Text by Kevin Williams
When you listen to an Escola de Samba (school of samba) play their Samba Enredo (song for Carnival) on CD, DVD or performed live at Sambodromo during Carnival in Rio, you hear a well-oiled machine rolling down the avenida accompanied by thunderous percussion, vibrantly colored costumes,elegant dancers all moving in unison to one common theme, and the syncopated rhythms of the Samba Enredo chosen by the Escola. You see the end product but, how do you get from an idea to this incredible artistic production passing through Sapaucai?
This very question took me to several evenings at the Quadro of the Escola de Samba in Pilares, Rio de Janeiro. Having read numerous articles, books, television reports and watched about a decades worth of performances from the Escolas de Samba from both Rio and Sao Paulo, you always feel like you have a great working knowledge about carnival, but Samba is like an onion – as you peel back each layer you find a greater deal of complexity.