Rio sets aside political unrest as 2,000,000 people join world’s biggest carnival

0
557
Rio sets aside political unrest as 2,000,000 people join world’s biggest carnival

A glittering parade of samba schools strutted through Brazil’s capital as performers blended political protests with a return to the country’s roots.

Two million people took to the streets as part of the festival, which has occurred since the 1400s.

More than 70,000 people sang at the top of their voices Monday night as the final seven elite samba schools unveiled their flamboyant costumes and giant decorated floats and sashayed past enthusiastic neighborhood locals in the city’s Sambadrome.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - MARCH 04: A member of Mangueira Samba School performs during the parade at 2019 Brazilian Carnival at Sapucai Sambadrome on March 04, 2019 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Rio's two nights of Carnival parades began on March 03 in a burst of fireworks and to the cheers of thousands of tourists and locals who have previously enjoyed street celebrations (known as 'blocos de rua') all around the city. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

A member of Mangueira Samba School performs during the parade at 2019 Brazilian Carnival at Sapucai Sambadrome (Picture: Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

Viviane Araujo of the Samba School Salgueiro during a parade of the 2019 Carnival Special Group at the Sambodromo Marques do Sapucai in the city of Rio de Janeiro this Monday, 04. (Photo: William Volcov / Brazil Photo Press Pictured: Ref: SPL5069787 050319 NON-EXCLUSIVE Picture by: Brazil Photo Press / SplashNews.com Splash News and Pictures Los Angeles: 310-821-2666 New York: 212-619-2666 London: 0207 644 7656 Milan: 02 4399 8577 photodesk@splashnews.com World Rights,

Viviane Araujo of the Samba School Salgueiro during a parade (Picture: William Volcov / Brazil Photo Press/SplashNews.com)

The first school of 2,500 dancers and musicians sashayed past the crowds and judges at a reasonable hour Monday evening, but the last only did so at the crack of dawn this morning.

As they do every year, Brazilians briefly forgot their woes – including the economic crisis, bitter political divisions, massive corruption scandals and a sky-high murder rate – and instead focused on showcasing the world’s biggest party.

The fiesta serves as a cathartic coming together for the city, reflecting the joy, suffering and dreams of its denizens.

‘It’s another way of crying. And protesting: we are alive!’ said an editorial in the daily O Globo newspaper on Monday.

Performers from the Mangueira samba school parade during Carnival celebrations at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, March 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

Performers from the Mangueira samba school (Picture: AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

(190305) -- RIO DE JANEIRO, March 5, 2019 (Xinhua) -- Revellers of the samba school "Sao Clemente" attend the parades of the Rio Carnival 2019 at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on March 4, 2019. The parade of the special group samba school concluded on Tuesday. (Xinhua/Li Ming) PHOTOGRAPH BY Xinhua / Barcroft Images

Revellers of the samba school ‘Sao Clemente’ (Picture: Xinhua/Li Ming/Barcroft Media)

(190305) -- RIO DE JANEIRO, March 5, 2019 (Xinhua) -- Revellers of the samba school "Portela" attend the parades of the Rio Carnival 2019 at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on March 5, 2019. The parade of the special group samba school concluded on Tuesday. (Xinhua/Li Ming) PHOTOGRAPH BY Xinhua / Barcroft Images

Dancers from the ‘Portela’ samba school (Picture: Xinhua/Barcroft Images)

(190305) -- RIO DE JANEIRO, March 5, 2019 (Xinhua) -- Revellers of the samba school "Sao Clemente" attend the parades of the Rio Carnival 2019 at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on March 4, 2019. The parade of the special group samba school concluded on Tuesday. (Xinhua/Li Ming) PHOTOGRAPH BY Xinhua / Barcroft Images

One of the huge ‘Sao Clemente’ school’s floats (Picture: Xinhua/Li Ming/Barcroft Images)

This year’s crowd included celebrities such as Brazil and PSG star Neymar, back in his homeland receiving treatment for a foot injury, who was seen at the stadium with funk singer Anita.

Rio de Janeiro had been battered by torrential summer rains in the hours leading up to the start of the parade on Sunday before the skies cleared just as the first samba school entered the spotlight.

Sunday saw a display of spectacular floats featuring giant flamboyant birds, slave ships, the Roman Colosseum in addition to the traditional scantily clad dancers in exotic headdresses throbbing to the deafening beat of drum bands.

(190305) -- RIO DE JANEIRO, March 5, 2019 (Xinhua) -- Revellers of the samba school "Vila Isabel" attend the parades of the Rio Carnival 2019 at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on March 4, 2019. The parade of the special group samba school concluded on Tuesday. (Xinhua/Li Ming) PHOTOGRAPH BY Xinhua / Barcroft Images

Members of the ‘Vila Isabel’ (Picture: Xinhua/Li Ming/Barcroft Images)

(190305) -- RIO DE JANEIRO, March 5, 2019 (Xinhua) -- A float of the samba school "Portela" attends the parades of the Rio Carnival 2019 at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on March 5, 2019. The parade of the special group samba school concluded on Tuesday. (Xinhua/Li Ming) PHOTOGRAPH BY Xinhua / Barcroft Images

A float of the samba school ‘Portela’ (Picture: Xinhua/Li Ming/Barcroft Images)

Members of the Paraiso do Tuiuti samba school perform during the second night of Rio's Carnival parade at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil early on March 4, 2019. (Photo by CARL DE SOUZA / AFP)CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images

One of the ‘Paraiso do Tuiuti’ performers (Picture: CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)

A member of the Paraiso do Tuiuti samba school performs during the second night of Rio's Carnival parade at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil early on March 4, 2019. (Photo by CARL DE SOUZA / AFP)CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images

Another from the same school (Picture: CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)

S?O PAULO, SP - 05.03.2019: CARNIVAL SP 2019 SAMBA SCHOOL PARADE - Emperor of Ipiranga parades with the strength of the community, raising the level of the parade in the Samb?dromo of Anhembi. S?o Paulo, March 05, 2019. (Photo: Van Campos/Fotoarena)

The Emperor of Ipiranga (Picture: Van Campos/Fotoarena/Photoshot/Avalon.red)

TOPSHOT - Members of the Paraiso do Tuiuti samba school perform during the second night of Rio's Carnival parade at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil early on March 4, 2019. (Photo by CARL DE SOUZA / AFP)CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images

More from the ‘Paraiso do Tuiuti’ samba school (Picture: CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)

March 5, 2019 - Rio De Janeiro, RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - March 5, 2019..- Rio De Janeiro, , RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL, ..Portela Samba School parading in Sapucai..March 5, 2019..??? Paraty, Rio De Janeiro, : Fabio Teixeira / ZUMA Wire Zuma / eyevine For further information please contact eyevine tel: +44 (0) 20 8709 8709 e-mail: info@eyevine.com www.eyevine.com

Performers from the ‘Portela’ samba school (Picture: Fabio Teixeira/Zuma Press/eyevine)

A member of Paraiso do Tuiuti samba school performs during the second night of Rio's Carnival parade at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on March 5, 2019. (Photo by Mauro Pimentel / AFP)MAURO PIMENTEL/AFP/Getty Images

A dancer from the ‘Paraiso do Tuiuti’ group (Picture: MAURO PIMENTEL/AFP/Getty Images)

But once again the carnival served as canvas for political messages, sending up the ‘circus’ of the political capital Brasilia or condemning widespread corruption and a growing intolerance towards the black and LGBT communities.

Those messages appeared to be directed pointedly at Bolsonaro, notorious before the election for race-baiting, sexist and homophobic comments.

thumbnail for post ID 8825490Teen ‘spiked stepfather’s energy drinks with cow tranquilizers “to be funny'”

The parade Monday night continued that satirical theme. The prestigious Mangueira school caused a stir with a theme of popular heroes from Brazilian history who do not feature in school textbooks, mostly from the traditionally neglected black and indigenous communities.

The highlight of that parade was a homage to Marielle Franco, a black city councilor and human rights activist from one of the city’s poor favela neighborhoods who was shot dead last year.

Another highly anticipated display was from the Portela school, which holds a record 22 carnival wins and partnered French fashion guru Jean-Paul Gaultier to design its dancers’ costumes.

It highlighted Brazil’s roots by celebrating the memory of Clara Nunes, an icon of the 1970s samba scene and the first artist to defend the rights of African-Brazilian religions.

A member of Mangueira samba school performs during the second night of Rio's Carnival parade at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on March 5, 2019. (Photo by Mauro Pimentel / AFP)MAURO PIMENTEL/AFP/Getty Images

A member of ‘Mangueira’ samba school (Picture: Mauro Pimentel/AFP/Getty Images)

epa07414537 Members of the samba school of the Grupo Especial Mocidade Alegre take part in the traditional carnival parade at Marques de Sapucai sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 05 March 2019. The samba schools of the Rio de Janeiro Special Groups begin their parades on Sunday at the sambadrome, considered the main attraction of the carnival in Brazil and the greatest outdoor show in the world. EPA/Marcelo Chello

One of the performers from the ‘Grupo Especial Mocidade Alegre’ (Picture: EPA/Marcelo Chello)

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - MARCH 04: Camila Silva dances during Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel performance at the Rio de Janeiro Carnival at Sambodromo on March 4, 2019 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Raphael Dias/Getty Images)

Camila Silva dances during the ‘Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel’ performance (Picture: Raphael Dias/Getty Images)

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - MARCH 04: Queen of Percussion Camila Silva of Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel during the parade at 2019 Brazilian Carnival at Sapucai Sambadrome on March 04, 2019 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Rio's two nights of Carnival parades began on March 03 in a burst of fireworks and to the cheers of thousands of tourists and locals who have previously enjoyed street celebrations (known as 'blocos de rua') all around the city. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

Queen of Percussion Camila Silva of the ‘Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel’ (Picture: Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

The show also celebrated the resilience of the sambas schools themselves, whose subsidies from the city have been slashed since Marcelo Crivella, a former Evangelical pastor, became mayor in 2017.

The carnival has also tamped down its traditional feel of debauchery, which normally draws around 1.5 million visitors to the ‘Marvelous City’, including foreign tourists with their much-needed cash.

But for Jairo Machado, a dancer with the Beija-Flor samba school, it would take more than budget cuts or torrential rain to dampen the legendary party-goers’ enthusiasm.

‘Despite the weak investment by the city, the schools have overcome all that, they have managed to throw a good carnival,’ he said.

A performer from the Mangueira samba school parades during Carnival celebrations at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, March 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Performers from the ‘Mangueira’ samba school (Picture: AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Alamy Live News. RW787A Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 05th Mar, 2019. Evelyn Bastos Queen of the Mangueira Samba School during a parade of the 2019 Carnival Special Group at the Sambodromo Marques do Sapucai in the city of Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday, 05. (Photo: William Volcov / Brazil Photo Press) Credit: Brazil Photo Press/Alamy Live News This is an Alamy Live News image and may not be part of your current Alamy deal . If you are unsure, please contact our sales team to check.

Evelyn Bastos, Queen of the ‘Mangueira’ samba school (Picture: Brazil Photo Press/Alamy Live News)

The judges are to announce the winner of the samba contest tomorrow and will base their decision on three criteria: the inventiveness of the floats, the theme of parade, and the quality of the dancing in the sambadrome.

For the schools, that means months of work to make the costumes, build the floats, rehearse their dance steps and learn their songs, making winning a huge prize for a school and its local community.

Read More

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here