It’s Saturday afternoon in front of a shed in Vila Maria Baixa, in the north of São Paulo. People arrive, some with a more sporty style, others more elegant, ready for a party.
Boys wear shirts reminiscent of African fashion, while women show off their hair and dresses. No queues, everyone holds their tickets, purchased in advance, and are ready to watch the samba circle.
This is the atmosphere at the entrance to the party of Poeira Pura, a samba group from Rio that invades the capital of São Paulo every month, with a loyal audience.
Barbecue, bucket of beers, simple drinks and an aura of traditional samba, Poeira —as the locals call it— was born to transform and annoy supporters of the more traditional samba circle.
In the dark environment at the back of the warehouse, the musicians sit in a circle with their percussion instruments, as in a religious ceremony. The differential: it doesn’t have a vocalist, and that’s what makes samba energetic.
Mateus Professor, who shares the title of founder with Rogério Família, says that the idea is to have a dynamic samba that brings the culture of the macumba terreiros to the middle of the roda. “We’ve known each other for about 20 years and we were dissatisfied with many things involving samba culture in general”, he says.
The fact that the event’s audience is mostly black is an attraction for many. Luiz Henrique, who lives in Itaquera, in the eastern region, doesn’t miss a date at Poeira Pura, even though he travels for more than an hour to get to the party.
“At Poeira, all the blacks are beautiful, the girls are beautiful, the boys appear mounted, smelling. It’s like it was the Funilaria [balada na Bela Vista, na região central]only better.”
Inaugurated in December last year, the space was created by Marco Santos, from Rio de Janeiro and a longtime friend of the group’s samba musicians. It was he who had the idea of setting up a samba circle in this format in São Paulo, and he could only achieve this by bringing in samba dancers from Rio de Janeiro.
Another attraction is the price of drinks. A 700ml caipirinha, with six options of fruit, costs R$25. A canned beer starts at R$6. Santos says that the prices are affordable so that everyone can enjoy them. “The shed is a black house, a samba house and also a house of plurality, where everyone is welcome.”
Poeira Pura is also remembered for the sense of belonging shared by black people on the group’s social media. The media work on Instagram is another differential of the event. “We built an aggressive, sensual image, connected with society’s debates”, says Rogério Família.
The samba that starts at 4 pm and ends promptly at 10 pm ends up leaving the public at the height of their excitement — and making out. On the way out, most comment on the next meeting point of the night: Samba do Cruz, at Casa Verde, also in the northern region.
At a distance of 8 km from the shed is Espaço Cruz da Esperança, a sports club founded in 1958, with a soccer field. It is in this place that one of the most commented sambas of the moment takes place.
The first time can be a little scary. Upon arriving at Rua Marambaia, 802 —where the space is located—, a blue gate hides a dark dirt road, located between a soccer field on the left and a stream. In the five-minute walk, in the distance, you can see the arches of the Anhembi Sambadrome. A little closer, the club bar appears with a long queue.
Unlike Poeira Pura, Samba do Cruz is free and takes place on Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays. But what makes the same audience involved is that the place is also frequented mostly by black people.
Before the tambourine sounds, DJ VJ Nó is in charge of the dance floor, who also shows videos of events made in the space on a large screen, in which he himself appears as master of ceremony and interviewer, as in a wedding recording.
The space fills up quickly and around 11 pm the pagoda begins, invading the early hours with no time to end. The circle prioritizes songs with Candomblé points, such as songs by Martinho da Vila and Zeca Pagodinho, and samba hits created in the Cacique de Ramos court, such as Fundo de Quintal, Jorge Aragão and Beth Carvalho. This musical curation makes all the difference in the climate.
For Vanessa Santos, who has attended samba since 2021, the space was full again on Saturdays because of Poeira Pura. “The crowd leaves there and the only quality black samba in the region is Cruz. The blacks leave one macumba circle and come to another.”
At Cruz, the drink is priced a little higher. A can of beer costs R$10, and a glass of Kariri cachaça with lemon and honey, one of the most ordered drinks at the bar, costs R$15.
The success of parties that rescue the black identity of São Paulo, such as Samba do Cruz and Poeira Pura, is a sign that on the margins of the capital the high party sounds stronger.
Poeira Pura – Galpão ZN – R. Severa, 212, Vila Maria Baixa, north region. Dates: 1st and 2nd of July. Tickets: R$15 to R$45. dustpura.com
Samba do Cruz – Espaço Cruz da Esperança – R. Marambaia, 802, Casa Verde. Fri., Sat., and Mon. Instagram @samba_do_cruzz
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