In a ‘normal’ world, the largest street celebration would be starting today, February 12th. Cariocas and visitors alike, would be rushing to the streets to watch the parade, dance and enjoy the joyous atmosphere.
This year, however, the celebrations have been cancelled not only in Brazil but across the world.
Many people were longing for what this time of the year brings to the city of Rio de Janeiro: five nights of dancing, music, drinking, and parade watching.
Usually, Rio hosts a unique expression of carnival. Dozens of samba schools across the city spend months preparing for the carnival. Hundreds of designers, painters, musicians, seamstresses, sculptors and mechanics work to make this large endeavor possible.
1. What about this year?
Mangueira, one of Rio’s oldest samba schools will run live virtual shows on YouTube on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday from 3pm (6pm GMT), with a small samba band and online voting for the best song of the year. Portela, another traditional school and winner of a record 22 carnival parades, will be playing samba at midday (3pm GMT) on Sunday.
Formed in 2000, Monobloco attracts tens of thousands in the city centre. This year it will go online on Saturday (13 February) at 8.30pm (11.30 GMT). Watching Sargento Pimenta (Sergeant Pepper) is also a treat. It plays samba versions of the band’s songs. Some other virtual events can be found here.
For those travelers itching to go to Brazil once the situation improves, Journey Latin America’s new Virtual Travel Club will be hosting a live evening talk and Q&A on the country via Zoom on the 8th of June.
2. Some music, finally
The two Brazilian genres most famous outside the country are samba and bossanova. Many believe that both had their roots in Rio, though others propose that samba first happened in the state of Bahia. There are a dozen other genres to listen to including forró, batucada, choros, etc. Here are five teasers for you to enjoy:
The Girl from Ipanema by Tom Jobim (featuring Gal Costa, Joe Henderson, Herbie Hancock, Jon Hendricks, and other guests)
Bluesette by Toots Thielemans (Featuring Elis Regina)
Aquarela do Brasil by Ary Barroso (Ray Coniff and orcherstra)
Samba da Bênção by Vinicius de Moraes and Baden Powell – Maria Betania
Chiclete com Banana by Gilberto Gil (featuring Marjorie Estiano)