Simpatia é Quase Amor shares the honor with Banda de Ipanema of opening Street Carnaval festivities in Rio. The first parade happens on Saturday one week before the official opening of Carnaval. The mostly young revelers take over the street lane of Ipanema Beach and dance and sing like there's no tomorrow! This is a free event, and you can also watch the rehearsal of a Samba School at the Sambodrome. Take advantage of the lower hotel rates, and enjoy Pre-Carnaval at its best!
The debut of Simpatia é Quase Amor was in 1985, 20 years after the first parade of Banda de Ipanema. The colors of Simpatia are lilac and yellow, chosen after the wrapping of ENGOV - a hangover pill.
Simpatia chooses a theme every year, in the likes of a Samba School. The rehearsals for the selection of the theme of the year create a sort of camaraderie among its members. The sale of T-shirts helps to cover costs. They also play popular marchinhas that all Cariocas know and can sing along with - including the city anthem Cidade Maravilhosa at the end of the parade.
How Everything Began
You do not have to participate in the rehearsals to join in, though. Just march and dance along, and before you know it you will be surrounded by fun-loving Cariocas having the time of their lives! It all started with less than 300 partiers that left from Praça General Osório towards Ipanema's beach lane, Av. Vieira Souto.
Simpatia originally followed the same route of Banda de Ipanema. Today they keep going along Av. Vieira Souto from Rua Teixeira de Mello all the way to Rua Anibal de Mendonça at Posto 10. Roughly from Praça General Osório until the border with Leblon. It never fails to be amazing!
The idea was to create an alternative to Ipanema residents and visitors to what was then becoming a more commercial Samba Parade. This is an event that can be attended by the whole family - including the children. Today Simpatia attracts as many as 20 thousand revelers.
Rehearsals are always very popular, too.Copacabana and Leblon residents. T-shirts and bermudas are more commonly seen than the exquisite costumes worn by impossible drag queens at Banda de Ipanema. Many people go with groups of friends. If you are by yourself, make friends.
Simpatia was born with a pedigree. It's first theme was composed by Aldir Blanc and Joao Bosco, and the first godmother was Isabel, a gold medalist of our Olympics volleyball team. The T-shirts that change in design every year, have been signed by artists of prestige, including Ziraldo and Lan.
Albino Pinheiro, the patron of Banda de Ipanema, once referred to Simpatia as a "quality byproduct of the Banda". The name comes from Esmeraldo, a character in a book by Aldir Blanc, and it means something like cheerfulness is almost love (doesn't translate well). Put on your happy face, and join in!
Simpatia marches twice every year. The first time is a on Saturday a week before Carnival. The second time is on Carnival Sunday. This is the same day that another band named Que Merda é Essa? takes over cross-street Garcia D'Ávila. To avoid a poeple jam they transfered the smaller band from Garcia to the morning.
A funny note is that most street gardens along Av. Vieira Souto are temporarily "fenced in" to avoid being turned to mush by the thousands of dancing feet. Please mind your manners. There are chemical toilets along the way, if you need them! People caught peeing in the streets are subject to heavy fines.
Simpatia é Quase Amor Video
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