Samba Fogo’s New Ala!


I am now a new member of the Samba Fogo family and so happy about it! World, meet the new Samba Fogo Ala!

During carnival, each school displays glamour in colorful costumes and floats with special effects and is organized into different segments or “alas“. The “alas” represent different components of the school’s theme, or “enredo”, as they act out a homage to a myth (the myth dork in me is so excited about this!), historic event or figure, or express their view on a social, environmental or international issue. The “alas” display distinct costumes or “fantasias” and also reflect traditional samba school roles developed years ago.

Thus, each samba school parade has the “comissao de frente“; individuals who open the parade by walking in social attires, saluting the crowds; the “ala das Baianas”, or the traditional segment of Bahian African-Brazilian ladies with impressive round dresses spinning through the avenue; the “puxadores” (lead singers) singing the “samba-enredo” or theme-song while they play the “cavaquinho” or other string instruments; the “velha guarda,” or veterans who made history in the school; the “bateria“, or samba band with drums, “cuicas” and other instruments, preceded by the “madrinha da bateria”, or band godmother who is often a sexy female celebrity. The “porta-bandeira“, or the female flag holder, and the “meste-sala“, or male cortsy, display and salute the school’s flag, as they dance and strive to show harmony and samba expertise, as their performance is carefully observed and scored by the judges.

And then there are the Passistas, without which Carnival would be incomplete, those gorgeous ladies in feathers and heels. I’ve found great articles on the origin of the Passistas. This is one of my favorite: Brazil Carnival: Passistas

I’ve also come across a handful of scholarly articles that speculate the origin of the Passista comes from an Amazonian fertility goddess, similar to Coatlicue or Ixchel.

Artist Rendering of Ixchel

Ixchel at Xcaret Park

And then one of the most obvious inspirations for the Passista is Pomba Gira, the Yoruban goddess/spirit or “orisha” of sexuality.

Pomba Gira

Pomba Gira

The term “passista,” is Portuguese and means roughly “to stroll.” In Brazil, only women who possess the samba dance art mastery skills become Passistas and the very best of the best become “Reinhas,” or “Queens.”

I found some great pics for costumes here: Brazil Carnival Costumes

So there’s a brief bit of history on the different types of Samba School “Alas.” Our new Ala will be parading with the rest of the Samba Fogo troupe for the first time at the Utah Brazilian Festival, Sep. 8th!

Here’s some parade footage from the 2010 Festival:

Obrigada! Muito Amor!

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