The Samba Parade happened on February 22 and 23. Rio is celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the Sambodrome. The structure designed by architect Niemeyer to be home to the greatest show on earth is actually named Passarela Darcy Ribeiro. It has witnessed memorable events and this year was no exception.
As part of the celebration, some samba schools were allowed to use their most successful themes from previous years. The result was thousands of Cariocas singing along songs that they grew up listening to. Imperio Serrano went back all the way to 1964 with Aquarela Brasileira, one of the most successful sambas of all times. Tradição, an offspring of Portela, came with popular Contos de Areia of 1984. It was enthusiastically sung by samba diva Alcione. Viradouro had probably the most catchy original tune. The chorus, asking the Holy Virgin to protect us and bring peace, could later be heard at Banda de Ipanema and other street festivities.
Grande Rio chose safe sex as a theme. Carnavalesco Joaozinho Trinta had some daring wings and floats. One of them represented a love motel, with suites filled with both traditional and same-sex couples. One of their floats depicting the Kama Sutra was even censored. The school was not qualified, and Joaozinho was fired. Unidos da Tijuca surprised with a new designer, and scored better than traditional schools like Mangueira and Imperatriz.
Carnival muses were absent at the Samba Parade. Luma de
Oliveira and Valeria Valenssa were
respectively too early and too late in their pregnancies to
face the samba runway. To compensate, Luisa Brunet was
prettier than ever as the godmother of Imperatriz. Two other
notable female presences made the headlines. Dercy
Gonçalves, a 97-year old comedienne was the star of a
Salgueiro float. Dodo da Portela, young in her 84, was
awarded the prize Estandarte de Ouro for her performance as
the godmother of the percussion band. We sent our team to
capture first hand images of Banda
de Ipanema and Samba Parade 2004 for you. See also reviews of Carnival
2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999 and 1998.