By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – This year G.R.E.S. Estação Primeira de Mangueira, one of the most popular and best-supported samba schools in the city, will parade second for the Special Group on Sunday, February 15th, at 10:05 PM and make their bid for another Carnival championship title.
Well known by the colors chosen to represent them, Verde e Rosa (Green and Pink), and often referred to simply as Mangueira, the school’s procession down the famed Sambódromo will follow G.R.E.S. Unidos do Viradouro during the first of two Special Group competition nights for Carnival Champion 2015.
Through the presentation of their enredo (theme), “Agora chegou a vez vou cantar: Mulher da Mangueira, mulher brasileira em primeiro lugar” (The time has arrived that I will sing: Women of Mangueira, Brazilian woman in first place), this year Mangueira will pay tribute to the school’s female members and to the importance of women in society now and throughout history.
The parade will include tributes to famous female warriors and heroines including, Maria Bonita and Maria Quitéria. There will also be homages to artists and their works including singer Clara Nunes and her song “O Mar Serenou” and artist Tarsila do Amaral and her work “Abaporu.”
Additionally as part of the parade, there will be a special dedication to the role of housewives, entitled “musas do dia a dia” (muses day-to-day or daily muses). Over 500 costumes, 50,000 clothespins, 12,000 hair rollers and 15,000 plastic spoons were manufactured for this part of the school’s procession, which is scheduled to be the last ala (wing) in the parade. “The housewives are the true muses,” Mangueira Carnavalesco (Carnival Designer) Cid Carvalho told O Globo. “They deserve an entire section inspired by them.”
This will be Caravalho’s third year as Carnival Designer for the school. He held the position in 2012 and 2013. Carnavalesca Rosa Magalhães then replaced him in 2014. During those three years, neither Magalhães nor Caravalho moved the school higher than seventh place in the competition.
Although they have not won a Carnival Championship since 2002, Mangueira has a long and victorious history. One of the oldest samba schools remaining in the competition, Mangueira was founded in 1928 and during the last eight decades, has been crowned the Carnival Champion an impressive total of eighteen times. The school has also maintained a spot in the Special Group consistently since 1990.
The school’s official name, Estação Primeira de Mangueira translates to “first station of Mangueira,” and helps to explain the school’s history and its large numbers of supporters. The first station refers to the fact that the school was founded on Rua Visconde de Niterói, a street located in the Complexo da Mangueira, a group of several Zona Norte (North Zone) favelas that now has an estimated combined population of over 20,000.
The station was the first railway station after the well-known Central do Brasil (Central Station) and it became a transportation hub, connecting parts of the population and places in the city that had previously been more remote.
Their connections plus their continually well-executed parade performances earned Mangueira supporters from all parts of Rio, from Brazil and from around the world. They are known to have a large number of celebrity supporters including fashion designer Calvin Klein, famous Brazilian sambista Alcione Nazareth, and Argentinian football (soccer) legend Diego Maradona.
That support has also helped the school to build one of the most well known quadras (rehearsal halls). Leading up to their parade the school will continue to host public ensaios (practices). Their next practice will take place at their quadra on Saturday, January 17th at 10PM. Entry is R$40, with VIP available for R$1,500.
“Our practice hall has welcomed great audiences,” said President of the school, Chiquinho da Mangueira earlier this month in a statement, later adding, “Under the direction of Jr. Schall, our harmonia [group] has been working hard to present the marvelous work of Cid Carvalho. It’s a large parade. I am sure that we will be a contender for the title this year.”
G.R.E.S. Estação Primeira de Mangueira
Quadra (Practice Hall) – Rua Visconde de Niterói 1072, Mangueira
Phone: (21) 2624-1804