Mar 3, 2011

Block Party

The main attraction of Rio´s Carnaval is the famous parade of the Samba Schools in the Sambadrome at night. But during the day there is much parading and merrymaking to be done. During the days leading up to, during, and after Carnaval, there are the blocos. Blocos are Carnaval street bands that parade around the streets, often on top of moving trucks, with crowds of fans parading after them, dancing samba, singing, wearing funky costumes and drinking. In Rio, they are free and fantastic. Last weekend there were 63 different bloco performances going on in the city. I only made two of them. One per day. That´s tiring enough. I tried to make two others, but the blocos tend to start at times different than scheduled so as to avoid overcrowding. Over 500,000 people were attending the blocos on the beach of Ipanema/Leblon on Sunday.

As quoted by Stone Korshak of the Rio Times ``Public gatherings of this size anywhere else in the world would be either alcoholic free and/or topple governments.``

There´s a Chico Buarte song about a carnival band and how everyone and everything stops when it plays. Here are two stanzas translated into English.

The serious man who had money, he stopped
The lighthouse keeper who had benefits stopped
The girlfriend who had the stars,
She stopped to watch, listen and give way

The weak old man forgot the tiredness and thought
Qu'inda was too young to go out and danced on the terrace
The ugly girl looked out the window
Thinking that the band played for her

The original song can be heard here.

Here are some photos of some of the ones I have been to:

Banda de Ipanema warming up
Sympatia é Quase Amor bloco throwing ribbons in the air
The crowd going wild for Empolga às 9 at Ipanema Beach
Followed by a concert on Ipanema Beach

Parading with the Mendigos bloco
Carnaval starts this weekend. And I must say, the blocos are more than ready! 

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