Brazilian Carnival | Bloco dos Gringos 2020

Post Aurhor: Dam Esteves (March 30th, 2020)

One country: Brazil, One state: Rio de Janeiro, One word: Samba.

These words above (Brazil, Rio de Janeiro and Samba) explain a lot about ourselves and our most deep feelings as musicians.

The year is 2020, the month is February and there we are: Training hard during all week, everyday, more than 5 hours a day, alongside some of the best mestres and directors from the most amazing Samba-schools and Blocos. A multicultural project organised by Bateria do Mundo that counted with the participation of the most talented baterias and blocos of the planet. Great musicians from many countries playing together. Teaching to each other, learning from each other, sharing knowledge and skills.

Sobe repique, Bruninho do Repique and Bloco Vítimas do Orgasmo

Eu estou aqui não só para passar conhecimento, ensinar, mas estou aqui também para aprender com vocês. É uma troca cultural que fico feliz em fazer parte

(I am here to share my knowledge with you guys, not just teaching but also learning from you all. This is a cultural exchange that I am happy of being part of)

Bruninho do Repique

In a country in America called Brazil, all of them united at the capital of the state Rio de Janeiro so that they could truly celebrate their love for the music, and especially the Samba musical style.

Yes, it is interesting knowing that Brazil is a tropical country and the “land of coffee” (largest producer and exporter), and famous because of football, caipirinha, feijoada, açaí juice, Havaianas sandals or the unforgettable pilot Ayrton Senna. But there is more to know about!!! The city and state Rio de Janeiro provides new dimensions when we talk about musicality. This country in the south portion of America welcomed fabulous percussionists from all over the world and the Cariocas (as locals are called, in Rio) acknowledged the energy put into that impressive carnival: Samba without borders.

Bloco dos Gringos with mestre Guilherme and mestre Gustavo at Quadra do Salgueiro

What happened during this journey in Rio de Janeiro? Well… visits to Samba-schools, rehearsals, workshops, new experiences of life, new friendships, new musical perspectives, new horizons. All of these elements bringing together these high talented bands who decided to give a homage to the country that traveled the world through their powerful voices and drums. Percussionists with samba in their veins, in their souls, in their minds. Musicians with samba on their feet and hands. And the most important, with samba in their hearts.

Hundreds of people attended the street carnival. They danced, they applauded, they sang together. Many Brazilians there were incredibly happy in seeing that many other countries produce the same quality of Samba that Brazil has. The discipline, the energy, and even the language because many foreigners from the bloco could speak a good and fluent portuguese. (what could be more adorable than studying the rhythm you love and go deep to understand the songs, techniques, communicate to other people, etc?)

People from Rio, from another states and countries who went to Praça XV, in the center of Rio de Janeiro: They loved the performance! For Bloco dos Gringos it was a golden moment eternized with thankful smiles. 🙂

Rain? it does not matter, I am not made of sugar – popular expression used in Brazil.

Wow, the rain started and what to do? Nothing! Just keep dancing, keep playing, keep smiling, keep being happy. The people continued their dancing with Bloco Vítimas do Orgasmo. The musicians continued there playing for fans, for themselves and for the Gods of the music. I believe that all of you already know: The show can not stop! Because WE ARE SAMBA LOVERS!!!

Sambistas: Mel, Karen, Antonio and Dam.

Bloco dos Gringos – Vítimas do Orgasmo (Carnaval carioca – 21/02/2020)

Let us know better this great Bateria do Mundo/Bloco dos Gringos Team! Here they are:
Banda Ziriguidum (Australia), Bloco Clandestino (Russia), London School of Samba (England), Misto Quente (France), Istanbul School of Samba (Turkey), Malandros Escola de Samba (Spain), Ritmo Bloco (Poland), Oba!tuQ (France), Escola de Samba Baturim (Austria), Sambasloken Poco Loco (Denmark), Sambatucada (USA), VamoLá – Drum & Dance Bloco (USA), Super Sonic Samba School (USA), StereoSamba (Spain), Sambatuc (France), Samba Real (Russia) and drum queen Felipe Moris.

Mestre Dudu Fuentes and Bloco dos Gringos
Mestre Gabriel Policarpo and Bloco dos Gringos
Mestre Waguinho do Repique and Bloco dos Gringos

Our intense training for the Brazilian Carnival began on Tuesday, 18, at Bamboo Green – Lagoa. A place with a fantastic view of the river and the iconic Christ Redeemer statue. The training day was divided in two sessions: In the morning with Bruninho do Repique and at afternoon with Soberepique. We started with a warm-up and they helped us to work as a group, how to do improvisations, subidas, viradas, specific levadas, etc.

The next day, Wednesday, 19, very early we visited Quadra do Salgueiro and learned some breaks from Mestre Gustavo and Mestre Guilherme. On the same day, in the afternoon we headed to Bamboo Green, and we rehearsed with one of the best repinique/repique players: Gabriel Policarpo. In this session, we had special attention for the repinique drummers to improve their techniques. In addition, nice styles from Bahia (a state in the north of Brazil where the Samba was born, before being developed by Rio), that Gabriel passed to the whole bateria.

Finally on Thursday, the last training, we had another two exceptional mestres: Waguinho do Repique who showed plenty of techniques for all instruments and emphasis on Surdo de terceira variations, chocalhos, repique. On this day we had during the interval a nice lunch enjoying the most traditional brazilian dish: Churrasco and Feijoada.

Oh my God, we were in heaven!!! 🙂 “But wait! it did not finish!” Yes… Dudu Fuentes arrived there for our second session in the day and we all worked awesome patterns: Samba, Ijexá and Funk.

On Friday, the day we had to perform, the mission would be remembering everything from the training sessions. Not an easy mission, correct!? Yes, but we arrived Friday morning in the center of Rio, at Praça XV, and we did one more rehearsal. There was no time for mistakes. That was the day! The band composed by approximately 100 musicians, between brazilians and gringos, totally nailed it! We got all the patterns trained, we did not forget nothing. We performed Dubsteps, Salgueiro breaks, Funk, Ijexá, Marchinhas, and much more. The evening comes and we have to end our journey. “No, no! Why stop now?” Correct! We are the world and the world loves music! Then we continued playing until later alongside the musicians from Banda Se For, Deu. This band was one of the surprises during our magnificent carnival.

There are no beautiful words to describe that unforgettable day for all of us! When during our performance the mestres and directors came to participate and give us their support and acknowledgement. Because that show was the result of our work, their work as well. The great result of all nationalities who play a great SAMBA!!!

It was a great pleasure playing in the greatest musical festival of the world: Brazilian Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. Where we did not drum to satisfy our ego or thinking we are better than others. We drummed only in the name of fraternity, friendship and respect. This is the real Samba!

Thanks to Bateria do Mundo, Antonio Enrique Fuentes González, Jessica Rodríguez García, thanks to the passistas and drummers involved in this Carnival 2020 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A great festival where we played not just with technique but also with our hearts. Thank you masters and directors who we met and trained side by side. A very special thanks to Gabriel Policarpo, Waguinho do repique, Dudu Fuentes, Bruninho da Mocidade, mestre Gustavo e mestre Guilherme – Salgueiro, Antonio Macalão, Soberepique, Felipe Moris and Banda Se For, Deu.

As a brazilian but living abroad I feel enormous pride to see the samba culture being well represented by the most incredible musicians from giant music festivals and Carnival parades around the world.

I am Dam Esteves the Brazilian Australian (or the “gringo brasileiro” – as mestre Gustavo said), and I wish a wonderful year to all of you sambistas!!! Lots of love and lots of Samba! See you next time!

Photo Credits: Bateria do Mundo, Antonio Henrique Fuentes González, Jessica Rodríguez García, Cagri Yuce, Dam Esteves, Karen Hill, Claire Hegarty, Waguinho do Repique, Gabriel Policarpo.

Share this joyful experience with your friends!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *