By José Alberto Gonçalves Pereira*
Rio, Salvador, Recife or Olinda? Which town promotes the best carnival in Brazil? It is a very arguable question and I reckon I´m not the right person to answer it. You might distrust my response if I told you that I am traveling this week to the Northeast to enjoy my ninth carnival in Olinda and Recife. These neighboring towns on the coast of the state of Pernambuco are among the best places in Brazil for those interested in popular street culture. Olinda and Recife dispute the trophy of best carnival of Pernambuco – or maybe Brazil. Both cities have common cultural features, especially the lead carnival rhythm, frevo, a high-speed march played by brass bands, that includes umbrella-swinging and steps derived from capoeira.
No one in Brazil is crazy to deny that Rio stages the most beautiful samba carnival in the world. Also, I would be dishonest if I did not pay tribute to the exciting Salvador carnival, which brings together a multitude to its streets to sing and dance animated by trios elétricos (trucks equipped with a powerful sound system and a band on top of it) and blocos afros (Afro-Brazilian cultural groups). Both carnivals deserve your attendance at least once in your terrestrial life. Continue reading Recife and Olinda: Brazilian Carnival beyond Rio