririca. Tiririca beach is a great place to spend your day. With a forest covered hill  behind you and the ocean in front,nothing else is needed in order to feel good. Lay in a hammock, have an ice cold beer and listen to some cool music. It would be difficult to achieve something other than pure happiness.

3. Nightlife. This is the time to shine! Itacaré guarantees that anyone, regardless of age or background, will have a blast. After a relaxed day at the beach you can spend your energy on the dance floor and as long as the party-spirit is flowing, the choices are endless.

4. Beaches. The problem here is not the lack of beautiful beaches but to pick one to go to! Each one is more breathtaking than the other. Choose between beach-hang or surf. All of them include white sand, palm trees and hammocks.

5. People-watch at Pituba. Admit it, you like to people-watch. Everyone does! And there is not a better place to do that then the main street of Itacaré called ”Pituba”. A long cobblestoned street leading towards the town center with bars, cafeterias and shops along both sides. Sit down at one of the paddios, order a cappuccino and be inspired by the various types of  people that will pass you by.

6. Surf. Here there is a break for everyone from the courageous big rider to the paddle puss that only stays in the whitewater. Try to catch a barell at Tiririca or learn how to stand up at Engenocha beach.

7. Watch the full moon at Resende. A full moon rise is always a spectacuar thing to see. Be sure to watch on the beach of Resende where everyone gathers, makes bonfires, practices yoga and plays various instruments.

8. Capoeira on the beach. When in Bahia, one must try the traditional martial art, Capoeira. Go all the way and do it on the beach while the sun is setting and the heat of the day is cooling down. The combination of the sound of the traditional instrument ”Berimbau” and the breaking of the waves, will blow your mind away!

9. Acarajé at Praca dos Cachorros. You haven’t eaten Acarajé until you´ve eaten it at this little kiosk in the central square of town. Cheap and delicious!

10. Paddle to Pontal. Pontal is a beach break across from the central bay and on the other end of the river mouth.Surfing there can be a great experience, but even more fun then the surf itself is the paddle over to the peak. Cross the flat sea in the bay and paddle out into the open ocean.