By Oscar Maldonado, Contributing Reporter

Centro Cultural Carioca, photo by Rodrigo Soldon.
Centro Cultural Carioca, photo by Rodrigo Soldon.

RIO DE JANEIRO – Most would agree that Lapa is the heart of Rio nightlife. Rio Scenarium, Circo Voador, Cine Lapa, Teatro Odisséia and Democráticos are just some of the famous venues and dancehalls the neighborhood has to offer. Five minutes down the road though, in the Centro district, is the Centro Cultural Carioca.

Inside an old two-storey mansion located on Rua do Teatro, the Centro Cultural Carioca features some of the best dance nights in Rio’s downtown. The building was constructed in the early Twentieth Century and its heyday was between 1930 and 1960 under the name ‘Dancing El Dorado’. In those days, the venue featured some classic tunes by famous composers such as Pixinguinha.

Nowadays, the club can hold up to two hundred people. Surrounded by balconies and with impressive high-ceilings, the club remains of the main samba headquarters in Centro.

The Centro Cultural Carioca is a receptive space to partygoers of all ages, it is often frequented by young people along with couples in their sixties and seventies from a wide array of backgrounds. Among the main music genres showcased are some fusion styles, MPB, Forró and above all, Samba. And when it comes to samba, the Centro Cultural Carioca features one of the most prestigious Lapa-inspired Samba artists on the Rio de Janeiro music scene, Letícia Tuí.

Inside the venue, photo by
Inside the venue, photo by

In a set of over two hours, Letícia Tuí showcases the diversity of modern-day Samba. Accompanied by Durval Pereira e Silvão Silva (percussion), Bruno Cunha, (percussion and singing), Márcio Hulk (cavaquinho) e Evandro Lima (guitar), Tuí boasts an extensive catalogue that includes some of the most traditional and famous Sambas.

Hence, the singer pays homage to such artists like Clara Nunes, Cartola, Beth Carvalho, Alcione, Nelson Sargento, Dona Ivone Lara and Jackson do Pandeiro.

Night-time at the Centro Cultural Carioca usually kicks-off at 8:30 pm with lounge music, cocktails and snacks. At 10:30 pm, the show starts and the party goes on until 01:30 am. To keep the audience on their toes, Tuí’s performance is divided into three acts separated by fifteen-minute intervals. At the end of the show, the live music stops and the vocalists sing sambas by artists such as Chico Buarque, Caetano Veloso and Jorge Aragão.

Entry to Centro Cultural Carioca is R$20.


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