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RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Samba school Acadêmicos do Grande Rio will make their way through the Sambódromo at approximately 11PM on Sunday, February 26th with their entry for the 2017 parade competition. The school, although only 28 years old, has competed in the Grupo Especial for the last 24 years.

Academicos do Grande Rio's 2016 parade competition entry, photo by Riotur. Brazil, Brazil News, Rio de Janeiro, Carnival, Carnival 2017, Grande Rio
Acadêmicos do Grande Rio’s 2016 parade competition entry, photo by Alexandre Macio/Riotur.

This year, Acadêmicos do Grande Rio’s parade competition entry will tell the tale of Bahian singer Ivete Sangalo, from her childhood to her arrival in Rio and her rise to fame. The enredo (plot), entitled ‘Ivete do rio a Rio’ (Ivete from the river to Rio), begins with the start of the singer’s career and shows her develop from a guitarist and singer to axé musician.

The school’s enredo also pays homage to Ivete’s rural Bahian upbringing, portraying the strength of her family and religious connections as well as Bahia’s acarajé street vendors and the state’s own traditional Carnival celebrations. It will also recreate memories from Ivete’s childhood, and will end by commemorating the singer’s arrival in Duque de Caxias.

Originally created in Duque de Caxias, the school underwent several transformations and was finally created in its current form in 1988. Today, despite competing in Rio’s premium Grupo Especial Carnival parade, Acadêmicos do Grande Rio still has its headquarters in Duque de Caxias and maintains a strong link with its origins.

Academicos do Grande Rio in 2016, photo by Riotur. Brazil, Brazil News, Rio de Janeiro, Carnival, Carnival 2017, Grande Rio
Acadêmicos do Grande Rio in 2016, photo by Riotur.

With Carnival celebrations under threat in Duque de Caxias this year, due to the financial crisis and a lack of funding for public services. As a result, Acadêmicos do Grande Rio has involved itself in fundraising efforts with Duque’s local government to ensure that Cariocas living in the area can still celebrate.

For the first time in four years, Acadêmicos do Grande Rio will also be selling costumes to members of the public, as many samba schools traditionally do in Rio. According to G1, Ivete encouraged the school to sell costumes to allow people from Duque de Caxias to feel involved in the school’s enredo celebration.

Joaquim Horário de Souza Filho, who has been with Acadêmicos do Grande Rio since 1990, told G1 that he agreed with Ivete’s perspective. “When samba is good, the crowd wants to participate, wants to make it beautiful,” he told G1.

Acadêmicos do Grande Rio, which has a red, white and green flag with a crown at its centre, finished in 7th position in last year’s parade competition. In 2010 the school was awarded vice-champion of the Grupo Especial, but has never been crowned winner despite having spent almost three decades in the league.

Be sure to stay with The Rio Times to learn more about the other competing schools, winners and additional events during this year’s Carnival.

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