Thursday, April 1, 2010

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

3 weeks to go!

Countdown...3 weeks until I leave for a week in the redwoods and brazil camp! I will spend a week feeding my soul with samba, brazilian jazz,dance classes, forró, more samba, natural gourmet meals that I don't have to cook or wash dishes for, samba de raiz pagodes at night, 3am churrascos, more samba, samba reggae....and surrounded with like minded people the whole time! I won't have any computer access and will sleep in a tent....I need this at least once a year, and have been going almost every year for around 10 or 11 years.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

I fell again

After I returned home from hearing that we won, I went home to chill a little before the celebration that I knew would be happening. I was excited though and almost flew to the quadra. I saw Vania, with whom I confirmed plans regarding my private samba dance lesson, which I was very excited about...she was the director of passistas for Mocidade, and an excellent choreographer as well. I turned away from her and entered the quadra from a different door than I usually take. Just inside the quadra, I saw a kid who held his arms out for a congratulatory hug, I liked this kid's sweet energy and went to happily hug him, and, next thing I knew, my hands were in front of me and I was trying to break a very clumsy fall over some big metal frame of the door that I'd never noticed before. No time to even think about the rolling technique! I was on the ground and he was helping me up and asking me if I was ok. Of course I said I was ok. I think I will always say I'm ok unless my leg somehow fell off from the fall. I went into the quadra, washed my legs off and noticed that I had a huge bump forming on my knee. I also started noticing that my foot felt funny. I didn't want anything to be wrong, so I tried to ignore it. I tried to talk myself into feeling so positive that nothing would really be wrong. After about half an hour, I saw that the bateria was going to play. I then realized that I didn't bring earplugs. Don't listen to anyone that says earplugs are for sissies and non-brazilians. True, the little kids would giggle and point at mine sometimes, but guys from the favela wear them as well. They say the same thing I do....'I don't want to become deaf'. There are plenty of ritmistas who are youngish and are already hard of hearing....could be their jobs as well, but I'm not going to sacrifice my hearing. Since I also left the house without my emergency toilet paper...why is it that quadras never have any? I couldn't rely on that either. I was seriously considering tearing a R$5 bill in half and using that when I realized that people were eating burgers from somewhere, and they had to have napkins....yes! they did. All set now, I went back into the quadra kind of limping. There was no way I was missing playing for the celebration, so I played for about 2 hours. What an exuberant crowd. I wanted to play all night! After a while I finally just couldn't deny anymore that my foot hurt when I put any pressure on it, so when we took a long break, I snuck out (uma saída à francesa leave without saying goodbye to people)...I didn't feel like explaining. Brazilians either want you to tough things out, OR they want to make a huge deal and rush you to the hospital, I've noticed. I wish now that I'd said something because I went to walk home to put ice on my foot, but couldn't because it hurt so much so I took a taxi. I ended up staying on my bed for two days...I couldn't walk on my foot. It's better today; I'm hoping hoping hoping for a miracle so I can take that private class with Vania. I needed to get a lot done these last few days before I leave, but couldn't....I also needed to slow down some I guess.
Unidos played in Padre Miguel for the community and I missed it. I really wanted to connect with the gang before I go. I was so frustrated yesterday that I shed a few angry tears. I didn't want my trip to be cut short, but as Brenda put it, 'at least it was at the end!' and as Bruno's mom put it, after they returned from their beach house (oh yeah, I was alone and unable to walk for those two days)...'well at least it was after the parade!' true!

Unidos de Padre Miguel WON!

We won our division and will go up to the next division, grupo de acesso!!!!!

"This happens once a year!"

I love carnaval. As Bruno put it when we were entering the sambodromo, with a huge smile on his face, "This happens once a year!!!" I will probably always love carnaval.
As with all things you love, you've got to take the bad with the good.
One annoying/good part of parading is your costume. I went to Unidos Quadra 3 times to try to pick mine up. It wasn't their fault....they were told they'd be ready, then they wouldn't be. On the other hand, you don't have to pay for it. If you are in the bateria, they give it to you. You never know if it'll be a cool fantasia (costume) like Unidos' fantasia was this year, or like the one I had one year...tan and brown. And it was waaaay too big on me. You also have to worry about the shoes. Actually, I don't worry about them anymore. I know that they'll be too big, they always are, but I figured out that if I wear the right chinelos inside the shoes, they'll be just right (or a little tight) and springingly comfortable. The fantasia shoes are usually hard thin plastic soled. You also have to think about getting the whole thing home, (headpiece, shoulder piece, skirt, polyester non-breathing jumpsuit, arm and leg decorations) especially if you don't have car, or know anyone who has a car. It's heavy and large and 100 degrees out. And you don't live next door. For me, the biggest annoyance is the cabeça (the headpiece). I have a little head with slick hair. I've never had a cabeça that fits properly. They are usually way too big, and revolve around on my head. If they're not too big, they are too tight and either give you cuts or a huge headache. I actually prefer too tight. The one I had last tuesday for Unidos parade was the worst I've ever worn. People who've parade LOTS said the same thing. They weren't made for a head or something. They wanted to fall off your head to the back. In order to keep it from falling, I had to tip my head forward and down, but needed to see the directors hands, so I was peering up through my eyelashes the whole time (when I didn't have my head sideways to keep the f%*&** on!

A good part was going to sapucai with the gang from the quadra on the bus. What a blast!
I think I'll insert the email I wrote about it to the Lions right here:

(If you're a Lion, this is a repeat!)
Yes, I played last night on sapucai for Unidos de Padre Miguel from 1:30 am to 2:30 am. I went to the avenue with the bateria on a bus from the quadra...what an experience! Get together a bunch of young guy musicians who've been ingesting who knows what for hours while we were waiting to leave (4 hours), and you've got a loud, exuberant busload. There was aformentioned ingesting, joking, beating on any available surface, singing and an almost fight. It was a blast! We got to the concentração, and waited a whole bunch more. Some changed into our costumes, some went and drank some more. Guys were peeing everywhere and anywhere, us girls at least went to some nearby bushes. How is it that they (most of them anyway) can still sound good after drinking? I don't know, but maybe they'd sound even better if they didn't...who knows? Our costumes looked great, sorry, I didn't get any picures....I spent almost the whole time before we started playing trying to get my headpiece to stay on my head. It was the worst headpiece in history. It looked fabulous, but the person who designed them was never in a bateria. It was tall, with these candelabra on the side. The shoulder pieces also had candelabra on the tops, so when your neighbor turned around to look at the bateria often as did mine, or anyone walked by you, their candelabra of either the head or shoulder would either knock into yours, thereby knocking your (in my case, too big) headpiece almost off), or get entangled. A few of the larger headed guys were complaining afterwards that it hurt because it was too tight. The rest of us were complaining because they were too loose. It didn't help that the cord to tighten them was nylon of the slipperiest sort. I finally got a strong guy to tie mine just before we entered the avenue, but it started slipping around on my head 15 minutes later. I had to parade with my head lowered and trying to look up through my eyelashes at the director, or with my head sideways, trying to keep it on. Other than the *^%*# headpiece, it was great. We heard the crowd yelling, "É Campeâo!" " É Campeâo!" " É Campeâo!" (the champion) when we were leaving the avenue...nice!

Unidos de Padre Miguel

I've been practicing a lot with Unidos lately and they've amped up rehearsals....boy, this is like a job! We've been having the ringers join us lately, but they are very welcome. A lot of them played for Mocidade when I first came to Padre Miguel, so it was really good to see old friends. These people are the cream of the crop in Rio! One girl was chosen to play tamborim for Mangueira when they opened the bateria up to women. What a joy playing in front of tamborins that swing so hard! If I could only stay here longer......
Things are can feel it in the air. Carnaval is almost here!

Grupo Revelação

Yes, my lovelies, I did get to see them...sort of. I was indeed at the same place they were, but there were so many other people in between us, I can actually see them much better on my video of them! Kinda like being at a blazer game. I wasn't at the back or anything, but I wasn't in front where I usually like to be and was cramped and couldn't dance that much, but just the thought of being there was thrilling. I've liked them for a long time and was really hoping that they wouldn't do a lot of their 'romantico' songs, and thank goodness, they didn't! They did a lot of pagode de raiz and songs of theirs that I love. AND it only cost $5 reais...I'm not kidding. Around carnaval time, the Terreirão do Samba (located just next door to Sapucai) has these great samba shows for almost nothing. What a great city Rio is! Oh, another thing. Since there was no way I could find Tara Bianca and Claudinho in that crowd, I was solo. Some brazilians at a table near me adopted me, invited me to share their food and chairs....what great people Cariocas are!