Brazil Travel

Carnival Street Processions

The streets at Carnival explode with bandas and street processions. Bandas showcase musicians and take place in specific parts of Rio. Street processions can be found in the local neighborhoods and often include Samba Schools that are not participating in the Samba Parade at the Sambodrome.

If you truly want to experience Carnival, joining a banda is one way to connect. A Banda or a Blocos is a street parade comprised of drums, singing and dancing. It is open to anyone who wants to follow and some Bandas expect you to wear a specific color (shirts are available for purchase on the streets). Two well-known parades are Banda Simpatia e Quase Amor (before Carnival) and Banda de Ipanema (before Carnival, Carnival Saturday, and Carnival Tuesday).

Banda de Ipanema
Banda de Ipanema takes place close to the beach in Praca General Osorio, home to the weekly arts and crafts fair Feira de Artezanato de Ipanema. Local color comes alive at this fair through the food, art, and music.

The Banda de Ipanema is lead by a community selected godmother or godfather who joins all the other revelers on the brilliantly decorated floats. This particular Banda begins in Ipanema and includes people outfitted in outrageous costumes from g-strings to drag queens to masks and bathing suits. The Banda de Ipanema parade began in 1965 and was established by Albino Pinheiro who led the parade until his passing at age 99. Partygoers are dressed in everything from body paint to full fledged costumes complete with sequins and feathers. A great samba beat pounds through the air, inviting all to dance and gyrate on the streets.

Banda de Ipanema
This parade includes a 50-piece percussion band with over 10,000 people gyrating, clapping, and observing from the streets of Ipanema.

Street Processions
The streets are full of music and movement as they come alive with the talents of the many Samba schools. Those schools that do not perform at the Sambodromo can be found spinning, swiveling, and revolving through the neighborhood streets. Anyone can join in the procession, alive with marching bands, Samba school dancers, and costumes of all shapes and sizes. All street processions are free of charge.

The street processions begin with a predetermined starting point where all neighborhood people come together. The bands engage in something called concentration, a show performed by the locals including seniors, drag queens, and children. The concentration part of the procession is known to stop traffic for hours. After the concentration section is complete, the band begins to proceed down the streets. The bands play all afternoon. You can find people coming together in these celebrations in the afternoon following a day at the beach or after engaging in other morning activities.

Two bands that captivate the Carnival crowds are Cordao de Bola Preta and Concentra Mas Nao Sai. The Cordao de Bola Preta begins playing in the morning, playing through the streets. The band ends the parade with a luncheon fête of a local delight of Brazilian stew (feijoada). Concentra Mas Nao Sai perform all afternoon, traveling along a course that includes the local watering holes. You see this group of merrymakers dancing the samba until dusk

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