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The Matrix began by connecting Bahia to Africa.



"Where there's misery, there's music!" —Afro-Indigenous Raymundo Sodré, first into the Matrix.

A Massa (do povo carente) / The Masses (of people in need)

A Massa (do povo carente) / The Masses (of people in need)
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I'm Sparrow, left below, with David Dye & Kim Junod for U.S. National Public Radio. The Matrix you are on was built here among some of the world's most powerfully moving music, some of it made by people barely known beyond village borders. Or in the case of Raymundo Sodré, his anthem A MASSA — a paean to Brazil's poor ("our pain is the pain of a timid boy, a calf stepped on...") — having blasted from every radio between the Amazon and Brazil's industrial south, before he was silenced. Years later, during a conversation ranging from the senzalas of Bahia to the wards of New Orleans to the South Side of Chicago to Harlem to the villages of Ireland and the shtetls of Eastern Europe... Sodré would remark "Where there's misery, there's music!" The latter is all interconnectable now.



The project was conceived in heavy history and built on surprising mathematics: I used the contract below, Bob Marley's first, co-signed by his aunt because he was under 21 — this is a copy I made of Clement Dodd's original — to retrieve unpaid royalties from CBS Records (now Sony Music). I retrieved money for Aretha Franklin, Gilberto Gil, Astrud Gilberto ("the Girl from Ipanema"), Airto Moreira, Led Zeppelin, Barbra Streisand, Mongo Santamaria, Philip Glass, Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam) and many others. Aretha screamed at me over the phone (it was a misunderstanding). Ex-Beatles/Rolling Stones manager Allen Klein called me out of the blue concerning royalties for the estate of Sam Cooke...



But what if Bob hadn't got out of Kingston. Or Aretha and Sam out of Chicago? Or Sodré out of backlands and favela (ghetto)? What if James Joyce hadn't been published by Gertrude Stein's Shakespeare & Company? They would have been just as great, but there would have been no way for the wider world to know. Earth brims with brilliant artists without planet-wide reach, including writers, filmmakers, painters, producers, fashion designers... In the Matrix, the mathematics of network theory works to situate all creators within accessible steps of each other, and all others. It's all closer than we imagine. All is discoverable. Where do your connections take the world?



Dear Sparrow: I am thrilled to receive your email! Thank you for including me in this wonderful matrix. — Susan Rogers (personal recording engineer for Prince; recorded "Purple Rain", "Around the World in a Day", "Parade", "Sign o' the Times"... recorded David Byrne and others, much else; now is director of the Berklee Music Perception and Cognition Laboratory)



Dear Sparrow, Many thanks for this – I am touched! — Julian Lloyd Webber (cellist; brother of Andrew Lloyd Webber (Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar, Cats, Phantom of the Opera...)



This is super impressive work ! Congratulations ! Thanks for including me :))) — Clarice Assad (pianist and composer; works performed by Yo Yo Ma and orchestras around the world)



Thanks, this is a brilliant idea!! — Alicia Svigals (world's premier klezmer violinist)



Thank you for your note below and we appreciate you including Kamasi in the matrix, Sparrow. — Banch Abegaze (manager: Kamasi Washington)



The Matrix uncoils from the Recôncavo of Bahia, final port-of-call for more enslaved human beings than any other such throughout all of human history and from where some of the most physically and spiritually uplifting music ever made (samba and its precursor chula, per the Saturno Brothers below) evolved. From here the culture bled into the backlands of Northeastern Brazil, the sertão, where it continued to metamorphose.



(Clip by Jorge Pacoa)

Connect to anybody in here. You appear on their page. Anybody in here connects to you, they appear on your page...

...plugged into a superpower: the small world phenomenon.

By the same mathematics positioning some 8 billion human beings within some 6 or so steps of each other, people in the Matrix tend to within close, accessible steps of everybody else inside the Matrix.

And by extension, to within discoverable reach of everybody everywhere on the planet.

A little bit about how the math works:





"The time has come for these bronzed people to show their worth..." (Music by Assis Valente, Clip by Betão Aguiar) The Matrix was built in Salvador's Centro Histórico, above. And includes artists above.


Brazil is not a European nation. It's not a North American nation. It's not an East Asian nation. It straddles — jungle and desert and dense urban centers — both the equator and the Tropic of Capricorn.

Brazil absorbed over ten times the number of enslaved Africans taken to the United States of America, and is a repository of African deities (and their music) now largely forgotten in their lands of origin.

Brazil was a refuge (of sorts) for Sephardim fleeing an Inquisition which followed them across the Atlantic (that unofficial symbol of Brazil's national music — the pandeiro — the hand drum in the opening scene above — was almost certainly brought to Brazil by these people).

Across the parched savannas of the interior of Brazil's culturally fecund nordeste/northeast, where wizard Hermeto Pascoal was born in Lagoa da Canoa (Lagoon of the Canoe) and raised in Olho d'Águia (Eye of the Eagle), much of Brazil's aboriginal population was absorbed into a caboclo/quilombola culture punctuated by the Star of David.

Three cultures — from three continents — running for their lives, their confluence forming an unprecedented fourth. Pandeirista on the roof.

Nowhere else but here. Brazil itself is a matrix.


Our internet "radio", made up of music from Cana Brava Records, was named one of "10 of the best music radio stations around the world".




The radio is here ↓


Our site, established in 2001 and with millions of accesses over the years, was the first online guide to Salvador & Bahia in English. It has morphed into and


The complete list will be found on the home page: