Carnival 2024: ten sambas that deserve your attention in the parades in Rio and SP

by

Maria Paula Giacomelli

The basis of a samba school parade, the samba-enredo goes far beyond singing and melody. The judges mainly evaluate the lyrics. And a good subject — combined with good composers, of course — invariably ends up making a song popular, in addition to bringing the much sought-after A rating at Carnival.

In Rio de Janeiro, a samba seems to be ahead in terms of “popular taste”. “Pede caju que dou… Pé de caju que dada”, by Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel, was a hit in a pre-dated way: written by actor Marcelo Adnet and veteran Paulinho Mocidade, among other composers, it was the most heard in the city on New Year’s Eve, according to data from Spotify.

Tiaraju Pablo D’Andrea, sociologist and researcher of the history of samba, highlights the lightness and hints of eroticism and mischief in the lyrics. One of the excerpts is “I want a tasty and meaty batch / Of those that have content, the sin is to devour / It’s just that this motto borders on anthropophagy / Go down the glottis, poetry / Ask for cashew and it’s enough!”. Easy choruses, lyrics with double meaning… D’Andrea says that Mocidade comes from two bad parades and now has everything to turn the game around.

“The cashew theme is surprising, it goes back to Brazilianness. It is part of Mocidade’s history to portray tropicalism. Samba is very light and popular”, says the professor, who also praises the tribute that Mangueira will pay to Alcione, the Marrom. For D’Andrea, the plot is “strong and brave”.

“[A Mangueira] It’s a samba school that has a black woman as president, Alcione is from Mangueira, so it’s an articulated issue of paying homage to internal strength”, he says. For him, the green and pink can be emotional when telling in his parade the story of life of the artist, “who came from Maranhão and conquered Brazil with her talent.”

The first night of parades in the special groups begins at the Anhembi Sambadrome, in the north of São Paulo. Two schools in the city will honor living people. Império de Casa Verde has Fafá de Belém as its theme, with the plot “the mystical cabocla in forest rituals”. The Green and White Shirt opens the avenue at 11:15 pm praising former player Adriano Imperador.

Tadeu Kaçula, sociologist and director of the Afro-Brazilian University, considers the tributes more than deserved, as well as well executed. “It’s interesting how Camisa draws a parallel between the orixá Oxóssi, patron saint of the school and warrior, with Adriano’s career path and places him as Emperor at the king’s school.”

The professor also draws attention to the plot of Rosas de Ouro, about the 70 years of Ibirapuera Park, in São Paulo. “The school is always very attentive and the subject is very important, a cultural reference and a postcard for the city.”

Vai-Vai, for him, was innovative in placing a story about hip-hop on the avenue, a symbol of resistance from the black and peripheral population. According to Kaçula, the school brings a new way of showing the importance of the movement. “The plot is admirably avant-garde when it brings Racionais MCs to the avenue. It’s a pulsating samba that’s easy to assimilate.”

Among the samba schools that have connections with organized football fans, he highlights Independente Tricolor, from São Paulo. Its plot intertwines the history of black Agojie women with contemporary women. According to the sociologist, “samba is very happy and with good melodic construction”, as well as a lot of quality in the way it tells a story.

“The approach from the African diaspora to contemporary times is beautiful, many things are still connected today. It is an important setting to discuss the debate on African culture.”

2023 champion, Imperatriz Leopoldinense is one of the favorites for this year’s title, in the opinion of Tiaraju Pablo D’Andrea. The school will bet its chips on gypsy culture to win its second title. Carnival artist Leandro Vieira will tell the story of the will left by a gypsy, known as Esmeralda, in Sapucaí.

“It plays with the northeastern aesthetic and at the same time popular and gypsy, which is in the Brazilian popular imagination. There are many aesthetic possibilities, besides the fact that samba is delicious.”

Portela rereads the book “Um Defeito de Cor”, by Ana Maria Gonçalves. He will talk at Sapucaí about an African mother who goes in search of her son, who was sold into slavery. The professor explains that, subliminally, the characters were inspired by Luísa Mahin and Luis Gama, and defines the lyrics as “the most poetic” among them all.

The plot is a reinterpretation of this book, in which Gama writes letters to his mother and thanks him for the lessons he learned, between struggles and the pride of being black. “It’s emotional, a samba that touches sensitivity in this retelling of a son who pays homage to his mother and that black men and women were able to be free through many struggles in Brazil.”

Grande Rio, in turn, has the jaguar as the subject of its parade. Not just her. In “Our destiny is to be a jaguar”, indigenous myths and symbols of the feline are present in different legends and rituals, with anthropophagy being present.

“It’s a reference to Brazil that feeds on external cultures and adds indigenous and African heritage and gives back a third thing. The samba is very good, poetic and dense, with alliteration and many words in indigenous languages. It’s a samba to be sung with desire”, he believes.

Source: Folha

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