RIO DE JANEIRO – Rio de Janeiro’s Sambadrome on Monday celebrated its last day of carnival parades with a hard-fought competition among the best samba schools in the world.
With all 72,500 seats taken, the Sambadrome Marques de Sapucai Stadium opened the night with the Uniao da Ilha (Union of the Island) group, the first of the six that paraded during the early morning, which paid tribute to Kitembo, the universal force of time, a god shared by all religions.
Then, it was followed by Sao Clemente, with “Shame on anyone who thinks ill of it,” a show about the Sun King and his immense wealth, which seems very appropriate to the current reality of Brazil, embroiled in daily revelations of corruption scandals.
The third to come out was “Independent Youth,” with an evocation of “One Thousand and One Nights” centered in Marrakesh, which will warm up the temperature in the Sambadrome even more.
After that, the next repertoire was from “Unidos da Tijuca” (United of Tijuca), one of the oldest schools in Rio, founded in 1931, which performs a show about “music of the soul” involving characters as diverse as the Brazilian Pixinguinha and the American Louis Armstrong through ballads, pop and even rock and roll.
As the dawn breaks, two of the favorite schools, Portela and Mangueira, will be in charge of closing the 2017 carnival.
Portela, with blue and white on its flags, will show the great rivers of the world and its cultures.
Then, Mangueira will be handed take it’s turn trying to win this year’s carnival, with a show in tribute “to the holy house and the holy altar.”
The Rio Carnival organization has hopes to wrap up this year’s carnival at the Sambadrome on a high, after an accident during its premiere on Sunday night left 20 people injured, eight of them requiring hospital care, including a woman who is currently in critical condition.
The accident happened when the last float of the first school of the night, Paraiso do Tuiuti, lost control and crashed into a group of spectators on the pavement.
The police are investigating the incident which, according to the first report, was due to a failure in one of the wheels of the float’s front trailer.