The First All-Female Samba School to Participate in Carnival in Brazil

Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro is hosting its return of Carnival. The Catholic church celebrates the start of Easter with a week-long event called the Carnival. Brazil’s federal government anticipates 46 million participants in the celebrations, which get underway on Friday and end on February 22. There are numerous parades with samba dancing and music. A group from the samba school Turma da Paz de Madureira, or TPM, is one of them.

TPM is unique in that it is the first all-female samba school in the city. It is uncommon for women to head samba groups in Brazil. Barbara Rigaud stated, “The big samba schools are coordinated by men, which means women are used to receiving orders.” She is the new TPM samba school’s 54-year-old leader. “It is empowering for a woman to be able to express her desires, ideas, and opinions here,” Rigaud continued.

TPM began as a bloco in 2011, which is the term for street musicians who perform during the Carnival season. Rigaud made the decision to compete in the city’s samba leagues in order to advance the women-only group. After receiving approval from the city, the school opened in September of last year. There are now 320 members. Even still, some males continue to make fun of the group. Among the many TPM drummers is Gisele Rosires. She remarked, “Men look me up and down; they think I’m not capable.” She recalled performing in Madureira Park a year and a half ago for the first time with the school. She was given the instrument by a man who told her to go since she was a woman.

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