By Chesney Hearst, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The famous Ipanema bloco, Banda de Ipanema held its first rehearsal at Praça General Osório on Saturday, January 19th, drawing hundreds of attendees eager to preview the bloco’s parade. Every year the bloco attracts tens of thousands of party-goers to its official marches held before and during Carnival.
Banda de Ipanema’s rehearsal on Saturday saw around six hundred people gathered to hear the music and see the bloco’s performance which this year includes members of the group Jongo da Serrinha.
“I always come to watch the rehearsal and take part in the shows, it’s a way to have fun and of course to keep me young,” eighty year-old reveler, Zely Rangel told O Globo.
This year the bloco is will pay homage to famous Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, who died recently in 2012 along with tributes to Brazilian poet and composer, Vinicius de Moraes.
“Not all award recipients are musicians, but they are people who in some way contributed to our culture. They will all be remembered during the parade, for example, we play the song ‘The Girl from Ipanema‘, written by Vinicius de Moraes” Cláudio Pinheiro, President and Founder of Banda de Ipanema explained to O Globo.
As the pre-Carnival energy picks up in the city, many tourist and local residents are anticipating the major blocos. Local Ipanema business owners commented on how yesterday’s bloco was relatively calm, not drawing the thousands through the street as they surely will in the coming weeks.
Mike Smith, and American expatriate living in Ipanema told The Rio Times: “That bloco is so famous I was expecting the usual massive crowds, but I guess it is just the first rehearsal … and the weather didn’t help. During Carnival that bloco seems to spread from [Praça] General Osório all the way to to Leblon, sweeping everything and everyone into the party.”
Banda de Ipanema first paraded in 1965 and in 2004 was declared by the city to be part of its cultural heritage. The bloco will parade three more times, on January 26th, February 9th and 12th. They will gather at Ipanema’s Praça General Osório and parade from there. Attendance is free.
For a run-down of blocos happening today, please see The Rio Times weekly list that was started for this year.
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