SAO PAULO – A drum section for a samba school competing in Sao Paulo’s Carnival has drawn comparisons with FC Barcelona, with one member of the ensemble even being likened to soccer superstar Lionel Messi.
The main mission of the so-called “Barcelona of samba” is to provide the rhythm for the Imperio de Casa Verde samba school, which on Feb. 10 will parade through this Brazilian metropolis’ sambadrome with a theme inspired by ordinary people.
Around 200 musicians make up the drum section, which is one of that samba school’s seven components and – as always – a crucial factor in its final score.
Casa Verde’s drum section has existed for decades, but it was given the name Barcelona in 2011 when commentators for Globo television compared its performance to the Spanish soccer powerhouse, which won La Liga and the Champions League that season.
Robson Zoinho, considered the group’s Messi, told EFE before a rehearsal that the drum section had “copied” Barça’s “philosophy of play” and its organization.
Wearing uniforms with Messi’s No. 10 on their backs, the musicians follow Zoinho’s direction and pound away at various percussion instruments featuring FC Barcelona’s shield and the phrase “More than a Drum Section” (a play on the Catalan club’s famous slogan “More than a Club”).
Evandro Santana, who has spent four decades in the world of samba, said Casa Verde’s drum section was a true team just like the famed soccer club.
“This is like Barcelona. Here everyone plays for everyone,” Santana said before entering the Anhembi Sambadrome, a venue designed by late architect Oscar Niemeyer that draws more than 20,000 people each year for Sao Paulo’s Carnival.
That metropolis’s elite samba schools will parade this year over two days starting Saturday, Feb. 9.