Wednesday, February 13, 2013

In Focus | Rio's Carnival 2013

Photo © Felipe Dana/AP-All Rights Reserved
In Focus, the photo blog of The Atlantic is on a roll. Following its featuring of the 2013 Sony World Photo Awards a few days ago, it now features gorgeous photographs of Rio's Carnival of 2013.

In Rio, more than 72,000 spectators watched the spectacle of samba school floats, dancers, and extravagant costumes during Carnival. More people took part in the numerous street parties, dancing and drinking for hours.

Attending Rio's Carnival is on my bucket list for as long as I remember. While living in Barcelona many years ago, I saw a beautiful billboard with an advert for Varig (at the time the only international airlines in Brazil) encouraging people to travel to Rio for the Carnival....and this reminded in me of my appreciation for Brazilian music...mostly bossa nova and samba. Some years before, I had watched -more than once- the French movie 'Un Homme Une Femme"whose one of its songs was the beautiful Samba Saravah (aka Samba da Bencao by the legendary Vinicius de Moraes), and even before that, I would listen to the music of Baden Powell, Stan Getz, Jorge Ben, Gilberto Gil...and of course, Joao Gilberto.

Carnival was introduced by the Portuguese to Brazil around 1850. The elite settlers from Europe would throw class and custom aside, dressing in the poorer clothing of commoners, while the commoners donned the fine garments of royalty. Native Brazilians eventually joined the festivities, and early 20th century, the beats of the samba joined the melting pot of music from several European cultures.

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