By Ciara Long, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – To celebrate its 80th birthday, the Institute of National Historic and Artistic Heritage (IPHAN) has declared Rio’s Museum of Samba a site of cultural importance. According to the organization, the Museum of Samba is an important reference point for the city’s samba schools.
The Museum of Samba, located in Mangueira in the city’s Zona Norte (North Zone), celebrated Brazilian samba’s 100-year anniversary last year. It positions itself as the “safeguard of samba”, with a mission statement to “valorize and stimulate samba as culture”.
“[Samba] is one of the Brazilian people’s strongest expressions of identity,” Kátia Bogéa, IPHAN’s current president, told government news sources. “It’s popular culture and it’s the engine of the country. It’s the right thing for IPHAN to celebrate its 80th anniversary with one of most remarkable cultural expressions of our identity.”
The Museum of Samba celebrates samba’s origins and its development over the 20th century. It draws particular attention to samba de terreiro, the meeting spaces for samba, as well as samba music’s distinctive composition and beats, known as partido-alto, and how the samba-enredo – the plot used to tell a story by samba schools during parade competitions – developed.
Although samba’s history is one of cultural discrimination and persecution in its early decades at the beginning of the 20th century, today samba is recognized by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Brazil.
This recognition is due to efforts from the Museum of Samba, which was previously the Centro Cultural Cartola when it applied to UNESCO for the art form’s recognition with the support of the Association of Samba Schools of Rio de Janeiro and the Independent League of Samba Schools (LIESA).
Changing to the Museum of Samba upon receiving UNESCO recognition, today the Museum receives support from Rio’s municipal government, the Ford Foundation and the Institute for Brazilian Geography and Statistics (IBGE).