By Maíra Amorim, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – It’s hard to find a Carioca who doesn’t like Monobloco, the big percussion band created in 2000 by Pedro Luís with the members of his band “Pedro Luís e a Parede” (Pedro Luís and The Wall).
The group has created a true revolution at Rio’s Carnival. They started the now-famous “bloco de rua” trend which hasn’t stopped growing – the small (or big) bands that perform in the city’s streets during the world’s most famous party.
Monobloco is coming back to Circo Voador, the classic venue for their performances, on July 11th (Saturday). They are now one of the Brazil’s hardest working groups. In 2007, they played more than ninety shows across the country.
The reason they have been performing so much is that no one gets tired of the innovative way they update some of the greatest Brazilian classics. Monobloco innovated by adding the sound of percussion – the “bateria” – to songs by Jorge Benjor, Alceu Valença, Cartola, Tim Maia, Paralamas and others.
Pedro Luís is joined by Fábio Allman, Renato Biguli and Alexandre Momo on vocals and Mário Moura (bass), C.A. Ferrari, Sidon Silva and Celso Alvim (drums and percussion) and thirteen percussionists – in the traditional Monobloco Carnival parade this number increases to 150.
The Monobloco concert is one of the most crowded events of Carnival, attracting more than 400,000 people in last year’s parade. They have already tried to change the location (it moved from Ipanema to Copacabana, and last year to Centro) and time (trying in the morning and afternoon) in an attempt to get a smaller crowd – with no luck.
Monobloco is an emblem and mainstay of Rio’s carnival. And they have been bringing their sound to other abroad – Ireland, England and Denmark are some of the countries graced with their performances of late.
Due to the group’s popularity, they have also created a percussion teaching center, where anyone interested in learn how to play tamborim, pandeiro or cuíca can participate. And many of the students are also invited to join the big Carnival parade.
Monobloco’s concerts don’t disappoint, and their dedicated following at events throughout the year attest to their unique and powerful sound. They are a pulsating part of Carioca culture, representative of Rio’s way of life: positive, smiling, unpretentious and outgoing.