Last year, I wanted to see the parades of the Silver and Bronze series samba schools but had no idea where they competed. I had visited some of their rehearsals last year and wanted to see how they did on the avenida. It turns out the Silver and Bronze series samba schools compete in a separate event in a separate location in rio on Estrada Intendente Magalhães.
The fantastic thing about it was that you could get so close to the action and see everything that was happening, cheer on the performers, get wacked in the face with feathers, see the floats up close and wave to your friends parading by. Milton Cunha was even there hanging out in the stands chatting with people and being his jovial self.
The mestres and directors and players in these baterias were directors and players from other bigger samba schools. I saw members of Imperatriz bateria parading as baianas and in other alas of these schools as well.
I really really loved it! I decided that next year I'm going to try to parade in one of those schools.
Lucky me, my good friend Renan Gohan then became the Mestre of Fla Manguaça! Hear an interview with Renan here.
Grêmio Recreativo Cultural Social Escola de Samba Fla Manguaça (is a mouth full) sprung out of a social club of Flamengo soccer team supporters called Fla Manguaça. The soccer club supporter wing of the organization has been around since 1995. The samba school wing was created in 2020.
The soccer club wing of Fla Manguaça has participants who lead chants in the stands with a small bateria that plays along. I got a chance to do this for a soccer game about a month ago. Check out the video:
Me playing in the stands for a minute. My first soccer game was a wild experience!
I don't completely understand the dividing line between the club and the samba school but many people participate in both.
Fla Manguaça is a young samba school but has a CRAZY winning streak. They first started competing in Grupo Avaliação in 2022 and won that category and moved up into the Bronze Series, which they won in 2023! Now Fla Manguaça is in Silver Series hoping to win again and advance to the Gold Series to parade in the Sambódromo in 2025.
Serrinha Raiz was the first bateria Mestre of the school. Listen to an interview with Serrinha here. Second came Mestre Marfim who has since moved on to become the Mestre of São Clemente. And now Mestre Renan Gohan is in charge of the bateria.
The bateria nickname is "Bateria 51". It's named after a brand of cachaça called 51.
The school has a cute little cartoon character with a surdo and dope shoes called Manguaceiro.
Playing with Fla Manguaça has been a really warm and wonderful experience. Because the group has smaller numbers I feel like I have gotten to know many of the other players better than I have at some of the bigger programs that I have been involved with. There has just been more of a chance to make connections.
Because of the nature of drumming, samba and baterias I end up interact mostly with men here in Rio. I sometimes miss having women friends and female energy around. I love my guy friends but having a balance is important. There are several women in the Fla Manguaça bateria and that has been nice just have a little touch of that lady-magic in my life.
I got the opportunity to play for a party at Flamengo soccer club headquarters with Fla Manguaça. Outside of playing with Imperatriz last year in the Sambódromo, this club party was maybe the most responsive crowd I have ever seen while playing samba. There were people jumping around and singing, a moshpit and one guy crying from the joy if it all.
If you have ever played samba for a moshpit please comment below!
The theme for this year is Quer Apostar? Wanna Bet?
The samba enredo is here:
Fla TV came out to cover the unveiling of the Fla Manguaça costumes.
I've had a fantastic time playing with this group! Many thanks to Mestre Renan Gohan!
LET'S GO FLA MANGUAÇA!!!!