Rio FAQs
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1) Name some sections which make up a complete Rio Sambadromo Escola de Samba Carnaval Presentation?

Destaques: literally means "standouts" and might be featured on floats wearing elaborate costumes .

Ala sections or wings of the escolas which can be little clubs unto themselves.

Samba enredo: the festive theme song of the production which becomes thundering when played by hundreds of percussionists at Rio Carnaval.

Batucada-percussion jam

Carnavelesco- the artistic director and the most important member of an escola after the President. The person who must unite all the parts into a compelling vision.

2) Is the rule against "disrobed genitalia" by the Independent League of Samba Schools (LIESA) ever broken?

Yes, although there is far less nudity in the sambadromo parade than what the media and videos would have you believe, there is ongoing flirting with this rule. For example in 1989, Joãizubgi Trinta used his enredo (theme song) "Everybody Was Born Naked" to star dancer Jorge Lafond appropriately attired at the very top of a tall float.

The most notorious parade related incident of all time occurred recently in 1995 when model Lilian Ramos became famous after allegedly forgetting to put panties on beneath the T-shirt she had changed into following her Sambadromó parade performance. This may not have been a big deal except that like most Brazilians, Lilian likes to express herself with her hands which does tend to lifts hemlines. These provocative T-shirt expressions might also have passed quickly except for the fact that she was enjoying herself in the President of Brazil's seating section with cameras observing the scene. Ex-President Itamar Franco did not run for reelection.

3) What makes up a bateria (drum orchestra)?

Here are few of the more notable percussion instruments:

Surdos (large bass drums) pound out the heartbeat, their incessant drive lays foundation for the multiple cross rhythms of the bateria.

Repique is a midsize drum often played by the bateria director

Caixas (snare drums) rattle away in hypnotic frenzy,

Tamborins (tambourines without cymbals) hit with special sticks carry a high-pitched rhythmic phrasing.

Cuíca (friction drum) adds distinctive moans and cries,

Reco-reco provides a scraping sound

Agogõ (double cowbell) accent with metallic tones

Afoxe or xequre played by moving beads around a hollow gourd

4) What makes African rhythms so compelling?

West African rhythms are usually polyrhythmic (multiple patterns interweaved) and seek the occurrence of at least two different rhythms at the same time. It is the juxtaposition of opposing rhythms which creates the vital spark.

Music and dance in West African culture are an integral part of community life. To quote African music scholar John Miller Chernoff, "When you ask an African how he enjoyed certain music, he may very well respond by saying, 'It was a beautiful scene.' He understands that the music is important only in respect to the overall success of a social occasion, and he does not focus on the music but rather on the way the situation is picked up by the music."

About "the beat."

Westerners can find it difficult to find the beat in African music because the beat is within a larger time span than a basic pulse. This principle is known as divisive rhythm and the time span can be divided into groups of 2, 4, 8, or 16 pulses which is called duple meter or into groups of 3, 6, 12, or 24 pulses where the passage would be said to be in triple meter.

What is the difference between rhythm, beat, and tempo?

Rhythm pertains to the timing and duration of musical sounds. The three basic aspects are: time, movement in time or pulse, and the presence or lack of strict regularity of movement in time.

A beat is the basic unit used to measure musical time and varies in duration but within any section of the music is constant unless there is a change in tempo. Tempo is the speed of the beats within a section of music.

Offbeat refers to a point between beats and downbeat refers to the first beat of a section or measure of music.

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