RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Few Brazilians can declare to dominate their discipline as a lot, and at such a younger age, because the 39-year-old Carnival showman Leandro Vieira.
Vieira has turn out to be probably the most adorned leaders of the annual parade competitors in Rio de Janeiro. This 12 months, as Carnival director of a samba faculty that hasn’t received in additional than twenty years, he may cement his title as one of many biggest for the reason that festivities kicked off nearly 100 years in the past.
Rio’s is the nation’s premier Carnival parade, and the contestants compete for cash prizes, status and fandom.
Vieira’s job contains serving to to choose his samba faculty’s theme for the 12 months, its materials for costumes and who will function on the highest of majestic floats. Finally he decides how his faculty spends about 10 million Brazilian reals (nearly $2 million).
Vieira’s status as an artist — and his fame as a celebration animal — has stretched effectively past Rio, attaining the type of celeb a movie director would possibly acquire. He was just lately interviewed on Roda Viva, a public TV conventional program that usually listens to probably the most revered Brazilians.
He’s a fixture not solely in Carnival’s formal parade competitions, however of the casual block events all through town at the moment of 12 months.
“I can’t simply work, I must really feel Carnival on the road to be pleased,” Vieira instructed The Related Press in an interview. “Much more so after a pandemic that made us endure a lot, made us keep residence in 2021.”
Vieira’s job title is carnavalesco.
He did it for Mangueira, the preferred samba faculty in Brazil, the place he received the parade titles in 2016 and 2019. Later, he lifted two trophies within the second division, which makes him probably the most profitable in recent times.
This 12 months he’s carnavalesco for Imperatriz Leopoldinense — named after a former Empress of Brazil — which just lately was relegated to second division and the place he hopes to earn the varsity’s first trophy since 2001.
Vieira says he doesn’t goal merely to shock or thrill an viewers, however fairly to ship considerate statements.
“I’m not a carnavalesco of surprises. I’m not a person of spectacles,” Vieira mentioned within the interview whereas he concurrently labored on his group’s radio tools that they may use to speak throughout their parade.
His faculty’s parade this 12 months targeted on the lifetime of Nineteen Twenties and 30s bandit Virgulino Ferreira da Silva, higher identified by Brazilians as Lampião. Vieira says he picks his themes with one motto in thoughts: “It’s the historical past that official historical past doesn’t inform.”
Lampião, for instance, was not portrayed by the samba faculty solely as a vicious felony but in addition as a courageous man who earned the respect of many fellow Brazilians.
Forward of this 12 months’s parade, Vieira walked by way of the performers fixing costumes and adjusting particulars with a smile on his face. He made certain all members have been doing their half to sing this 12 months’s theme music — a element that may make a distinction with the judges who sit within the viewers in Rio’s Sambadrome.
A key selection for Imperatriz Leopoldinense this 12 months was who to nominate as queen of the drum part — a job that the varsity historically has given to celebrities and vogue fashions. Final 12 months it was pop singer Iza.
This time Vieira helped give the nod to a 21-year-old communications scholar and dancer named Maria Mariá who’s from certainly one of Rio’s low-income favela neighborhoods. She was topped throughout an emotional ceremony final December on the samba faculty’s headquarters with a headpiece designed by Vieira.
“Leandro is a giant inspiration to us all. He reveals us we might be the very best in any discipline we like,” Mariá mentioned Tuesday whereas dressed as a satan who teases the character of Lampião.
Vieira takes his function within the Carnival parade trade severely, however says that collaborating within the vacation’s avenue events is simply as necessary for him. Earlier within the week he joined the Prata Preta avenue occasion sporting the costume of Brazilian singer Gal Costa, who died final 12 months.
“The soul of the occasion is on the road,” he mentioned.