Inspired by the insurrection of the Mohammedan black slaves in Bahia (the revolt of the Malês in 1835), the Afro-Bloco the Malê Debalê (which is the iorubá for "happy Mohammedan slaves") were the first to parade with a sophisticated Afro-dance section featuring 300 male and female dancers. In the '90s, the Bloco added a brass section to their drum section with the musical direction of Cícero Antônio (leader of the African jazz band Agbeokuta). Malê's headquarters are in the mythic Praia de Itapoã, immortalized by Vinícius de Moraes in the homonymous song, and also by Dorival Caymmi, being today a big and indigent borough of the city of Salvador. The Malê Debalê paraded for the first time in 1980, and their protector is the Oxum orixá. Together with other Afro-Blocos, the Malê Debalê represented one of the most important cultural sectors of Bahia. Their actuation is linked with the fight against racism and all of them have developed a social work of which trade schools are a part. One year after their foundation, internal political dissension led to a splitting; the Nigerokan were born, who have a strictly political activism.
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