By Chesney Hearst, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Best known as Mangueira, G.R.E.S. Estação Primeira de Mangueira, holds the distinction of the oldest samba school still in competition. They will parade eighth for the Grupo Especial (Special Group) and will be the second school to enter the Sambódromo on night two of the competition, Monday, February 11th.
Founded in 1928, Mangueira is considered by many to be the most popular school. Their long history and their well-executed parade performances earning them supporters from all walks of life both in Brazil and worldwide.
They have won the Carnival Championship an impressive eighteen times, and one of those victories made them the first champion crowned in the Sambódromo.
The firsts for the school don’t end there, as they were the first school to use Alegorias (Props), an Enredo (Theme) and the first to use a surdo drum in their Bateria (Drum Section). The image of the surdo is featured as a symbol on the school’s pink and green flag.
“Estação Primeira”, the beginning of the school’s official name, also involves a first as it translates to “first station”. The name chosen because of the school’s founding on Rua Visconde de Niterói in Mangueira, in the area of the first railway stop after Central do Brasil (Central Station).
This year the school’s Theme, “Cuiabá: A Paradise in the Center of America” returns to Mangueira’s base with its uses of trains and stations to convey a connection to Cuiabá, the capital of the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso and one of the host cities for the FIFA 2014 World Cup.
The released recording of this year’s Samba Enredo (Theme Song) begins with a train whistle and the Bateria’s rhythm kicks in sounding like a rolling train. Composed by Lequinho, Jr. Fionda, Igor Leal and Paulinho Carvalho , the long Enredo is divided into segments and is a allegory of a train ride complete with stops at “stations” from Mangueira to Cuiabá.
The seven segments all begin with “Estação” and are as follows: Mangueira, Eldorado, Myths and Legends, Art and Taste, Festivals of Saints, Portal of Paradise and Send Regards to the Future!!
The lyrics of the Samba-Enredo state, “The whistle is playing pay attention!” and then later end with, “Mangueira… The train of emotion/Travel in imagination/My samba is wood, is jequitibá [a type of tree]/ It is poetry dedicated to Cuiabá.”
Referred to as the paradise in the center of America, the city of Cuiabá is geographically the exact center of the South American continent. It was founded in by Rodrigo César de Menezes on January 1, 1727 after the discovery of gold mines in the area, hence references to Eldorado at the second station.
The fourth station, Festival of Saints, alludes to the city’s patron saint São Benedito (St. Benedict) and the festival celebrating him in July. “Find your pair, the revelry is about to begin/ In the blessing of Saint Benedict” state the accompanying lyrics of the Samba-Enredo.
Also known as the “Green City”, Cuiabá is located in the Patanal region of Brazil and it is the portal to the Amazon. Mangueira cleverly ties its school colors of pink and green to Cuiabá by singing “… unparalleled beauty/Source of natural wealth/City beautiful … Green … Pink.”
The Enredo lyrics end at the seventh station saying “United and arm in arm with Mangueira, is proud and is preparing to host the biggest sporting event on the planet: the 2014 FIFA World Cup. … discover the magic formula to their industrialization: sustainability! No pollution, commitment of this nation. The end of our journey will always be the beginning for those with sensitivity”.
Mangueira is also known to have the most impressive Quadra (Rehearsal Hall) and practices there on Saturdays at 10PM.
G.R.E.S. Estação Primeira de Mangueira
Rua Visconde de Niterói, 1072 – Mangueira
Phone: (21) 2567 4637)
Ticket Information, Phone: (21) 25674637