I saw a samba take its first breath.

Logo Imperatriz Leopoldinense 2024Above is the logo for this year's samba enredo 2024 Imperatriz Leopoldinense

Carnavalesco Leandro Vieira chose the theme for Imperatriz Leopoldinense (Com A Sorte Virada Pra Lua Segundo O Testamento Da Cigana Esmeralda.) and it was announced months ago. The final competition for which specific song/samba the school would choose for the year happened on October 16th this year.

For the first time in Imperatriz’s history they chose to combine 2 sambas together to make one Megazord samba. I didn’t quite understand what was happening in the moment when they made the announcement. It was like 4AM and there was a lot of cheering and yelling, fireworks and confetti cannons and my Portuguese had left me hours earlier, so I was pretty confused as to what happened.

My good friend explained to me the next day that Imperatriz had decided to combine the 2 songs into one and that this was not unheard of. Beija Flor had combined 3 songs once (2015, I think) and ended up winning that year.

Imperatriz soon released a studio version of the song and with the recording everyone got a chance to see how the combined sambas would go.

The next rehearsal with the entire community came in the next week. After all the regular festivities, practicing the new samba began. Lyric sheets were passed around and Pitty Menezes, the fantastic intérprete began to slowly work through the song with everyone.

Pitty Menezes leads the community in teaching the samba.Pitty Menezes leading the community in learning the samba enredo 2024

The bateria tapped out their parts on the rims, and for most this was the first time we had seen how it would go.

Things started to pick up as people started getting it down, the melodic section was joined by a surdo and caixa. Eventually everyone knew the lyrics and the cadence of the lyrics, the bateria was playing and getting all the parts and it was f'ing on!

This wasn’t the first time that the song had been played, but it was the first time that it had been played with the community there singing,  the big bateria playing,  Pitty Menezes singing and it just worked. It was so cool. And you could see everyone getting excited about how excited everyone was getting! It was like a feedback loop. Here’s a video.

A week or so later I was chatting with the tamborim director Nômade about what happened and he was saying that it was unusual. He has een it happen only a couple of times back when he was at Salgueiro.

I’m really excited for what carnaval is going to bring this year. My favorite time in Rio is right now October  - December. I’m trying to soak up as much as I can and share it with you. Stay tuned!

Me in the quadra of Imperatriz Leopoldinense. 

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