Project Didá
(see photos)

Since the mid 1990s the Didá School of Music has been developing for, and delivering to, the women and children of Salvador, Bahia programs promoting music, culture, participation in family life, responsibility to society and academics. Didá pursues these programs on both professional and pre-professional levels in the historic district of Pelourinho in Salvador, which is the soul-center of Afro-Brazilian cultural expression.

Didá is dedicated to improving the condition of women and children through constructive social engagement revolving around a core of music and dance classes offered at the Didá educational center. In recent months Didá has continued to expand it's offerings, and it's dream to serve an ever increasing number of those who live on the margins of existence. Maestre Neguinho do Samba and the Didá staff believe in the need to incorporate the family, the community and the public schools in it's efforts to ensure that all students are well served.

Didá has also devoted itself to providing professional opportunities for young women to express themselves culturally. This commitment culminated in release of the first Dida female percussion band CD in April of 1999. As of this writing, banda feminina Didá was the only Afro- Brazilian percussion ensemble composed of only women. This group celebrates Afro-Brazilian culture and promotes Afro-Brazilian cultural awareness by performing at high profile events throughout Brazil.

The Didá school of music is a non-profit organization that offers training to women and children in music and dance, focusing on traditional local styles such as Afoxé drumming, Afro- Brazilian dance and the Brazilian martial art form known as capoeira. Didá hopes to expand it's curriculum to also emphasize on visual arts. Didá offers it's classes, and participation in the performing arts, free of charge to women and children from poor districts in Salvador. These groups have historically been denied widespread participation and professional training related to cultural expression.

Maestre Neguinho do Samba, whom Brazilian music super star has referred to as the "god of percussion" is, along with Carlinhos, Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso and others, one of the true pioneers of Brazilian music. Neguinho who has become reknown throughout Brazil for his innovative percussion based expressions learned to tap out rhythms on his mother's wash tub. He directed the Afoxé drum corps Olodum on Paul Simon's The Rhythm of the Saints, and used his share of the proceeds to purchase the building in Pelourinho where Projeto Didá is now located.

In 1990, and again in 1992, Neguinho traveled to New York and California where he conducted a series of Afoxé drumming workshops for public school children. He has also traveled to Haiti and lusophone Africa conducting similar workshops, has been publicly recognized by the mayor of Tokyo and twice been visited by the President and First Lady of the United States.


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