Finally_ Rio Blocos de Carnaval Explained- Rio Street Carnival Bands

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Finally_ Rio Blocos de Carnaval Explained- Rio Street Carnival Bands Powered By Docstoc
					On this article we will review how the first Rio street carnival bands were organized
in Brazil and why they became a tremendous success over the last 3 years! Rio Street
Carnaval bands, also called "Blocos de Carnaval", "Blocos de Rua" or simply
"blocos" - (pronounced blo´ku sh in Portuguese) are some of the names given
to "free for all" popular groups of revelers & merry-makers in Rio. As you will see
below, Rio street partying has been re-energized over the last years, and today most of
the young, beautiful and lively Cariocas remain in Rio and take part in some of the
450 "Blocos de Carnaval" existing in town. These street Carnival bands, groups or
"blocos" are identified by their names, types of songs they play or neighborhoods
where they were established in. Some of the reasons for the recent success of these
"blocos" is that everyone is free to express themselves in their own style at the
"marching routes" and also since there is no competition between the bands. You
don´t have to pay a dime to join and it´s, by far, Rio´s most
popular, democratic and vibrant carnival expression. Here, you will discover how the
Carnival bands/groups were born and survived through the culture of Carnaval in

On this small history of Rio´s street carnival, you will also understand why
they became an impressive fever over the past 4 years, and recruited in one evening
more than 700,000 people in Rio´s most important financial avenue. We will
also describe their historical origins, nature, and appoint some of the most famous and
irreverent "blocos de Carnaval".

Origins of the Blocos de Rua - Street Carnival Bands

"Blocos de Rua", in accordance with some carnaval historians, represent modern
versions of old "cordões" (earlier forms of Carnival processions and parades in
Brazil). At first, only a small group of people used to participate on this popular
expression. Initially, most of them were bohemians who spent the nights in
Rio´s South Zone bars, where the bands were created - but, independently on
the 'non slept hours', still had energy to party all day long on the Rio streets....(And
sometimes would end up their partying time with a refreshing sea bath at the beach. )
Slowly, these individuals started to organize themselves and draw attention from other
members of Rio´s society, including Brazilian Popular Music (MPB) musicians,
artists, and workers from very different professional backgrounds.

The first official "bloco" - Banda de Ipanema - arose in the 60's, inspired by Rio party
maker Albino Pinheiro, and some friends who saw in the city of Ubá, ( in the
state of Minas Gerais) a small musical band parade on the streets of the tiny city.
Albino, who used to get together with famous Rio de Janeiro bohemians like Darwin
Brandão, Claudio Pinheiro, Jaguar, Ziraldo, Ferreira Gullar, Ferdy Carneiro,
Roniquito, China, Armando Rosário in the bars called "Zeppelin", "Veloso" and
"Jangadeiro", hurried to get everything organized for the first parade of their band.
This first "bloco" promoted a parade in Rio streets for the first time in 1965, having
30 shy revelers dressed in white suits, carrying musical instruments which they did
not know even how to play. (They left this task to the Navy Marines Band, hired to
cheer the parade.) From then on, these Cariocas re-discovered the nineteenth century
revelers´ formula of having fun, in a free, irreverent and healthy way.

Banda de Ipanema street band inspired the creation of similar bands and "blocos", all
of them aiming at having great enjoyment in a closer environment. These lively
revelers also wanted to promote the revival of the neighborhood / local Carnaval
merry-making, which was forgotten and had lost some space for the Carnival Balls.
Each of these bands also revealed and reveal to a certain extent, the particular way of
living and thinking of members of that specific band.

The second street band created in Rio de Janeiro was Leme's, founded a few years
after the "Banda de Ipanema". Its official 1st parade took place on February 6, 1971
when a small group of revelers delivered the number one member certificate to the
Governor in charge Negrão de Lima. Having no competitive spirit, and having
many of its components living in Ipanema, Banda do Leme came up with a more
ambitious parade program: leaving every Saturday in February and on the four days
of the Rio Carnaval. Some directors, like Alfredo Carlos and Pinheiro soon realized
there were economical problems in this task. Having no sponsorship, Alfredo thought
it would not be difficult to obtain some money from the neighborhood residents, but
considered this method inefficient: Who would be in charge? He thought soon the
band would lose its authenticity, whilst transforming the band into a "club".

In 1973 for example, trying to solve this problem, owners from Restaurant "La
Fiorentina" at Leme wanted to pay 50 per cent of the expenses case the band gathered
in front of that establishment, but this proposal did not move forward since it would
break the band´s tradition to gather on Atlântica Avenue, corner of Rua
Antonio Vieira Street. Resisting to many obstacles, "Banda do Leme" thrived through
the 70´s and 80´s presenting in its parades artists like Emilinha Borba,
Clovis Bornay, Brazilian popular singer Tim Maia, conductor Erlon Chaves,
Sérgio Bittencourt, Haroldo Costa, and Iris Letieri to name a few. Some of
these celebrities and personalities would march in the parade in old and colorful
convertible cars, most of them offered by the executive Salomão Saad.

Nature and Characteristics

One of the main differences from street bands from regular samba-schools is that they
include brass instruments in their orchestra. Samba-schools by definition are not
allowed to have bass instruments like saxophones, trumpets, trombones and also
according to the Carnival Regulation Committees in Rio. Another important
differentiation aspect is that the Blocos invite everyone to join at the marching route;
you don´t have to be a supporter or affiliated with the band. A third important
difference between Samba-schools and the "blocos" is they follow a pre-determined
route on the streets, and not at the Sambadrome. (Some of the "blocos" though, prefer
not to follow any route and play still on a square or in particular corner of a street.)
The fourth important differentiation point is the clothing: Members may come dressed
anyway they want, in carnival costumes, bathing suits, plain clothes, special T-shirts,
or simply not dressed. Finally, samba-schools have a number of pre-determined of
wings and each of these wings are dressed accordingly to the Carnival Producer or
Costume Director. In case of the Rio Street Carnaval bands, there are no "wings" -
everybody is packed up in a mega flock of people. (The only exception is the
musician's wing.)

The "blocos de rua" today are still being created when groups of friends with a
common interest (neighborhood, work place, leisure etc.) decide to march together
with a carnival orchestra. At a second moment, the carnival street band usually creates
its own flag, color and themes, etc. which will be used at the parade. Finally, they
have to register with the tourism department in Rio. You can start up a "carnaval
bloco" with 30 members, and if you are lucky and successful, you can find drive more
than 500,000 people to your "own" parade. This is the beauty of the street bands.
Everything is possible.

Today, we can surely point out that the "Blocos de Rua / Blocos de Carnaval" reflects
Rio´s current Carnival charm and style, and are certainly in vogue amongst
native Cariocas and Brazilians from all of the country. In 2010, the police department
of Rio estimated that 3 million people took part of Rio´s street carnival
partying, beating Salvador at Bahia. Some of the best "Blocos de Carnaval" are
located at Ipanema, Santa Teresa, Copacabana, Botafogo, Flamengo, Leblon,
Gávea, Jardim Botânico, and Tijuca. There is even a street band at the
charming Paquetá Island at Rio´s Guanabara Bay! Below, readers can
find a current list of the most diverse, lively and fun Street Carnaval Bands in Rio de

Badalo de Santa Teresa
Bafo da Onça
Bagunça Meu Coreto"Banda De Ipanema
Bloco da Ansiedade
Bloco das Piranhas
Bloco de Segunda
Bloco Imprensa Que Eu Gamo
Cordao Bola Preta
Cordão do Boitatá
Empolga as 9
Imprensa que Gamo
Mulheres de Chico
Orquestra Voadora
Simpatia E Quase Amor
Volta, Alice

Next time in Rio, try not to miss some of these colorful and diverse "blocos de
carnaval"! Authors note: On this article, the Portuguese terms "blocos de carnaval,
"blocos de rua" and "blocos" were used at different moments to help the
understanding of new Carnival texts readers. They all have practically same meaning
and are synonyms to a certain extent.

Also, we used to the word "carnival" to express the general pre-lent festivity
expression and "Carnaval" to specify the Brazilian version of the Carnival, which is
appropriately called "Carnaval".

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