Cover story February 96

Rio's follies

If you haven't been in Brazil during Carnaval then you don't
know Brazil. If you haven't been touched by the
energy of a "samba school" then you don't know Rio.
Come with us. You will learn a little about the Brazilian soul
watching Brazilians getting into a trance during
this Dionysian week-long celebration.

Alessandra Dalevi

"After Carnaval we will talk," "We can't do anything before Carnaval," "Can't you wait just until Carnaval?," "I know you from another Carnaval". In Brazil, these phrases are repeated by leaders, businessmen, students and the people in the streets. Every year is the same thing. The year doesn't seem to start before Carnaval which happens in the days preceding Lent. In 1996 Ash Wednesday, the day when the revelry stops, is February 21.

Rivaled only by soccer, with every passing year this popular celebration has stretched from just a two-day part to one of several days. By and large, the folia (merry making) now starts on Friday guaranteeing 5.5 days of parties (nobody goes to work before Wednesday noon). In some areas, however, the whole week preceding Shrovetide has been taken by Carnaval festivities.

The government has learned to deal with the phenomenon and the latest economic plans instituted in Brazil have all happened around or just after Carnaval. One of them was even called "Carnaval Plan". Then there was the Summer Plan, the Cruzado Plan, the Collor Plan. The present economic program, the Real Plan, was also implemented in the weeks preceding Carnaval. Critics have said that the purpose is to introduce the changes during a time when people are anesthetized and more interested in which costume they are going to wear than how much money they are going to get.

According to some more productive minds, Brazil can ill afford to stop the country for a whole week every year while the escolas de samba (samba schools), trios elétricos (musical trucks), and blocos (dance groups) take over the streets bringing the traffic to a halt. After all, besides more traditional holidays like Christmas, Labor Day and Independence Day, in Brazil there are also national states and cities add their own no-work days holidays: April 21 (Tiradentes a martyr of independence), Holy Friday, Corpus Christi, October 12 (Nossa Senhora Aparecida, Brazil's patroness), November 2 (Finados - Day of the Dead). Not too long ago, Saint Joseph, Saint John, Saint Peter, all had their national holidays.

There isn't much to complain about, however. Besides boosting the people's moral to unbelievable highs, Carnaval is also a money-making machine. The festivities bring more than half a million tourists from all over the world to Rio, Salvador (Bahia), and Recife and Olinda (Pernambuco) the main showcases of the pagan feast. At least 50,000 of them are foreigners. During Carnaval the occupation rate of hotels in Rio is around 98%. Carnaval heats up the domestic economy causing a frenetic search for plane tickets, hotel rooms, special clothing, confetti, ballroom rentals, beer and condoms. Booze and promiscuity, however, don't tell the whole story. Rio's escolas de samba for example guarantee a year-round job to thousands of artists, craftsmen, seamsters. All in preparation of 90 minutes of ecstasy on the avenue.

The so-called barracões (warehouses) where all these people work have an average of 80 employees. The money to pay them come from Liesa (Liga Independente das Escolas de Samba - Samba Schools' Independente League), an entity created in 1988. Until then the escolas depended on handouts from the authorities and bicheiros (rich drug dealers and bookmakers) who still have their say-so over the schools management. Today Liesa makes money, which is divided among its members, charging for TV rights, tickets sales for the parade and publicity. Tickets for rehearsals and consumption of beer in the clubs complement the budget. As soon as the Carnaval parade ends and the hangover passes, people start to recycle their old clothes and floats and begin to plan for the next Carnaval show.

The first Carnaval celebrations were brought from Portugal in the shape of entrudo (Lent's entry). It was a very aggressive practice in which people would throw at each other the so-called limões-de-cheiro (odorous lemons - paraffin or rubber balls filled with perfume, water and sometimes very suspect liquids).

In 1604, the police banned the entrudo. The heavy play often ended up in bruises for the participants and there have been even some cases of death. Until the end of the last century Carnaval balls in Rio were emceed by police officers. They announced the beginning and the end of the party and made sure people wouldn't smoke or scream during the ball.

At the start of this century the illegal entrudo was still being practiced and Rio's mayor Pereira Passos made an appeal to the teachers so they would tell their students about the prohibition. Passos suggested that people were encouraged to use lança-perfume (perfume squirter - a metallic bottle with perfume ether) to play Carnaval. The product, which also was used to get highs, would be banned in the 60s by President Jânio Quadros.

Entrudo has finally disappeared from the big centers, but it still can be seen in some small towns such as Cruz Alta in Rio Grande do Sul. The practice of throwing things at each other never stopped, however. Nowadays people almost invariably bring a good stock of gentler confetti and serpentina (colorful paper streamer) to the Carnaval parties. Rio's commerce started to sell Carnaval masks and costumes by the 1830s. Newspaper ads from those times offered "ladies' breasts for men who want to dress like women."

It was only after the Republic's installation in 1889 that the more modern Carnaval practices started to bloom. Carnaval groups such as cordões, sociedades carnavalescas, blocos, corsos and ranchos were all born at the beginning of the century. Ô Abre Alas (Open the Rows) composed in 1899 by gifted musician and women's right leader Chiquinha Gonzaga was the first song made to be sung and danced to on Carnaval. That would start a tradition that has much contributed to the development of samba, marcha and other rhythms enjoyed by Carnaval revelers.

All over the country Carnaval owes a lot to blacks. It was natural that they dominated the festivities in Bahia and the Northeast since they are majority in these areas. But the escolas de samba, born in Rio and copied by almost every other region in Brazil, were also created by black people and only recently have been crashed by socialites and other white artists and personalities.

With slavery abolition in 1888, the city of Rio de Janeiro found itself with two classes of blacks: the ones who had a job and were able to continue living in town, and the unemployed ones who went to adjacent hills looking for a place to pitch their tent or shack and live. The two communities, however, continued linked by their love of music and dance.

While the town blacks went to the weekend balls given in their communities by the tias baianas (aunts from Bahia), the hills' blacks used to promote dancing parties at the foothills. The police ended up prohibiting these revelries under the pretext that they always ended up in fights.

Determined to show authorities that they could be trusted as much as the tias, the blacks from Estácio, a neighborhood from the São Carlos hill, formed in 1928 the first escola de samba, the Deixa Falar (Let Them Talk) which would become later the Estácio de Sá. The name school given to the group was just a little prank due to the fact that the Carnaval enthusiasts used to get together in a building across the street from an elementary school.

The second escola, Estação Primeira da Mangueira (Mangueira's First Station) would appear one year later. Composed by several other blocos from the Mangueira neighborhood the school would become in the years ahead the most traditional and representative of all of Rio's escolas de samba. Renowned composer Cartola was one of its founders. But only in 1935, after the creation of Portela, another heavyweight of Carnaval, the samba schools started to gain some respectability. It was during dictator Getúlio Vargas's first administration that Rio's the city was then the federal capital desfiles (parades) became official.

At that time, the open-air show moved from Praça Onze's narrow confines to the wide downtown avenues. Only in 1984 would Rio create at Marquês de Sapucaí avenue a definite place for the desfiles with the building of the Passarela do Samba (Samba Walkway) which is better known as Sambódromo. Designed by Brasília's architect Oscar Niemeyer, the site is a half-a-mile pathway with a square at the end called Praça da Apoteose and concrete stands on both sides able to hold close to 100,000 spectators.

Nowadays the escolas de samba parade, which happens on the Sunday and Monday preceding Ash Wednesday, can be called the "greatest show on earth" and it won't be any hype as the one used by American circuses. There are 18 major samba schools who belong to the so-called Group A and parade on Monday. The richest ones like Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel and Imperatriz Leopoldinense can spend $1 million to stage their yearly show. Smaller ones like Império Serrano spend a minimum of $250,000.

Together they put more than 60,000 dancing and sweating bodies on the streets some escolas have more than 5,000 members during a spectacle that lasts 12 hours and is seen by 100,000 people at the Sambódromo, hundreds of thousands on the streets and by millions more on live TV. They are judged by a panel of experts who give points to several items including costumes, originality and rhythm. Every year the two schools with the lowest points are demoted to group B while the best from that group have a chance to compete in the special group the ensuing year.

Escolas de samba are divided in alas (groups) for the presentation before the jury. A big school can have as much as 70 alas with an average of 80 participants in each one of them. That means more than 5,000 people. The comissão de frente (front commission) is an ala always present. It has the most important members of the school and frequently it also has some pretty model or actress. This group opens the parade. The mestre sala (master of ceremonies) and the porta-estandarte (flag bearer) follow them. They are a couple who won this position on the parade for their extreme ability in sambaing the Carnaval. The floats (carros alegóricos) come in between the alas and bring the so-called destaques, men and women wearing luxurious clothes and feathers, but often times covered by little more than a cache-sex and body paint.

Before an escola de samba ever venture on the Avenue it has to choose a theme, it's the samba enredo (samba plot) which must deal with a national matter or even international if it is a popular subject. By October each escola has already chosen their favorite among several songs composed to be the plot. Well before Carnaval, all the sambas enredo from group A are reunited into an album which sell more than a million copies every year.

The carnavalesco every school has its own , a kind of art director, is the one who chooses the enredo and takes care of all the details so that the final product is true to his conception. He has been accused of commercializing and eliminating the popular roots of the escolas. Others, however, think that thanks to him the escolas have professionalized and were able to survive and prosper.

Even those who have had a chance to look frequently and up-close at the escolas de samba desfiles will be waiting with anticipation for the next parade. Despite all the public rehearsals, every escola keeps always something in secret until it's revealed during the show in the streets. It can be a sound effect, a special choreography or even a whole float. Portela, for example, introduces every year new special effects for its symbol, the eagle. Beija-flor is becoming famous for holding out on its always mysterious candelabra.

Using the enredo Ratos e Urubus, larguem minha fantasia, (Rats and Buzzards, leave my costume (or fantasy) alone) controversial carnavalesco Joãozinho Trinta planned a surprise showing of Christ as a beggar in 1989. The news leaked and Rio's archbishop went to the Justice "to prevent the sacrilege." The Christ has never shown his face but was nonetheless the sensation of that year. Joãozinho Trinta's Jesus, came to the streets covered with a black plastic bag and the sign: "Even banned, look for us."

Naked bodies and the exposure of women's breasts have become a tradition during the desfiles, even though the show is seen by children in the streets and at home on TV. But in 1989 incensed by model Enoly Lara's no-parts covered apparition, which was taken as a provocation, the Liga Independente das Escolas de Samba decided to ban "disrobed genitalia." That same year Joãozinho Trinta used his enredo Todo Mundo Nasceu Nu (Everybody Was Born Naked) to show dancer Jorge Lafond stark-naked on a float's top. For some, keeping clothes on during the parade seems something impossible. Gorgeous model Luma de Oliveira, for example, threw her elaborated bra on the streets during her 1987 appearance alleging discomfort. The public loved it and months later she was starring on TV Globo's prime-time novela (soap opera).

Despite some cleaning-up in the last few years, Rio's drug lords (bicheiros) continue to be the main benefactors of the escolas de samba. That they haven't lost the grip on their "schools" was very patent recently when Luizinho Drumond, a well-known bicheiro gave the order that the escola de samba Imperatriz Leopoldina shouldn't spare any money to try and win the Carnaval parade for the third consecutive year. How much they are going to be spending, however, is a state secret.

Bicheiro Drumond, who has been a Maecenas for Imperatriz, is in prison serving a six-year sentence, but he continues to do all this business from jail. Several other bicheiros also behind bars are doing the same. It's even expected that Luisinho will get a special authorization February 19 to watch the parade from the Sambódromo's bleachers.

For the first time, Imperatriz Leopoldinense will be paying homage to princess Carolina Josefa Leopoldina, daughter of all-powerful Autria's emperor Francis I, and the woman after whom the escola was named. To be truthful to history, carnavalesca Rosa Magalhães traveled to Vienna to complement her research on Carolina's life. The enredo Leopoldina, Imperatriz do Brasil (Leopoldina, Empress of Brazil) will show Leopoldina's life from her childhood in Austria to her wedding with Brazil's emperor Dom Pedro I. There will be nine carros alegóricos (floats) to tell the whole story. The most luxurious one will probably be float number 7 in which the princess, then 19, is received by the Brazilian court upon her arrival in Rio.

Rio's escolas de samba parade has become the main showcase for TV artists and models interested in getting a jump start on their careers. Anything goes in this effort to be noticed: flirts, little or no clothing, and physical fight when everything else fails. It was during last Carnaval that model and call girl Lilian Ramos became famous after pictures of her with then President Itamar Franco were published worldwide showing her most intimate secrets. Ramos scandalized the nation wearing nothing more than a T-shirt, which revealed her pantyless anatomy every time she raised her arms to dance. She was the first one to defy the genitalia ban from 89.

Carioca Valéria Valenssa has become a top-model after being spotted by Globo TV in 1992 rehearsing for the parade on her Caprichosos de Pilares escola de samba. Three years ago models Andréa Guerra and Denise Lima slapped each other to guarantee a place on the main float of Acadêmicos do Grande Rio, a smaller school which has been calling attention because its main female dancers usually show up topless. Says Babi Fontoura, an agency Ford model: "To get a contract during Carnaval you don't have to talk to anybody. All you have to do is to be seen and to cause a good impression.

Rio's official parade has also a special place for the blocos, groups less organized than the escolas which have between 200 and 500 people. They can be blocos de enredo (theme groups) or blocos de empolgação (excitement groups). Three of the blocos de empolgação became legendary and are considered hors-concours. They are Bafo da Onça (Jaguar's Breath), Boêmios do Irajá (Irajá's Bohemians) and Cacique de Ramos (Ramos Chief). Among the best known blocos de enredo there are the Bafo de Bode (Goat's Breath) and Quem Fala de Nós Não Sabe o que Diz (Whoever Talks About Us Doesn't Know What He Says).

Carnaval has also been a fertile soil for popular songs. Tunes from the 30s, 40s, and 50s are still among the most popular during the Carnaval season. They are almost invariably very easy to remember: vibrant, short and repetitive. Often they are also very irreverent and it seems there is no taboo they can't break. The news and history have given much inspiration to gifted composers like Lamartine Babo, whose História do Brasil from 1934 is still very popular. The lyrics, which talk about Indians, feijoada (Brazil's typical dish), and Rio, start with: "Quem foi que inventou o Brasil? / Foi seu Cabral / Foi seu Cabral / No dia 21 de abril / Dois meses depois do Carnaval." (Who was the one who invented Brazil? / It was Mr. Cabral / It was Mr. Cabral / On April 21 / Two months after Carnaval). Lamartine was also the one who celebrated the arrival of the hot-dog mania in Brazil in his 1928 marcha Cachorro Quente: Comer cachorro quente lá no bar / por certo a moda vai pegar / por não ser vulgar (To eat hot-dog in the bar / for sure the fashion is going to catch on / since it's not vulgar).

As in the last few years, the favorite songs for this Carnaval are coming from Bahia, a northeastern state. All over the country everybody seems to be singing these days Asa de Águias's Xô, Satanás (Beat It, Satan) and Gera Samba's Segura o Tchan (Hold the Charm). The first ditto, which talks about exorcism and religion, couldn't be more in tune with the zeitgeist. The Catholic Church and the establishment have been in a tug of war with the prosperous and street-smart evangelical sect Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus. Quasi-monopoly Globo TV has been incessantly pounding Universal which has a competing TV network. Segura o tchan, the other song, has risqué lyrics filled with sexual innuendos. Nothing new. Decades ago, Chiquita Bacana, who had nothing but a banana peel to cover herself became a big hit and continues to be played year after year.

In Bahia there are no escolas de samba, even though there are blocos, generally with African names like Muzenza and Ara-Kêtu. Carnaval there is less a show and more a participatory spectacle in which everyone is invited to sing and improvise steps on the streets following the trio elétrico (a huge truck with a light and sound system), while players and percussionists guarantee the ceaseless syncopated rhythm of frevo, axé, samba, and new musical styles that bloom anew each Carnaval season. The first trio elétrico happened in 1950, when composer Dodô, all dressed up as a rainbow, connected the guitar to his car's battery. Nowadays, a trio elétrico is so powerful that the energy it consumes would be enough to power a 30.000-people town.

That's why Baiano composer Caetano Velloso wrote for a past Carnaval a frevo song that says: "Atrás do trio elétrico só não vai quem já morreu.." ("Only the dead will not follow the trio elétrico). Bahia and Rio have been in constant rivalry in the last few years to see who dishes out the best Carnaval. Hundreds of thousands of Brazilians and foreigners have joined in Bahia's celebrations and many consider theirs the fairest of all. But there are still millions of die-hard Rio Carnaval fans. Those who want to be closer to the trio elétrico must buy a colorful costume called mortalha (shroud), which helps finance the moving bands. A mortalha can cost from $100 to $250. If you don't have a mortalha, you still will be able to pular (jump) Carnaval, but you will be called pipoca (popcorn).

During a typical Salvador (capital of Bahia) Carnaval, which officially lasts for six days, close to 500 shows are presented, 2 million people go to the streets and ballrooms to dance and look. And around 200 blocos, cordões and afoxés (groups who sing in African dialects) plus 100 trios elétricos help to enliven the celebrations. To guarantee the order 10,000 police officers are on duty during these days.

Timbalada and Olodum, both fairly recent phenomena, are the two most respected Carnaval groups in Salvador. Created by percussionist Carlinhos Brown, Timbalada is a band with ten singers and 250 musicians who play timbales (kettledrums)and other percussion instruments such as agogô (cowbell which is hit by a wooden stick) and surdo (drum). Olodum, which means "supreme divinity" in Yoruban was founded in 1979 under the leadership of Mestre Neguinho do Samba and it has become an industry with memorabilia, international shows and periodical record releases . Paul Simon used the group as background on his album The Rhythm of the Saints. Olodum is also a bloco and it has more than 3,000 members.

Outside of Rio and Bahia, Pernambuco is the state with the best Carnaval in Brazil. In Recife, the state's capital, and Olinda, people go to the streets to dance to the sounds of maracatu, the regions typical rhythm. But it's the frevo that everybody mentions when talking about Pernambuco's Carnaval. São Paulo, which represents 60% of the Brazilian economy, has never been famous for Carnaval. Cariocas (native from Rio) have always derided what they see as the awkwardness of Paulistas when sambaing.

Proud Carioca, diplomat, composer, poet, bohemian Vinícius de Moraes has called São Paulo samba's grave. The city, however, has been emulating the Cariocas and even built a Sambódromo similar to the one in Rio de Janeiro. Its escolas are far from the splendor of its Carioca counterpart, but have been improving and even some passistas (samba dancers) have been daring enough to show up stark naked on the avenue, dancing on the floats.

The main escolas de samba
The year they were founded
Their colors

Estação Primeira da Mangueira (1928), green and pink
Grêmio Recreativo Escola de Samba da Portela (1923), white and blue
Unidos de Vila Isabel (1946), white and blue
Império Serrano (1947),white and green
Beija-flor de Nilópolis (1948), white and blue
Acadêmicos do Salgueiro (1953), white and red
Estácio de Sá (1955), white and red
Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel (1955), white and green

The winners

Prizes for the best escolas de samba have been awarded since 1930. Estação Primeira da Mangueira won the first four years. In the 40s Portela was the winner for seven consecutive years. In 1952 too much rain prevented the show and 1960, five escolas were declared champions.

1980 A tie between Imperatriz Leopoldinense, Portela and Beija-flor de Nilópolis
1981 Imperatriz Leopoldinense
1982 Império Serrano
1983 Beija-flor de Nilópolis
1984 Estação Primeira da Mangueira
1985 Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel
1986 Estação Primeira da Mangueira
1987 Estação Primeira da Mangueira
1988 Unidos de Vila Isabel
1989 Imperatriz Leopoldinense
1990 Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel
1991 Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel
1992 Estácio de Sá
1993 Acadêmicos do Salgueiro
1994 Imperatriz Leopoldinense
1995 Imperatriz Leopoldinense


A Gente Bronzeada da Portela

Jorginho Don, Picolé da Portela, Renatinho do Sambola e Carlinhos Careca

Chegou a hora
Portela alegremente vem cantar
Com um brilho atraente de suingue irreverente
Fazendo assim o mundo inteiro delirar
Melodias que se tornaram marcantes
De artistas delirantes
Iluminados pela estrela do criar
Como "memórias" de Paulinho da Viola, Ismael, Mestre Cartola
Eu vou cantando para os males espantar

Canta iaiá pra ioiô, canta ioiô pra iaiá, um samba quente, um chorinho de amor
Na onda do iê-iê-iê eu sou o Rei pra você
Fazendo a festa até o dia amanhecer

Chega de saudade
Meu peito invade, eu lembro do meu amor
Linda é a garota de Ipanema, seu gingado é um poema
Na asa branca sou eterno sonhador
Pra não dizer que não falei das flores vou me expressar mostrando todo o meu valor
Eu sou arte que embala esperança
Onde passou sou bonança
Bela aquarela brasileira decantou

A Portela demorou mas abalou
E o povo canta novamente ja ganhou

The Tanned Folks from Portela

The time has come
Portela happily sings
With an enticing splendor of irreverent swing
Making the entire world wild
With everlasting melodies
From wonderful artists
Blessed by the star of creation
Reminiscent of Paulinho da Viola, Ismael, Mestre Cartola
I will sing to scare evil away

Sing iaiá for ioiô, sing ioiô for iaiá, a hot samba, a love chorinho
On the waves of iê-iê-iê I am your king
Making the party last until sunrise

Stop the longing
That invades me, I remember my love
The girl from Ipanema is beautiful, her walk is poetry
On white wings that make me endlessly dream
So you won't say I didn't talk about flowers I'll show you all my worth
I am art that lullabies hope
That left tranquillity behind
Singing praises of picturesque Brazil

It took Portela some time, but it shook the nation
And the people sings, 'it's the winner'

Unidos da Tijuca

Ganga-Zumbi, Expressão de uma Raça

Beto do Pandeiro

Ecoou novamente os atabaques de Palmares
Ressoou, é canto, é danca, é festa, liberdade
Salva a força da cor guerreira
Herdeiros de Zumbi
A sua hora é esta
Tijuca é o Quilombo é sua a festa

Capoeira, aluã e muito mais
Tem reza forte para os Orixás
Capoeira, aluã e muito mais
Tem reza forte para os Orixás

Ao som do Batacotô
No toque do Agogô
Negro levanta a poeira
Entre oferendas para o Rei Xangô
E pedras preciosas
No clarão da lua cheia

Dunga Tara Sinherê, ê, ê, ê, ê Dandara
Mãe Sabrina Rei Zumbi é jóia rara

À cerca dos macacos harmonia
Dia e noite, noite e dia
Paz, amor, libertação, seu ideal
Holandeses, portugueses
Todos os mocambos do local
Traziam ouro, prata, louvação
Ao líder para sempre
Cultura, vida, mito, mestre imortal

Vem amor ô, ô
Soltar seu canto livre pelo ar (pelo ar)
Alagoas é o berço deste gênio que viemos exaltar
Ganga Zumbi, Expression of a Race

Palmares's drums have echoed again
It resonated, it's song, dance, party, freedom
It saves the warrior's power
Heirs of Zumbi
Your time has come
Tijuca is Quilombo, the party is yours

Capoeira, aluã, and much more
With powerful prayers for the Orixás
Capoeira, aluã
, and much more
With powerful prayers for the Orixás

To the sounds of the Batacotô
To the beat of the Agogô
The Black man stirs dust
Between offerings for the King Xangô
And precious stones
In the gleam of the full moon

Dunga Tara Sinherê, ê, ê, ê, ê Dandara
Mother Sabrina, King Zumbi is rare jewel

About the harmony monkeys
Day and night, night and day
Peace, love, liberty, your ideal
Dutch, Portuguese
All the black villages around
Brought gold, silver, praise
To the everlasting leader
Culture, life, myth, immortal master

Come love o, o
Release your song freely through the air
Alagoas is the birth place of this whiz we have come to praise

Unidos de Vila Isabel A Heróica Cavalgada de um Povo Tião Grande e Cafu Ouro Preto

Baila minha porta-estandarte
E com a Vila vem mostrar toda a emoção
A heróica cavalgada de um povo
Sua história, seus costumes e tradição

Sepé tiaraju conquista a terra
Na luta contra a força das invasões
Fez da bravura sua arma
Defendendo os sete povos das missões

São Pedro do Rio Grande do Sul
Se fez província, ganha capital
Porto dos casais e charqueadas
Lanceiros negros dançam nas congadas

Epopéia farroupilha, clamor da voz
Chimangos ou Maragatos
O gaúcho é aclamado o grande herói

Progresso, miscigenação
O vento sopra e traz a colonização
Cerveja, dança, culinária
Festa da uva e o famoso chimarrão

Brilha no ar a senhora liberdade
E no rincão um canto de felicidade

Boitatá é mandingueiro
Cuida do rebanho,
Negrinho do Pastoreio

E a salamanca do jarau
Não existe nada igual
No folclore brasileiro
Voando na folia
A minha Vila Isabel
Faz o GRE-NAL mais bonito
Com Lupicínio e Noel
The Heroic Cavalcade of a People

Dance my flag-bearer
And come show all your emotion with Vila (Isabel)
The heroic cavalcade of a nation
Its history, its costumes and tradition

Sepé tiaraju conquers the land
In his fight against the invaders
He used his bravery as a shield
To defend the seven races of the missions

Saint Peter of Rio Grande do Sul
Was made into a province and then the capital
Port of couples, farms
Blacks lancers dance in congadas

Ragamuffin epopee, voice's clamor
Chimangos or Maragatos (revolutionaries)
The gaucho is proclaimed the great hero

Progress, miscegenation
The wind blows and brings colonization
Beer, dance and cooking
The grape party and the famous chimarrão tea

Lady liberty shines in the air
And there is a song of happiness in the countryside

Boitatá (bogey) is a sorcerer
Take care of the herd
Pasture's little black guy

And salamcanca do jarau
There is none like it
In the Brazilian folklore
Flying in the revelry
My Vila Isabel
Makes the Grêmio-Internacional (soccer game) more beautiful
With Lupicínio and Noel

Estácio de Sá

De um mundo novo eu sou e uma cidade nova será

Orlando, Adílson Gavião, Déo e Caruso

Em águas claras naveguei, naveguei...
Aqui cheguei
Vim em busca de riqueza, que beleza
Me encantei
Bravo Estácio foi à luta
Um herói nesta disputa
Tudo o que ele fez valeu
Assim o Rio passa a ser a capital
Da relação entre Brasil e Portugal

Balança, balança, quero ver pesar
Os portos se abrem, vamos exportar
Ciclo do pau-brasil, ouro e café
Na industrialização entrei com fé
Sou capital, eu sou das artes no País
Minha beleza natural
Deixa você feliz

E o artista pintando a sua emoção
Entrando em cena o seu coração
Do peito brotando uma linda canção
Enfim, uma nova cidade no Estácio fluiu
É o mundo mais perto do nosso Brasil

A notícia, o fato e a informação
Então... a evolução vai pedindo passagem
O samba fazendo a sua homenagem
À telecomunicação
O teleporto está no ar
É nessa que eu vou me ligar
Na era da modernidade
Uma nova cidade será
From a New World I am and a New Town it Will Be

I traveled the clear ocean
That brought me here
I came in search of riches, what beauty
I became fascinated

Brave Estácio went to war
A hero of this struggle
Everything he did was worth it

And now Rio is the capital
In the relationship between Brazil and Portugal

Swing, scale, I want to see it weighted
The harbors are wide open, let's export

Pau-Brasil, gold and coffee cycles
I entered industrialization with faith

I am the art's capital in the nation
My natural beauty
Leaves you happy

And the artist paints all of his emotion
His heart is displayed in his art
From his chest a pretty song flows

Finally, a new city was born in Estácio
Then... evolution wants to go ahead
The samba pays its respect
To telecommunication

The teleport is on the air
I will be tuned-on
To the modern-age
It will be a brand new city


Cao Lima, Bieco do Tchan e Cicinho

Pau que nasce torto
Nunca se endireita
Menina que requebra, mãe,
Pega na cabeça
Domingo ela não vai, não
Vai, vai, vai (bis)
Segura o tchan
Amarra o tchan
Segura o tchan, tchan, tchan, tchan, tchan
Tudo que é perfeito a gente pega pelo braço
Joga lá no meio
Mete em cima
Mete embaixo
Depois de nove meses você vê o resultado
Este é o Gerasamba
Arrebentando no pedaço
Joga lá no meio
Mete em cima
Mete embaixo
(Start all over again)


A tree that is born bent
Will never get straight
A girl who shakes her rump, mom,
Hold on the head
Sunday she won't go, no
go, go, go (twice)
Hold the tchan
Tie up the tchan
Hold the tchan, tchan, tchan, tchan, tchan
All that's perfect we take by the arm
Throw in the middle
Put on the top
Put on the bottom
After nine months you'll see the result
This is Gerasamba
Making it happen in town
Throw in the middle
Put on the top, put on the bottom

Tell Me: When Is Carnaval?

The info below comes courtesy of 

When is Carnaval????

Carnaval dates thru 2040!

One of the most frequent questions we get here at our website is "what is the date of Carnaval this year?". Well, believe it or not, it is not an easy question to answer. You have to be part astrologer, part mathematician, and part priest! Here is how you calculate the Carnaval date:

50-47 days before the first Sunday after the first full moon after Vernal Equinox, or in layman's terms, Ash Wednesday is calculated as 46 days before Easter Sunday, and carnaval falls on the 4 days before Ash Wednesday. Complicated, no?


2003 - March 1-4
2004 - February 21-24
2005 - February 5-8
2006 - February 25-28
2007 - February 17-20
2008 - February 2-5
2009 - February 21-24
2010 - February 13-16
2011 - March 5-8
2012 - February 18-21
2013 - February 9-12
2014 - March 1-4
2015 - February 14-17
2016 - February 6-9
2017 - February 25-28
2018 - February 10-13
2019 - March 2-5
2020 - February 22-25
2021 - February 13-16
2022 - February 26 - March 1
2023 - February 18-21
2024 February 10-13
2025 - March 1-4
2026 - February 14-17
2027 - February 6-9
2028 - February 26-29
2029 - February 10-13
2030 - March 2-5
2031 - February 22-25
2032 - February 7-10
2033 - February 26 - March 1
2034 - February 18-21
2035 - February 3-6
2036 - February 23-26
2037 - February 14-17
2038 - March 6-9
2039 - February 19-22
2040 - February 11-14

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