Friday, January 22, 2010

Carnaval season has begun

It’s almost 1:00 pm and Luiz is still asleep. We got home at 4:00 am last night (this morning). Carnaval season has officially gotten started for us. Yesterday we went to Beija Flor da Nilópolis’ rehearsal. I love me some community partying.

In two cars we drove the 40 minutes or so to get to Nilópolis, a suburb of Rio and very proud home of the Beija Flor samba school. Beija Flor (Humming Bird) is a 60 year old school (community carnaval organization) that has taken first place in Rio’s annual competition in 5 of the past 7 years. The enthusiasm for this school runs high and is widespread.

Thursday night is rehearsal night and the entire neighborhood turns out. The street in front of the quadra (club space, rehearsal hall) is shut down and packed with food, beverage and T-shirt vendors. Everyone from 75 year old revelers who have been parading with Beija Flor since the beginning to 10 year old soon-to-be passistas (featured, celebrated, samba beauties extraordinaire) with their older sister are gathering in the hall to sing and dance – and learn their choreography.

The bateria (300+ member percussion group) pounded out the rhythm while a group of men sang the samba – again, and again, and again – for hours. It never got old. In fact it was hypnotizing and energizing

We hung out in a corner next to the Baianas ala (parade section featuring senior women) while they dutifully kept in line waiting for the word to march forward and rehearse.

Nothing but smiles. Everywhere smiles. Everyone dancing. All night.

Have I mentioned that I love Brazil?

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