Founded as an African block of the carnival in Salvador in 1979, Olodum is currently a cultural group considered a non-governmental organization. After their first run in 1980’s carnival, the band acquired almost two thousand associates and began to talk about historic themes about African and Brazilian culture. The band’s first LP was called “Egito, Madagascar” and was recorded in 1987, and became famous with the song “Faraó, Divindade do Egito”. The idea of this LP was to honor the roots of the group and show to the country “Mamma Africa,” and to show, too, how the group was born (from the drums to the influences of African Gods).
Just after, Olodum started to be known in the entire world as an African-Brazilian percussive group and performed in Europe, Japan, and almost all of South America. In 1988, Simone recorded “Me ama mô” live, in Pelourinho, featuring Neguinho do Samba and Olodum (this record is in Simone’s album, Simone). In 1991, Olodum performed at Paul Simon’s Concert in the Park after they had worked on Simon’s 1990 album The Rhythm of the Saints.
One of the biggest moments for the group was in 1996, when they participated in the Michael Jackson song, “They Don’t Really Care About Us.” The media interest surrounding the music video exposed Olodum to 140 countries around the world. Parallel to the artistic success, the band takes part in social movements against racism and for civil and human rights.