I must confess that I have forgotten how much the nation goes crazy about Carnaval here!!! It's non-stop!
Everyday there are "Blocos de Carnaval" on the streets, those are people from the local communities that get together to come up with music, lyrics, costumes, themes for their "Bloco" (kinda like a street band). When it's time to get on the streets with its components, everyone from all over their and other neighborhoods follow the Bloco as it travels on its made up route around the streets of Rio.
You hear old and new Samba songs sung by everyone, the band attracts everyone with its "paradinha" little stops during the song they make with a hip-hop/funk beat that makes everyone get crunk as my friends from Louisiana would say! :) There are dozens of Blocos registered in Rio, they all have their own route, police for security and keeping the peace (and now the pee, it is illegal to pee on the streets, and they will take you in for that!) and people dancing and singing non-stop for hours!
More than half of those people who follow the Blocos, usually go from one to another, making it a Bloco marathon that could take 12 hours or more in a day!!! Those people we call them SOLDIERS, bc only with a soldier training you can do that all 5 days of Carnaval.
There is also the Samba School parade, they have their own league, and it's much more like a professional parade. The Samba Schools are judged in many categories. Every year there is a theme they must follow. Every Samba School must have percussions aka Bateria, an opening act called "Comissao de Frente", 6-7 "Carros Alegoricos" (the floats) if I'm not mistaken, "Mestre Sala and Porta Bandeira (soon to be explained), "Rainha da Bateria" and some other things. They are all judged about their music, lyrics, performance, style, floats... so many categories... It's the real deal!!!!
I had the privilege to go watch the second day of the parades at the Sambrodomo (name of the place made JUST for this parade). I got a VIP pass to one of the Samba School's room. It was AWESOME! I was at Grande Rio's VIP with a fellow volleyball friend. We had so much fun! In there they have free drinks, free hot dogs, even free ice creams! WOW! Oh.. Also dinner, they served us some pasta and later on so fresh fruit salad, now that's what I am talking about!!!
My friend and I stayed til 6:30am when the last Samba School finished crossing the Sapucai (name of Sambodromo's Avenue). We HAD to watch Mangueira, the Samba School that I passionately cheer for. Oh... Have I mentioned that the Samba School parades is sorta like the musical soccer leagues??? Oh yeah! You cheer for a Samba School and you love their flag and their colors, just like soccer! The only difference is that you NEVER acknowledge another soccer team's good performance otherwise you are a traitor, but you may acknowledge another Samba School's performance, because it is all for the love of music at the end. ;)
I made a few videos so you guys can have a small idea of how HUGE this is, it's beautiful and so much fun, and it is DEFINITELY something you all should do one day in your life!
The "Rainha da Bateria" aka Percussion's Queen. She is the muse for their inspiration to play the instruments well. Her role is to introduce to "Bateria" (percussions) and to give them her best to represent the Samba School. More than often the Rainha da Bateria is a famous celebrity who loves samba and goes to all rehearsals and most of the time, she knows how to samba.
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I hope you guys enjoy my blogs. I just want to share a little this wonderful journey that i am living. :)