This site gives a good explanation of the changes that have made the carnaval now a completely comercial affair, almost without samba and certainly without any good dance music. It happens that the move to electric music on board a car and then a lorry, coincides with the month of my birth, so it is interesting to see how people seem to expect the Carnaval to be all electric and all advertising, either self promotion of the main pop bands or that of beer companies, both of which have made their names on the back of the changes in the traditional
Here is the article taken direct from the site.
On January 29th
"[...] Almost the entire city went to see the parade on Avenida Sête. [...] I was there in the crowd, jumping and dancing behind them and next to them. It was pretty crazy, everybody was dancing. [...] It was then when i said to Dodô: Dodô, lets go out and play this kind of music. I already knew some of the songs. Compositions by Nelson Ferreira and Capiba, Frevo Rasgado", that kind of thing. The main theme is still played today, you know the one [sings the tune "Vassourinhas"]. This was when we set up the "Fobica", using a Ford '29."
O. Macêdo, 1995 apud PAULAFREITAS (2005)
The ensuing events are of great importance in the history of Bahian Carnival: Osmar's retired Ford '29, used to haul metal parts for his workshop, was transformed into a moving stage, in order to enable Dodô and Osmar to perform brass band Frevo tunes with their exotic pau elétricos during the upcoming festivities. Equipped with a 2 kW generator, decorated with carnivalesque motives and speakers mounted on front and rear, the musical Ford, nicknamed Fobica ("road hog"), entered the scene around 4 pm on Carnival Sunday, prime time. Backed by 6 percussionists and Osmars' father in law Armando Mereiles Costa dressed as a Hula dancer, it entered
"..we messed up the corso, for we were followed by a compact crowd of people, jumping around and having fun like you'd never seen it in
O. Macêdo, 1978 apud GÓES (1982)
This was the first time that popular carnival, usually restricted to backstreets and surburbs, had succesfully taken over the space of the offical celebrations which, although public, remained reserved for the activities of the Bahian elites. In hindsight, the parade of the Vassourinhas orchestra had served as a full dress rehearsal for the triumphant ride of the Fobica a few days later, including the enthusiatic reception of Frevo music by the entire city, the particular tunes, and the crowd that spontaneously followed the music around in a jumping dancing style. The episode had left everyone with their jaws down - including Dodô and Osmar - and marked the birth of both of a new musical genre (Frevo do Trio aka Frevo Novo aka Frevo Baiano) and a new form of celebrating carnival in Bahia, soon to be known as Trio Elétrico.
In the following year, Dodô and Osmar replaced their Fobica with a Chrysler Fargo pick up truck and added a third electric instrument to their set up: a triolim or tenor guitar, played by their friend Temístocles Aragão. Consequently, their name changed from Dupla Elétrica to Trio Elétrico. In the next year, they were back on a lorry featuring 8 speakers, flourescent lights and generators, sponsored by the local soft drink producer Fratelli Vita . By the mid 1950s, when other bands had copied the concept, the term Trio Elétrico became generic.
"... a Bahian industrial by the name of Miguel Vita noticed that the Trio Elétrico had great advertising potential. [...] From thereon, the thing started growing, and other Trios appeared on pick up trucks, with lights and speakers everywhere. These people all played instruments that Dodô had built for them, since you couldn't buy them anywhere as you can today. There were at least 3 other bands then: "5 Irmãos", "Ipiranga", and "Conjunto Âtlas" [...] People would start to say 'Here comes the Trio Elétrico' when they saw these blinking vehicles playing frevo music. Eventually, the term would refer not just to our band, but to all these bands ...." O. MACÊDO 1978 apud GÓES (1982)
The years to come brought a landslide of vans, buses and trucks transformed into moving band stands, with an ever increasing sophistication in size, sound and decoration. Today, 60 years later, the old Ford'29 of the first Trio Elétrico evolved into the brontosaur sized road trains Bahian carnival has become so famous for: Mobile concert halls carrying 200 db (!) amplification on all four sides, a 25 piece band plus dancers stomping away on their roofs, very large crowds of people partying all around them and scientific articles published on the long term effects of exposure to their sound. The Pau Elétrico/Guitarra Baiana can take credit for having been among the principal raisons-de-être of these machines - which are still referred to as Trios.
When Dodô and Osmar withdrew from performing in 1960, the tradition was
firmly established and continued to grow in in the hands of other trios, most notably the Trio Tapajós, organized by Orlando Campos
since the second half of the 1950s.