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By Bruno De Nicola, Senior Reporter

Salgueiro is steaming up for the 2010 Carnival Contest, photo by Pedro Colombo
Salgueiro is steaming up for the 2010 Carnival Contest, photo by Pedro Colombo.

RIO DE JANEIRO – As temperatures rise in Rio de Janeiro, Samba School madness heats up. This week, The Rio Times brings to its readers, 2009 Carnival Champion, G.R.E.S. Academicos do Salgueiro.

The red and white ‘gremio’ from Tijuca, after last year’s great success, is getting ready for another glorious performance on the Sapucaí catwalk in the temple of Samba, ‘O Sambodromo’. Best way to get ready? Party.

For 2009, everything was perfect: the theme, “O Tambor” (the drum), a promenade across Brazilian percussion history, the astonishingly beautiful Rainha da Bateria (drum session queen) Viviane Araujo, the incredible acrobatic float with the Intrepida Trupe bouncing around on it. After 2008’s second place in the Sambodrome Carnival contest, Salgueiro reached perfection and the year’s title.

The Gremio Academicos do Salgueiro, is one of Rio de Janeiro’s most popular and traditional samba schools. It was founded in 1953, however the first time it competed in the Carnival contest was in 1954, when the school ranked third. The gremio was named after the morro (hill) do Salgueiro, the Favela where everything started and where the old dance hall infrastructure was.

The school colors are red and white and its symbol is a circular shield containing 4 traditional samba percussion instruments: a surdo (bass drum), a pandeiro (tambourine), a ganzá (Brazilian rattle) and a tamborim (Brazilian frame drum). Since its first competition Academicos do Salgueiro won seven “Sambodrome Champion” titles.

The Salgueiro Samba School, over the years, gave many contributions to the Carnival parade’s evolution and conception. The most important ones came from Joazinho Trinta, probably Brazil’s most important float and costume designer, a visual artist who has become a legend in the Sambodrome metier. Trinta started his long successful career designing for Salgueiro.

Before this year, the last time the Tijucan Samba School won the competition, was in 1993, with the theme: “Peguei um Ita no norte” (I picked up a stone from the north), the story about a journey across several Brazilian states, from Amazonas to Rio de Janeiro.

Viviane Araujo, Salgueiro's Rainha da Bateria, photo by www.terra.com.br.
Viviane Araujo, Salgueiro's Rainha da Bateria, photo by www.terra.com.br.

For next year’s Carnival, Salgueiro is already doing its best to give supporters the greatest show ever, inspired by the 2010 theme: “Histórias sem fim (Never ending stories)”, the history of book writing. The Samba School is going immersing themselves, and preparing to carry away the Sambodrome audience to several different periods in time. From the origins of the first book, until today.

Every Saturday night school rehearsals are on, Academicos do Salgueiro is very proud to host its fans in the Quadra Camiseiro Calça Larga, a beautiful red and white infrastructure with everything samba party ravers may need. Salgueiro has already selected the soundtrack for this year’s parade, and is still recruiting for the rumbling crowd to lead Salgueiro to another smashing victory. Last year’s parade counted 4,100 heads.

The Academicos do Salgueiro’s dance hall is in the Tijuca neighborhood, not far away from the Zona Sul. The Rio Times suggests you take a taxi to get there, it should cost around R$20 to R$25. Even though it may not seem so at first, the school surroundings are safe with heavy police patrolling.

For further information about Salgueiro’s 2010 Carnival, event calendar and costume sale, please access their website.

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