One of the samba schools that the group visited was Salgueiro in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Salgueiro is one of the most popular samba schools during the Carnaval celebration. Early in the week we went to Samba City (a Cidade do Samba) where we got a chance to see the floats under construction and the themes chosen by the twelve major samba schools for upcoming Carnaval competition. At the end of our stay in Rio, at 11 pm we went to Salgueiro’s club pavilion for a show; the percussionists, singers and dancers were already gearing up in preparation for Carnaval 2009. This show was the equivalent of a pep rally in the United States where people enjoy music from the band and have fun. This, however, was a lot different than anything in the US. As soon as the live music started, which was comprised of drums and tambourine-like instruments, people started dancing. Dancers of all ages did various styles of samba and showed off how fast they could move. This experience was mind-blowing—from the energy of the crowd to the level of dance expertise. It was truly a night to remember.
Another samba group (bloco) we visited was Ilê Aiyê located in Salvador, Brazil. This Afro-Brazilian cultural association is based in Liberdade, the largest black population neighborhood in Brazil—600,000. (http://www.ileaiye.org.br/index2.htm) At Ilê Aiyê we also attended a show in preparation for Carnaval 2009. The music involved many types of drums. Once again, we could feel the high energy level and the beat of the drums had everyone on their feet dancing. At the Ilê Aiyê show people danced together so rambunctiously that it made us think a fight would break out. This was not the case, however, as many dancers were simply showing their enthusiasm for the music and their fellow dancers did not seem to mind the contact.
After going to both of the samba shows I was filled with mixed emotions. Overall I enjoyed both shows, but I enjoyed Salgueiro more than Ilê Aiyê because the former was more exciting. This was because of all of the different things Salgueiro had to offer. They had a type of pageant contest early in the evening and many other events throughout the night. Salgueiro was also good because of the constant dancing, energetic music and friendly people. Even though I liked Salgueiro more than Ilê Aiyê I felt that Ilê Aiyê had the best music. The various rhythmic beats of the drums had most of us dancing. The dance styles were very interesting. Many people danced the samba together in a circle. At Ilê Aiyê the dancing styles were a lot different and more individualistic. On the other hand at Salgueiro we met people who made us feel right at home and made the experience that much more enjoyable I thought this was the best night of the trip and many of my classmates agreed.
Video of Ilê Aiyê