Cordão da Bola Preta’s centenary will have celebrations all year long


On next February 10th about 9 o’clock when the band plays a hymn composed in 1937 by Vicente Paiva and Nelson Barbosa all the celebrants will be facing history being made. That’ will be the kick-off of Cordão da Bola Preta’s 100th parade. It’s the oldest Carnival club in Rio and one of the largest in Brazil.

It all began on the last day of 1918 when skinny Álvaro Gomes, aka Caveirinha (“Little Skull”) disrespected a strict order from the authorities and founded Cordão da Bola Preta. His partners in desobedience were Francisco Brício Filho, aka Chico Brício; Eugênio Ferreira; João Torres; and three brothers of the family Oliveira Roxo: Jair, Joel e Arquimedes.



The name of their group couldn’t have a more romantic and Carnival related reason. Caveirinha was madly in love with a woman he had seen dressed in a white pierrot costume with large black round dots.  In Portuguese the name means the “Black Dotted Flock”. “Cordão”was a common Carnival organization at that time, almost extinct today with this bright exception. In 1962, after many years of success the song created by Paiva had its lyrics altered and was recorded officially as the March of Cordão Da Bola Preta.

The parade has no VIP area, special garments required or any restriction whatsoever. All you have to do is put on a costume, prefereably with black dots on it and go to the central area of Rio to enjoy this five hour parade that always wraps up with the band playing Cidade Maravilhosa (Marvelous City), another popular Carnival song by composer André Filho which also became the official hymn of Rio de Janeiro city. According to the organizers 1.5 million people are expected for the 2018 parade.

Cordão’s current president, Pedro Ernesto Marinho, explains that they started celebrating at the first minute of the year and the party will go on until the official 100th anniversary on December 31st.

Photo: Gabriel Monteiro

Photo: Gabriel Monteiro

Cordão da Bola Preta gather many famous Brazilian figures related or unrelated to Carnival. Its muse is Beija-Flor samba school flag-bearer, Selminha Sorriso, its embassador is Carnival songs composer João Roberto Kelly, the godmother is  singer Maria Rita and the block’s own flag-bearer is an actress, Leandra Leal. Neguinho da Beija-Flor is the godfather. Today the most celebrated samba school singer, in the beginning of his carreer he used to sing during the Bola Preta parades.


100th Cordão da Bola Preta’s Parade

When: February 10th

Gathering: 7AM at rua Primeiro de Março, Downtown

Parade starts at 9AM.  

31 de Jan de 2018