The famous Rio Maracatu group displayed their skills with their folk rhythms of African descent as thousands looked on and cheered with others even joining in the fun,at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, where the world’s biggest Carnival has been ongoing for the past few days.
With their beautifully decorated costumes, they danced to the rhythm of the drums, a reminder of their culture during the slave trade more than 200 years ago.
“It’s the best carnival group in Rio de Janeiro. Rio Maracatu who come from Olinda are amazing. I love them,” said Thais Ferreira who is a student.
The Afro-Brazilian percussion group is led by Chicote, natives of Olinda whose pace was popularized in the 90’s and has since spread worldwide.
Maracatu is an ancient carnival tradition from the north-east of Brazil. It has its roots on the sugar plantations and slave estates of Pernambuco state, where black African slaves formed religious brotherhoods to preserve their culture and heritage.
The festival is organized by various samba schools in the country which is also involved in various community services.
This carnival is also influenced by African-Brazilian culture. It is a six-day party.
The word samba comes from the Angolan word “semba” referring to a type of music. The word had a variety of meanings to the African slaves brought to Brazil during the 17th and 19th centuries. It meant to pray or invoke the spirits of the ancestors and the gods of the African pantheon.
The samba dance, originating from the Bahia region with African rhythms, came to Rio de Janeiro around 1920.
The outpouring of colour and the samba dance helped the crowds put aside fears over the Zika virus, the economy and attempts to impeach President Dilma Rousseff.
The annual event has seen the performance of several samba shools who often compete to win the best title.
Rio will become South America’s first city to host the Summer Olympics this August and the carnival set the pace for what is to be expected.