By Beatriz Miranda, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – This Saturday, December 2nd, Rio de Janeiro celebrates the National Day of Samba, Brazil’s most iconic music genre. From this Friday, December 1st, until Sunday, December 3rd, the city hosts a variety of “rodas de samba” all over Zona Sul, Centro and Zona Norte, most of them being free attractions.
Even though December 2nd marks samba’s anniversary, specially in cities like Rio, São Paulo and Salvador, it was on November 27th that, a hundred and one years ago, Carioca composer Donga registered “Pelo Telefone” at Brazil’s Biblioteca Nacional (National Library).
The release of “Pelo Telefone” was, at least officially, the very beginning of what samba would become for Brazil’s culture. Owing a lot to the rhythms brought by the African slaves, samba, today, is considered intangible cultural heritage by IPHAN (Brazil’s Artistic and Historic Heritage National Institute).
Among the best celebrations happening this weekend, one can find “Trem do Samba”, a peculiar “roda de samba” that literally happens inside Supervia’s train – while it is moving! In its 22nd edition, “Trem do Samba” will promote 14 free samba shows, hoping to attract more than 120,000 people.
Paying homage to the African drums, this year’s edition already starts early this Friday, December 1st, at 1PM, with the shows of Marquinhos de Oswaldo Cruz, Osmar do Breque, Tantinho da Mangueira and Wilson Moreira, all taking place at Central do Brasil’s Supervia central station.
When it comes to samba, it is impossible not to mention Pedra do Sal, in Centro, and its great legacy to this musical expression. Thinking of that, the “Samba de Sexta” group will promote tonight, December 1st, a special “roda de samba” at the venue. Starting from 7:30 PM, Samba de Sexta will bring a variety of guest musicians to pay tribute to samba’s most memorable names.
Another traditional samba spot, “Terreirão do Samba”, situated right next to Sambódromo, in Praça Onze, will also promote a special line-up for tomorrow’s celebration. The free party starts at 4PM and will gather “bambas” (renowned old folks from traditional samba schools) like singers Leci Brandão and Moacyr Luz, also inviting to its stage groups Galocantô, Arruda, Samba do Chapéu and Velha Guarda do Salgueiro.
Gathering the best from arts and music, the famous “Feira Rio Antigo” (or Feira da Lavradio) is back to Lapa tomorrow, December 2nd, paying tribute to samba with the shows of Adriana Dutra and Nega de Criolo. Starting at 4:30 PM, the two singers are expected to entertain the audience with a selected repertoire of samba classics. There, it is possible to enjoy the live music while sitting at one of Rua do Lavradio’s great bars and restaurants.
What’s more, Santa Teresa, the very artistic neighborhood of Rio, could not be out of the samba celebrations on Saturday, December 2nd, when the famous Samba dos Guimarães throws its great “roda de samba”. Starting from 7:30 PM, Samba dos Guimarães promises to make every samba lover dance and sing along until the late hours. Also performing as Samba dos Guimarães’ special guest will be group Samba do Xoxô.
Those who want to celebrate Samba’s National Day without leaving Zona Sul should check group Grapiúna on Sunday, December 3rd, at the Fuska Bar, in Humaitá. Composed of Pablo Abdelhay (flute), Fernando Mattoso (guitar), Marcos Tannuri (cavaquinho) and Nelson Léo (pandeiro), the group will perform contemporary and classic samba compositions starting from 6PM.