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What is Samba?

The music, songs and dances roughly categorized as Samba originated in Brasil around the start of the 21st century. The music came about through a unique mix of cultural influences, when the transported people of West Africa came into contact with Portuguese settlers, native Brasilians and others. It is not limited to any one style or place, with huge regional variety and a rich heritage of precursors throughout the country and the world.

So how did it get to us?

The term Samba was first applied to commercial recordings around 1917, with Deixa Falar being widely regarded as the first true Samba School in 1928. The word 'school' was included purely because they met next to one, in the Estacio district of Rio. This lineage reaches the UK with Esteves and Enrique Da Silva, founders of Paraiso School of Samba. Many of the current top 'Special Group' Samba schools are nearly as old, including Portela, Mangueira and Mocidade. Grupo Recreational Escola de Samba Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel, (Mocidade) are a strong influence on Brighton School of Samba through our affinity with the London School of Samba, Bosco d'Oliveira, and our workshops with Mestre Jonas, Mocidade's current Mestre de Bateria.

Carnival Today

Today, a large Rio Samba School may have 3,000 parading members at Rio Carnival. This includes ranks of percussionists, dancers, stewards and others. There are also hundreds, possibly thousands involved behind the scenes, in management, administration, retail, design, costume, float construction, sponsorship, media and other operations. The main event which everything is focused on is the annual Carnival, now mainly represented by the competitive judged parades in Rio's 'Sambadrome' - basically a parading stadium. Working throughout the year, the entire school is re-invented to represent its chosen theme. Each school records and performs a unique 'Enredo', or Carnival song, every year.

Musical Style

Cidade Brilhante's Bateria and Compositores (musicians, singers) play music that falls roughly into three categories: 'Samba', 'Samba Reggae' and 'Experimental'. Samba Batucada and Enredo are words used to describe the music characteristic of bands, blocos and samba schools mainly from Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. Samba Reggae is a distinct style from Salvador in Bahia state which arose as a part of Brasil's response to the growth of the civil rights movement and 'black consciousness' in the 1970's. 'Experimental' refers to any modern, purely original or Western-influenced rhythms which have found their way into a group's repertoire - such as including a hip-hop rhythm in a samba arrangement. Many groups in the UK include styles such as Maracatu, Funk, Frevo, Baion, Afoxe, and many more. Many of these play music 'inspired' by all the styles they have had contact with, often disregarding specific instrumentation and sometimes to spectacular effect. Cidade Brilhante is not exclusively focused on any one rhythm, but centre our efforts on Samba Enredo and Batucada, with a respect for the great Samba School baterias of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. Like any Samba School, we strive to develop a unique and recognizable musical style from within the tradition, that embodies the spirit and atmosphere of Samba.

>> Glossary of Samba Terms



Mocidade at Rio Carnival

Mocidade at Rio Carnival

Mocidade at Rio Carnival

Mocidade at Rio Carnival
G.R.E.S. Mocidade
Independente de Padre
Miguel at Rio Carnival
GRES Cidade Brilhante is a Company Limited by Guarantee and registered in England and Wales number 6210957.
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