Friday, 27 February 2009

The Most Envied Man of Carnival 2009

Betto Almeida, 36, paints the body of (female) dancers, who participate in carnival parades in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. For many Betto Almeida is a lucky bird. In addition to his daily work as art director of TV soaps, he paints, brushes, drips and sprays paint on some of the finest Brazilian carnival bodies and that already 12 years.
With sweat on his forehead, he says that it is hard work but worth it. A modelling agency pays him BRL 1,000 (€ 335) for about two hours required for painting a model. During the samba parades, he paints two models a night. And throughout the year he paints a minimum of 50 women for various events.
“I started to do it for the …. continue reading and see the video

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Carnaval 2009 in Olinda: The Giant Dolls

The, of origin pagan festival, that was brought from Europe to Brazil by the Portuguese colonists, is in Olinda, as we know it today, a relatively recent event, dating from the beginning of the twentieth century.
Although a relatively recent event Carnival of Olinda has maintained its purest traditions of celebrating carnival in Pernambuco. Each year, hundreds of carnival blocs and carnival groups meander through the streets and on the slopes of the Cidade Alta (Upper City), keeping alive the original roots of the most popular festival in Brazil.
And don’t forget the giant dolls, each year, new versions are created and total now more than a hundred. The Calungas (sacred doll in the Candomblés of Pernambuco) are carried in … continue reading and see the full photo session

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Galo da Madrugada - The Early Morning Cock

Recife. Multicultural Capital of Brazil.
Early Saturday morning (21), the parade of the block Galo da Madrugada toured the streets of the centre of Recife. The sculpture of a Galo (cock) with a height of more than 6 metres is the sensation of the bloc. In its 32nd edition, the first time without the founder Enéas Freire, who died in 2008, the block came with news. With 23 trio-elétricos leading the party of some 1,5 million foliões (partygoers), it was the first time that the bands did not play solely frevo (frevo is a rhythm from Pernambuco derived from the march, the maxixee (Brazilian tango) and the capoeira).
The Galo travels a route of 4,5 kilometres. The Galo is considered the largest carnival block in the world according to the Guinness Book of Records.Justify Full
The VIP area was stocked with celebrities as Reinaldo Gianecchini, Adriane Galisteu, Seu Jorge, Luiz Melodia and Gutta Stresser.

The Carnival of Recife is one of the best known in the world and one of the most attended in Brazil. The capital of Pernambuco was, as every year, the stage of various cultural events: the sound of Frevo, Maracatu (an Afro-Brazilian rhythm), samba, rock, reggae and many other musical styles.
On Sunday (22), the group Quanta Ladeira which housed in the Pólo Rec Beat, in downtown Recife, founded just over 10 years ago, was a must - with its parodies and songs satirizing the political and current events.

The Multicultural Carnival of Recife is democratic, popular and, especially, original in its format. Completely decentralized, with poles of entertainment throughout the city, is this format undeniably a success. Shows are free and of high quality, both in presentations of carnival groups, and in stage shows with well-known artists and orchestras.

The distinctive feature of the visual artist Cicero Dias, linked to the themes that were part of the carnivalesque life of Enéas Freire, two of the three persons honoured during the Carnaval Multicultural do Recife 2009 (the third was the composer Carlos Fernando) coloured the streets of the city during these days. Elements that allude to the president of the Galo da Madrugada and others remembering the pictures of the modernistic author of Rosa dos Ventos (March Zero) were distributed over the city greeting the incoming foliões.
The decoration project was executed by the team of architect Carlos Augusto Lira.

Website of Recife at:

The Best Carnival of Brazil is in Salvador

Anyone who spends carnival in Salvador just wants one thing: fervour every day. And he gets it. Here fun is granted. This year was even more agitated, with the commemoration of 60 years of the Filhos de Gandhy (Children of Gandhi), which has been honoured along with other afoxé blocks.

50% of the people chose the carnival in Salvador as the best in Brazil. A survey organized by the Jornal Nacional/O Globo on their website, chose the capital of Bahia. With six days of festivities, 234 blocks with 45 trios-elétricos, and the presence of big music stars, the capital of Bahia attracts 650 thousand national and foreign tourists, resulting in a carnival for two million foliões (partygoers). Recife and Rio de Janeiro were, respectively, with 19% and 15% of the votes. São Paulo and Florianópolis got 4% each, with 8% of the Internet users indicating other cities.

The president of Saltur - Salvador Tourism Company -, Claudio Tinoco, was not surprised with the outcome of the survey. For him, the capital of Bahia has a carnival tradition with strong popular roots. “It is the sum of the magnetism of the trios-elétricos and the big stars of our tribal music to the sound of African drums, the irreverence of the people and the cultural mix.”

Carnival in Salvador de Bahia requires a dictionary: First: afoxé, also known as Camdomblé de rua, is an Afro-Brazilian street manifestation with roots in the iorubá people and is a genre of music known as ‘ijexá’. The biggest and best known afoxé is the Filhos de Gandhy.

Then we have the trio-elétricos. Large lorries or even trailers stacked with high power audio equipment with on top a stage for the performing artists of the music group. I.e. a moving stage, as the truck tours the city streets while the artists play for the crowd.

In the two trio-elétrico circuits in Salvador, Avenida and Barra/Ondina, the heavy-weights of the axé (a music genre) were back in full swing. On Thursday (19) Timbalada performed in Nana Banana, Friday (20) and Saturday (21) Chiclete com Banana took the block. On Sunday (22), Monday (23) and Tuesday (24), Chiclete reigned the Chameleão. EVA, with Banda Eva, performed Sunday (22) till Tuesday (24) - the same days, Ivete Sangalo, former lead singer of the band, stirred the crowd with the block Coruja. The Voa-Voa, also from Chiclete com Banana, closed carnival at 0h30 of Ash Wednesday (25).

During the six days of the Carnival in Salvador, it is estimated that some 10 million litres of beer and 8 million litres of soft drinks are consumed. These are initial estimates of the breweries and show the economic impact of this most popular festivity. According to Salvador Tourism Company (Saltur) the activities related to carnival during a year of preparation and the festivity itself, move about BRL 1 billion (€ 325 million) and generate some 220 thousand temporary jobs.

Enjoy the images. An attentive reader of my carnival posts should observe the difference between the ‘stars’ of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo and the muses starring in Salvador. In Salvador it is the music, in Rio and SP it is the glamour.

The big music stars:
Claudia Leitte - photo Fred Pontes and Ag
Daniela Mercury - photo Divulgação and Ag
Margareth Menezes - photo Wellington Carvalho
Ivete Sangalo - photo Charles Naseh
Claudinha Leite - photo Ag A Tarde

Visit to see large pictures


Tuesday, 24 February 2009

The 7 Best Places in Brazil to Enjoy a Hectic Carnival

Justify Full

Is Rio de Janeiro world famous for its spectacular carnival and awesome beauties, year after year industrial and economic centre São Paulo is trying to excel Rio in luxurious floats as well as in breathtaking beauties.

Glamour, glitter, sensuality, competing samba schools and millions of euros are however not part of the carnival in all Brazilian communities. There are Brazilian towns where carnival still is what it was and should be, ordinary people enjoying and participating in traditional street carnival. No sensuality, no spectacular semi-nude queens, no floats, no millions. Just traditional local music and fun, much, much fun. The original sound of carnival.

Let’s visit 7 places, Florianópolis, Ouro Preto, São Luís do Paraitinga and of course Salvador, Recife and Olinda. Number 7? That’s a surprise, wait and see.

This post will describe the first three in a bird’s-eye view. Salvador, Recife, Olinda and No. 7 deserve some special treatment.

Who thinks Florianópolis has no Carnaval is wrong. In the most festive time of the year the streets of this island-capital of the federal state of Santa Catarina in the south are invaded by catarinense carnival blocks, bringing residents and tourists together in an unstoppable agitation.

The most famous block is the “Bloco de Sujos” (the Dirty Sods), where in the centre of the city men dress as woman - this year, the parade of the block took place on Saturday (21). Sambaqui and Santo Antônio de Lisboa are neighbourhoods in Florianópolis with a long carnival tradition. In the latter, for example, the parades of the blocks Avante and Baiacú were on Friday (20) and Monday (23). Just in the street, free to the public to enjoy.

Site Florianópolis:

Ouro Preto
In Ouro Preto, a town in the federal state of Minas Gerais, famous for its magnificent colonial architecture, carnival blocks have a long tradition. During carnival, the excitement with the blocks on the slopes of the mining town is contagious. The first block of the city came in 1867 and is still successful in Ouro Preto. The “Zé Pereira Clube dos Lacaios” was founded by officials (lackeys) of the Palace of the Governor and has dolls with more than two meters height as its principal allegory.

The town also houses independent blocks, such as the Bandalheira, which satirizes the days of military dictatorship, linking doctors, masons, workers and students, the Cordão Banjo de Prata (Silver Banjo String), founded in 1934, revives the atmosphere of the 1920’s carnival and Balanço da Cobra, which has a doll of the animal which gave the block its name, satirizes politicians.

As you may recall, originally carnival was about ridiculing political decisions, governors, regents and the clergy. Ouro Preto still breathes the original atmosphere.

Site Ouro Preto:

São Luís do Paraitinga
In São Luís do Paraitinga, at 170 km from São Paulo, the fun is in traditional style, with blocks and marchinhas. The carnival’s march, also known as “marchinha” is a music genre that was popular in Brazilian carnival during the years 1920 to 1960, when it began to be replaced by the samba-enredo. Already for 28 years the residents of the town and nearby villages create the intrigues. In all, São Luis has 35 blocks, 25 professionals and ten amateurs. They pass through the streets of the historic centre and at the end of the presentations, they gather at the Praça Oswaldo Cruz for an enormous party which unites foliões (partygoers) of all ages.

As is custom, the municipality arranges a contest to choose the three best marchinhas. The winners earn cash prizes and a trophy. The foliões don’t need to pay anything to join the carnival in the streets, but creativity is vital: each block requires that participants wear a special costume. The block Maricota, which paraded on Sunday (22), for example, had the clothes made with cans. On Saturday (21) the block Juca Teles paraded, with the mandatory use of a colourful hat, tiara and parasol.

It is indeed a different carnival. São Luis do Paraitinga has one of the most inventive, fun and colourful carnivals of Brazil, with each year a theme chosen to celebrate, in 2009 it was the 100th anniversary of the birth of Elpídio dos Santos, Brazilian conductor and native of the town.
In São Luis do Paraitinga they play with their culture, their revered traditions, their stories and legends, their customs…

Carnival is in the Air!

Site São Luís do Paraitinga:

This post is based on information from: viajeaqui

Visit to see large pictures


Sunday, 22 February 2009

Blondes, brunettes, mulattos …. Ahh, Muses, What's Carnival Without Them?

São Paulo as the industrial and economic centre of Brazil starts its carnival parades on Friday night with the highlight on Saturday night. Then it is over in São Paulo, the Paulista can not spend valuable working hours with something as frivolous as carnival. Monday is simply back to work.
Rio de Janeiro is different. Cariocas are partying all the time and working a bit in between. Rio is the glamour city, São Paulo is for serious business.
Although in Rio carnival in the streets starts on Friday, the big carnival parades in de Sambódromo are Saturday night with the top on Monday night. The Carioca is slowly cutting-back on his festivities on Tuesday to enable him to quietly sleep on Wednesday, as officially his working day starts at noon. But don’t contact a company in Rio before Thursday morning, better still wait till next Monday.

Anyway, let’s start with:

The Muses of 1st day of carnival parades in São Paulo:

For a full reportage with all the pictures of the carnival queens and beauties visit: “Blondes, brunettes, mulattos …. Ahh, Muses, without them carnival would not be fun” at Anton Steeman Homepage

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Carnival 2009 - A Work of Art called Monalisa

This is a free interpretation of Ancelmo’s blog.

The first queen of the carnival’s parade which started today is a spectacular appearance in the photos. You can congratulate her, Monalisa Lucia de Carvalho, 21 years, the “Mulata do Gois 2009”. The representative of the city of Portela was the most voted in the carnivalesque contest of this column and took the competition’s title of the “loveliest on the internet”. For the group of Oswaldo Cruz, however, it is hard to take - as it is the second consecutive year that Portela takes the title. The photos of the winner, by the expert Fabio Rossi, were taken at the train station. What a beauty - what a styling.
continue reading and enjoy more photos of Brazilian carnival queens

Carnival 2009

Today carnival in Brazil started its five days of festivities. The next few posts will be devoted to this all consuming event. Enjoy the view of the Brazilian beauties, abundant in numbers and luxuriant in appearance. After the carnival is over, the serious part of the year 2009 finally starts for the Brazilian and we, in our blog, shall go back to the reality of Brazilian life.
But first: five days carnival, parades, samba and beauties.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Heavy rainfall here in the Amazônia region frustrated

Heavy rainfall here in the Amazônia region frustrated my communication devices, i.e. my radio-antenna for internet and my telephone line. Consequently for some weeks now I have not been able to post new articles, although some interesting things happened.
I know, I know, it is the rain season, but nevertheless there is much more and much more heavy and intense rainfall than in previous years. At this moment my internet is working again and I hope to post some articles in the next few days. They have been written during the last weeks and I shall use the date of writing and not the date of posting, to get them in the right order.
I hope my connection stays stable, so that I can upload the articles.
Sorry for the inconvenience and please come back soon.

Update: All articles about the World Social Forum have been posted in order with the date of writing. I hope they will give the reader a good impression of the event as it took place. With regard to the discussions the bloggosphere reports in great length about all topics, so that I could restrict myself to the periphery.

Monday, 2 February 2009

World Social Forum - The final balance

The previous articles described the run-up to, the opening and the proceeding of the forum. Now the final balance.

The final balance of the World Social Forum (WSF) in Belém was positive. At least according to the organizers, the mayor of Belém and the governor of the federal state of Pará. Eventually 135 thousand people participated from 142 countries, with 15 thousand participants in the encampment and 4,830 volunteers, translators, technicians and representatives of the organizers.

The governor of Pará, Ana Júlia Carepa emphasized the positive influence of the forum on the economy of the state. (I had expected that, as a socialist, she would highlight the results of this ‘human’ forum, but no, the true socialists: only money counts). She stressed that in Great Belém 40 million reais (€ 13.5 million) was spent, of which 18 million for housing, 16 million with meals and 6 million with transport. According to the governor “the choice of Belém could not be at a more opportune moment, because here in Pará we demonstrate that it is possible to construct a new development model for Pará and the Amazon. We feel one with these hundred thousand people, who believe that another world is possible and in the name of this ideal, we have built our government. In the name of this ideal, we work to transform Pará into a constitutional state.” (If you know Ana Júlia and her political results, you get weak knees listening to these words.)

But the official view is not shared by the university students, who made their appearance to the lecture-rooms on Monday after the forum. Kyone Oliveira, 18 years, of the faculty Zootecnia, says she is shocked by the state the campus is in after the forum. “They have polluted everything and then go away. I thought, that it would go this way, that’s why I have not participated. Neither my university nor the city of Belém has the infrastructure to organize a forum like this. If we as students already suffer from poor toilets, think of all those people. They improved only the roof of the lecture-room and now they say that everything is in order.”

The day after the World Social Forum 2009 ended the two campuses that hosted the event showed significant differences. While the campus of the Federal University of Pará (UFPA) was clean and quiet, on the campus of the Federal Agriculture University of the Amazon (UFRA), you could observe the mess, the stench and the dissatisfaction of the participants.

After the forum many students said they had a ........ continue reading and see more images of the event


Sunday, 1 February 2009

The heat dominates the World Social Forum in Belém

This is a translation of an impression, published by Leonardo Sakamoto on his blog about his experience with the World Social Forum in Belém. It is obvious that he was clearly present in Belém.

During the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre (in the years 2001 to 2003 and 2005) the weather was hot. But the heat in Rio Grande do Sul is nothing compared to the climate of Belém in the month of January, where the mugginess of the humid air embraces you upon arrival. The frequent rainfalls are refreshing, but sometimes even the pouring rain is unable to cool down the atmosphere. The theatre installed in the Federal Agricultural University of the Amazônia (UFRA), one of the places where the WSF is being held is the refuge for those who melted of the heat outside. The at least ten split level high-power air conditioners, are the joy of a gang, sleeping on the floor, uninterested in what’s shown on the screen. In the press centre, housed in the sport hall, the scene is repeated, a number of journalists asleep under the blessing of an air conditioner by the sound of hectically attacked keyboards by colleagues.

One of the rooms of the debates, which I attended, was jam-packed. People, standing along the wall and sitting on the floor, throwing jealous looks at those, who had fled the heat, slumbering in comfortable chairs. With few clothes on, radical groups at the entrance to the youth camp - the place where hundreds of camping tents were standing - preached that the event itself is the problem: “The Social Forum is part of a movement that would fragment the people!” The heat also causes other unusual scenes. A friend was robbed by two persons. The theft of the product: a bottle of mineral water. “Ohh, brother, give me the bottle and buy yourself another one.” Who said that water is the most precious good we have, was not mistaken.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the first time that I travel in the Amazon region - on the contrary, the region is the backyard of my origin - no exaggeration. The problem is the long distances between activities, spread across the UFRA and the Federal University of Pará, which is not easy. I am far from healthy, sleep with a slight headache caused by the heat and the thermal shock of entering and leaving buildings with air conditioning. Since ordinary cars and taxis are not admitted on the campuses, walking under the burning sun or calling a cyclist turned ‘bicycle taxi’ is the only way. Three reais (about 1 euro) for a ride. For those moving from one campus to another, not far apart, the boats are an alternative to travel via the river. By noon, it requires more than an hour to board. Standing in line under the burning sun. When I return home, I have to explain to my girlfriend how I got so sunburnt, while I was at work.

Maybe an auto bus is missing. Or a better distribution of the events. You hear frequent complaints about the (des)organization of the event, the sudden change of activities, the lack of direction signs, halls without the necessary equipment and so on. In addition, of course, the lamenting about the registration fee of BRL 30.00 (10 euros) that would have limited the participation of the poorest inhabitants of the city. The striking presence of military police and national security forces, which does not correspond with what the forum is and represents. Taxi drivers were involved in the wave of paranoia about security, alarming everybody as a broken record: “We are now in a dangerous neighbourhood … We drive through a dangerous neighbourhood … Do not forget, this is a dangerous neighbourhood … Oooolha, a dangerous neighbourhood … Fortunately we are now leaving this dangerous neighbourhood.” It looks like a city-tour! Nonsense. Dangerous are some large multinationals, which are located in this state, dismissing people to decrease the risk of falling profits.

Of course, all this does not overshadow the brilliance of an event, where you stumble on diversity, knowledge and culture. Where the reception and the hopes of people and communities from many corners of the world give you warm feelings and charges your energy. Consequently, this forum is indeed hotter than that of Porto Alegre, because it seems bigger. And despite the heat, it is worth it to stay on to the end.

source: Blog de Sakamoto