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By Vânia Maciel, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Following the parade order for the 2011 Carnival at the Sambodrome, this week’s profile is of Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel, more commonly known as “Mocidade”, which will be the third to enter the avenue on Sunday, March 6th.

Mocidade Independente
Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel parading in 2010, photo by CMC for Carnaval.com.

Founded in Padre Miguel, a neighborhood in Zona Oeste (the West zone) of Rio de Janeiro, Mocidade is another samba school with its roots in soccer (football), reinforcing the belief that soccer and samba are inextricably linked.

The Independente Futebol Clube, an amateur local soccer team, had the tradition of commemorating their victories with big batucadas (spontaneous, improvised drum playing). In November of 1955, the batucada followed the natural progression and became a bloco (Carnival block party). Soon thereafter, Mocidade competed in a local bloco contest promoted by Waldemar Vianna de Carvalho, a politician at the time.

The competition finished in a draw between Mocidade and another local bloco, Unidos de Padre Miguel. Since there could only be one winner per category, Carvalho found a diplomatic solution and promoted Mocidade to a samba school, thus permitting him to give first prize to both groups in their respective categories.

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Since then, Mocidade hasn’t looked back. The school was highly ranked in subsequent Carnivals and won first place in 1958 in its group and was bumped up to the Grupo Especial, or main group, in 1959.

The backbone of Mocidade has always been its percussion section, or bateria, which came to be known as Bateria nota dez (A+ drum section).

The ensemble has been responsible for innovations such as the “paradinha” (little stop), where the bateria stops in front of the judges while the rest of the school passes.

Many times, the ensemble will have a repinique (a two-headed Brazilian drum) solo keeping the beat to guide the parade.

Under the guidance of the late Master André, Independente Futebol Clube’s former coach and the school’s first mestre-sala, Mocidade’s bateria began to take shape.

From the squeak of the cuíca (high pitched friction percussion instrument) to the thump of the surdo (the lowest-pitched drum), Mocidade’s bateria is almost always flawless. Evoking primal beats and sheer pleasure, the rhythm invites every muscle to dance.

The school has also been aided by big names in Carnival design like Arlindo Rodrigues, Fernando Pinto and Renato Lage, resulting in stunning performances for the green and white school, that have earned them a huge following in Brazil and throughout the world.

Mocidade Independente
Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel parade float in 2010, photo by CMC for Carnaval.com.

This Carnival, Mocidade’s theme of “Parábola dos Divinos Semeadores” (Divine Seeder’s parabola) highlights the history of agriculture from prehistoric times to today, demonstrating man’s often mystical relationship to the elements.

Designer Cid Carvalho, in his third Carnival with Mocidade, will receive the help of a R$2.6 million sponsorship from the Confederação Nacional da Agricultura e Pecuária, the CNA (National Agriculture and Livestock Confederation) in addition to the R$1 million in costume sales to its executives.

Visitors can participate in the preparations by attending one of the school’s rehearsals at their quadra (rehearsal court) on Rua Coronel Tamarindo, 38 – Padre Miguel – Rio de Janeiro – RJ – CEP 21870-000.

More information about the rehearsals at the Sambodrome can be found in our recent coverage. For more information on Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel rehearsals and costumes, visit their website.

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