The famous, wild and irresistible “clima do Carnaval” has already been heating up all over Brazil for weeks. From Friday until this coming Ash Wednesday, all bets are off, pleasure and hedonism rule and the world’s most famous giant party takes over.
One member of the Uma Nota community taking part in this year’s festivities is Jon Medow, the musical director of Toronto’s Samba Elégua and a drummer in samba master Maninho Costa’s Batucada Carioca. He’s been in Rio since early February on his first trip to Brazil (following a trip to Argentina), and he’s arrived tearing it up on the samba front at just the right time. A talented drummer who plays several instruments from the escola de samba bateria tradition like a hard-hitting Carioca himself, Jon has managed to get right in there with some of the Rio street blocos and now, we can confirm, in the bateria of an escola de samba.
Up there with Rio, another of the most popular Brazilian cities during Carnaval — for sheer music and joy overload, not to mention the definition of “multidão” (huge, packed to the gills crowds) — is of course Salvador da Bahia, the birthplace of the “trio elétrico” (among countless other Brazilian cultural manifestations, predominantly Afro-Brazilian ones!). This year, worldwide viewers and social media-happy Brazilians can watch live streaming video of the many shows around Salvador on a new YouTube channel created to showcase the festivities and allow people to interact online to comment on them. (More from the Google Blog here, hat tip to Electric Joshua.) [tubepress video=nEVzpKFxodQ] Meanwhile back in “terras frias,” Toronto isn’t missing its turn to party down. This year the annual Brazilian community’s Carnaval bash, produced by the lovely and talented (and “Brasileirissima”) Angela Mesquita, also puts Bahia in focus as the region of Brazil selected as the theme of this year’s festa. Local stars Banda Bracatum rock their mix of samba-reggae, funk, horns and Afro-Brazilian tunes along with Bob Marley and Stevie Wonder adaptations, all led by Contra-Mestre Bola of Capoeira Camará and more in the action-packed band. Singer Cibelle Iglesias and Adrianna Yanuziello’s dance troupe Dance Migration will also perform a special piece prepared for the Bahia-themed party. And Maninho Costa, freshly arrived from his hometown Rio (where he just finished a performance run of the show A Febre do Samba, on the history of the samba-enredo), will lead Batucada Carioca in a set of classic Carnaval anthems by the great escolas de samba including two giants, the heavily Afro-influenced Vila Isabel and the often-Bahia-themed Mangueira. Toronto-bound (revelers) can get their fix this Saturday night. Details here. Feliz Carnaval a todos! Happy Carnaval to all!