Samba is one of the best ways to understand and celebrate Rio

Rio de Janeiro remains marvellous. Rio de Janeiro keeps being… This free translation of verses in a song is just one of so many to praise the city’s amazing landscapes and stories throughout the years. Samba was undoubtedly the most symbolic music to follow the once Brazil’s federal capital to become a worldwide famous city. Since 1961, Rio lost its official status to Brasilia but samba kept chronicaling its people and life even today when Rio is to reach 453 years.

Prasing Rio is at the same time to praise samba, since no other music genre was so precise in translating it like the one born as a fusion of African rhythms and Portuguese language. It was baptized in the backyard of Tia Ciata’s house, a woman reknown as a godmother of the newlyborn genre. It was during a party that a song called Pelo Telefone was composed and later recorded in 1917, the first ever to receive the denomination of samba.

Pelo Telefone (By the Phone) was just the beginning, though. Samba was seen with prejudice in the first years, reputed as former slaves music. But the recipe was just too irresistible and it soon hit the mainstream artists. From then on people like composer Noel Rosa were able to join the fever. He awarded us with simplicity describing a common scene at a city’s bar. Waiter, please, bring me ASAP some fresh coffee and milk with toasts…”. Or recording for history buildings of his neighborhood Vila Isabel like the weaving mill Confiança and its triple whistle sign for changing shifts.

Noel Rosa: 

If singer Dick Farney portraited “Copacabana, the little sea Princess”, poet and composer Vinícius de Moraes created the Girl from Ipanema giving life to a typical character of Rio’s beaches.


Garota de Ipanema:

During a music movement called Tropicalia, singer Gilberto Gil made the statue of Christ The Redeemer spread hugs throughout the city no matter if it was in fancy South Side or the hard workers of suburban Rio, including the organizers of Portela samba school. Later Jorge Ben Jor added some rock riffs into the samba to talk about the endless passion of cariocas for soccer and their greatest temple, Maracanã Stadium, stage of two World Cup Finals and host of Summer Olympics 2016 ceremonies.

País Tropical:


Cartola, one of our greatest samba poets, showed us the point of view of the city from the favelas. “The Sunrise uphill is so special” from the small shacks made of zync that shone bright when the sun was up, like in the song immortalized in the voice of Eliseth Cardoso.

Barracão de Zinco:

As well as Beth Carvalho reported our history by reminding the days of very high inflation caused by Brazil’s erratic economy. What do I care about a sack full of money if all I can buy is a pack of beans?

Saco de Feijão:

Beth Carvalho used her fame to make known the work of Zeca Pagodinho, who revived the “pagodes” (in Brazilian Portuguese that word also describes a party with generous amounts of food and drinks), like those held at Tia Ciata’s house. He showed how it works in the song Preservação das Raízes (Cultural Preservation). “When the mother announces the food is ready, people get in line put the plates uphead and start singing the music refrain”.

Preservação das Raízes:

Rio as seen in samba songs is a bohemian city of humour, the joys and tears of love, the brief and intense carnival romances, the common people’s smartness to survive of common peole and obviously the magic landscape whith was described in such beautiful words in many samba-enredos made for carnivals. In Brazilian Aquarelle Rio was depicted as the land of samba and its feverish hip swaying.

Aquarela Brasileira:

05 de Mar de 2018