This past Saturday night we were invited with friends to the music hall of G.R.E.S. Acadêmicos do Salgueiro.
This is one of Rio’s many samba schools that keep the world of carnival and samba spinning. Although they are referred to as schools, they do not teach, instead they are neighborhood social clubs with lifelong supporters. Saturday night was a dance night, and people came dressed in Salgueiro’s colors of red and white; it looked like we were attending a sports match. There were food and drink vendors and people stood in groups socializing or surrounded the stage and the dancers.
There were the younger expert dancers with fast and furious footwork, gyrating hips, and whirling arms, but there was also a large contingent of older women who I learned are called Baianas. They were wearing headscarves and matching red and white striped shirts, but during the Carnival parade they wear huge skirts and spin in circles down the parade route. I remember how amazing their costumes were this past Carnival. Some of these women are said to be in their 90’s, their stamina is amazing! The Baiana tradition comes from the Northern state of Bahia, and the clothing style is based in their African roots.
This is one of the Baiana dresses from Carnival 2015 – notice the roasted pigs and wooden cooking spoons as embellishments.
Baiana Shrine and photos from previous Carnivals
We met the Mestre de Bateria, the drum and percussion director who must be a very experienced musician because he is charged with conducting all of the musicians who keep the samba beat lively and strong throughout.
There were multiple flag couples; I assume they will be vying for the honor of carrying the school’s flag in the parade. Actually the woman, the porta-bandeira, carries the flag while the man, the mestre-sala, escorts her.
This Saturday’s samba night had something to do with picking the school’s song for Carnival 2016. Once the song is chosen they play it over and over and over so everyone can learn the words and practice dancing, drumming, flag waving, and spinning. I still have the song playing in my head 🙂
Here’s a mix of the fun.