Monday, October 01, 2007


Mangueira is the most famous of the samba schools, which collectively present the famous parade in Rio at the Sambadrome each year at Carnaval (my post from there earlier this year).

Since the theme (northeastern Brazil history and culture) was announced in August, the samba schools have been having "ensaios" each Saturday. These serve a dual purpose - they teach the songs that that school might perform at Carnaval (they're still deciding between a handful) and they are a big party.

Mangueira is a favela next to Maracana, the famous soccer stadium in Rio, and their "Palacio do Samba" is at the base of the favela. So with Devin in town wanting to go, we headed out. It was quite a sight.

The dumline on the balcony in front is called the "bateria" and includes the powerful "surdo um." They play to all the songs but to me it's even cooler when they just do their thing by themselves.
(Facebook readers you have to click through to my site to see the video)

The banners, dancers, and giant puppets change with each song.

The "Palacio do Samba" is a large partially enclosed building with a huge floor and balconies on all sides. The samba schools are multimillion dollar organizations, with fancy sponsors that help pay the typical $3 million each samba school spends on Carnaval each year.

Mangueira's colors are pink and green. Crazy outfits are encouraged.
Zachari, myself, and Devin
I guess once you retire from performing, you wear a bright pink shirt and blow whistles.

This video, which I obviously didn't take, shows how dramatic the final product is. This is Mangueira at the 2003 Carnaval (despite the video title).


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