By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On Sunday, February 15th, G.R.E.S. Acadêmicos do Salgueiro will be the fifth samba school of the Grupo Especial (Special Group) to parade down Rio de Janeiro’s Sambódromo during the 2015 Carnival competition.
Also known simply as Salgueiro, the popular school is a nine-time Carnival champion. They saw their first victory in 1960, and won again in 1963, 1965, 1969, 1971, 1974, 1975, 1993, and most recently in 2009.
This year the school will present the enredo (theme), “Do fundo do quintal, saberes e sabores na Sapucaí” (From the background of the backyard, the knowledge and flavors in Sapucai). The Sambódromo, where the schools parade for the competition is also known as Marquês de Sapucaí or simply, “Sapucaí”.
The theme is based on the book, “História da Arte da Cozinha Mineira” (History of the Art of the Mineira Kitchen) by Dona Lucinha (Maria Lúcia Clementino Nunes) and the school will bring and explain the flavors of the state of Minas Gerais to the parade.
During their procession, Salgueiro, led by the husband and wife team of carnavalescos (Carnival designers) Renato and Márcia Lage, will depict the arrival of settlers to Minas Gerais, then follow the development in that area from the discovery of gems and gold through the arrival of slaves to the creation of the region’s unique cuisine.
Salgueiro was formed in 1953 by a union of two samba schools, Azul e Branco do Salgueiro (Salgueiro’s Blue and White) and Depois Eu Digo (Later I’ll Say it), both located on Salgueiro hill in Tijuca in Rio’s North Zone. Salgueiro is now based in the neighborhood of Andaraí, also located in the North Zone and is represented by the colors red and white.
The school first officially joined the Carnival parade in 1954, but it was not until 1960 that they began to stand out in the competition. That year, led by carnavalesco (carnival designer) Fernando Pamplona, they won their first Carnival with the presentation of the theme, “Quilombo dos Palmares,” an homage to a famous community of escaped slaves. The following year Salgueiro fell slightly short, winning second place.
Arlindo Rodrigues took over the carnavalesco position in 1962 and then led the school to victory in 1963 with the theme, “Xica da Silva,” an homage to a famous slave and cultural icon in Brazilian history.
In 1965, Rodrigues and Pamplona joined together to lead the school to another title. Pamplona then stayed on as the sole Carnival designer and helped the school to win again in both 1969 and 1971.
Under the guidance of the famous carnavalesco, Joãosinho Trinta , the school won back-to-back victories in 1974 and 1975. Salgueiro then regained the title of champion again in 1993 and most recently in 2009 with the theme, “Tambor” (Drum).
In 2014 the school presented the theme “Gaia – Life in our hands.” Led by carnavalescos Renato and Márcia Lage, the theme celebrated the Earth and earned the school second place after Unidos da Tijuca.
As one of the biggest followings among competing samba schools, Salgueiro fans are sure to pack the Sambódromo on February 15th, to cheer their school on to what they hope will be their tenth Championship title.
To learn more about upcoming practices and events leading up to Salgueiro’s 2015 parade procession, see the school’s official website here.
G.R.E.S. Acadêmicos do Salgueiro
Quadra (Practice Hall)
Rua Silva Teles 104, Andaraí
Tel: (21) 2238-9226