Salgueiro Samba School
The Salgueiro Samba School is one of the most amazing experiences you will
ever have. Imagine an enormous room with food and drink vendors, an enormous stage
and a room filled with people. The music played throughout the night is very different
and everyone dances to it. At a point in the night the most amazing drums you will
ever hear kick in and it is almost as if it’s a marching band playing the beat to
the singers on stage. This is a must!
The Salgueiro Samba School that we visited is one of the more highly-respected schools
in Rio de Janeiro. This was our last night in Rio and it was definitely an exciting
way to exit the city. I am no expert on samba music but even my neophyte ear noticed
the top-notch quality of the band playing that night. Earlier in the night the band
was playing music from last year's Carnaval and toward the end of the night Salgueiro
(which means willow in English) gave a preview of what they would be playing at
the next Carnaval.
The show was very impressive; this year's Carnaval performance
will have a percussion theme and this was shown by the drum line band that was playing
above the crowd on the second floor. The music was so rhythmic and powerful that
even I, who never dances, could not help but move my feet to the music. Our group
eventually found its way to the dance floor. Many of us were trying to samba while
others gave up and were just having a good time doing their own dance. We caught
the attention of many Carioca around us; some laughed at our attempts at the samba
while others were very happy to see that we were having a great time in their country.
The Salgueiro Samba School was by far the best nightlife experience I had in Brazil.
There were people of all ages there and a good mix of music and dancing. There were
people doing samba and forró, which I had seen before, and also some new dances
that I was just being introduced to. There were two bands that gave two very different
experiences of the Brazilian culture. The first band seemed to be more influenced
by the Portuguese culture, while the second band was more African influenced. The
African band used a lot of percussion and reminded me of a HBCU (Historically Black
Colleges and Universities) marching band. With all the excitement stemming from
the people and the energy coming from the bands, the Salgueiro Samba School definitely
seemed to be the group’s favorite Brazilian nightlife experience.
Note: We learned that Salgueiro was named the 2009 champion samba school in Rio