Category: Backstage Carnival
Posted by: Andre Skowronski
Learn about Carnival Back Pieces: Feathered Accessories in the Samba World

In the Brazilian Carnival Costume world, many are the components that make up a Carnival costume. For show samba dancers and famous celebrities, Carnival designers often use a very important accessory, which creates a marvelous visual effect: The “costeiros” , feathered back-pieces, or “esplendores” , as they are called in Portuguese. This feathered accessory, In English, can also be referred to as a carnival “shoulder adornment”. On this carnival post, we will explain how and in what context these attractive carnival costume accessories are used.


Carnival costumes are always associated with glamour, exuberance, and luxury. With the “costeiros” or back-pieces it could not be different. Traditionally, costeiros started to be used on main carnival parade celebrities or “high-lights” members of a samba-school during the Rio carnival. ( In Portuguese these flash celebrities are called “destaques”.) Later, the “esplendores” or back-pieces became part of “common” revelers´ costumes, as samba-schools parades became richer, especially in terms of plumes and feathers. Entire carnival parade wings today have costumes with some kind of “shoulder adornment” or “esplendores”, with different kind of materials being used.


What eventually became a “trademark” for both Carnival Queens and samba show-girls was the heavy feathered type of “costeiros” / back-pieces. Actually, many of the Brazilian Carnival celebrities “compete” each year during the carnival parade to see who will present a fancier and eye-catching costume. The majority of the most stunning costumes in Brazil indeed have built-in “costeiros” or “back-pieces”, since it is the single piece in Carnival Queen costume that holds the greatest number of feathers. Costeiros feathers are normally made of 4 (four) kind: pheasant ( Lady Amherst Feathers) , Turkey feathers , goose, and peacock feathers ( less commonly used ).


Some Brazilian-Rio Carnival Queen back-pieces may have up to 1500 feathers and are also decorated with other artistic elements, like Swarovski crystals to enhance even more the overall look. Many of the feathers could be painted too. Some of these full costumes may cost from US$ 5.000 up to US$ 15.000,00 and could take 2 or 3 months to be totally crafted (including design/ style modifications). The individual costeiros evidently cost less ( from US$ 500,00 all the way to US$ 2.000,00).


A second type of Carnival reveler/ samba character which is notorious for using feathered costeiros or back-pieces are samba show girls. These type of passistas normally make use of feathered headdresses and costeiros in order to create a “volume” within a stage performance. Many Carnival show girls aside from the feathered costeiros may also use feathered arm bracelets. These are attached in different parts of the arm, but should allow movements for the freedom of the samba dance routines.


Finally, sizes of feathered carnival costeiros / back-pieces and carnival bracelets can vary substantially, which obviously influences in a direct manner it´s cost, as well as production time-frame. Their designs also vary tremendously: Some are very vertical, others have large wings, other may have more of a “horizontal twist”, while other have long tails, and the list goes on…


On this post, we are presenting a few examples of Brazilian Carnival costeiros and phases of the production of a Carnival back-piece: The initial design, the crafting/ adjustments phase, and the final result.

Below, we see three other examples of Brazilian Back Pieces being used in different occasions.



Category: Backstage Carnival
Posted by: Andre Skowronski
We, lovers from the Brazilian Carnival, are happy to see carnival festivities in many forms and shapes, are being developed all around the world. In England, Notting Hill already attracted more than 1 million people in 2010´s edition. This year it will certainly grow even more! Following this trend, we present a relatively new carnival group that will be parading at Notting Hill: the vibrant Flagz Mas Band!


This soca and Carrnival band has been performing for the Notting Hill parade since 2009 with excellent results, including an important award: "Winners of the 2009 Challenge Shield for Best Medium Sized Band of the year".

The Flagz Mas Band team members are vibrant, music lovers and have a great passion for dance and costumes. Their dedication can be seen in the innovation of the carnival costumes and body paintings. They have the Carribbean Carnival as a common background, with some elements of the Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Carnival too, which makes an interesting mix.


Learn below a liitle bit more of this growing and energetic band based in UK:

Flagz Mas Band Team:

As a team of young vibrant Soca and Carnival lovers, we decided to pool together our individual talents, and formed the Flagz Mas Band. With a large following of energetic carnival enthusiasts and carnival virgins, we took to the streets of Notting Hill in 2009 and came away, not only with a reputation for being a safe, fun and well organised band, but also with the Challenge Shield award for Best Medium Sized Band of the Year.


We aim to integrate revellers from all parts of the world and all ages from youngsters to grandparents into our band as we continuously spread the fun and enjoyment of Caribbean culture to the masses!

For further information, check out their website in the link provided:

Contact: Eon Pyle
Tel: +447956 815 370
Category: Backstage Carnival
Posted by: Andre Skowronski
Rio de Janeiro was elected Best gay destination in the world by Trip Out GayTravel website. In accordance to that, traditional Mocidade Samba School has recently disclosed that a new wing was created for 2010 Carnaval in Rio. The Gay wing will rely on gay merrymakers parading down Rio´s Sambadrome.

Below, a wing member of Mocidade Independente Padre Miguel Opening wing:


However, the school informs that it is not mandatory that the person is gay to be a part of the wing. All it takes is attending rehearsal at school court every Wednesday between 8:30 P.M and 10 P.M. According to Diguinho Mocidade and Maurício D’Paula, responsible for the wing, selection will take to consideration enthusiasm, attendance amongst other requirements. The costume to be used by wing members is very irreverent: a Leopard.

This is the first time a Rio Samba-School dedicates an entire wing to the gay community, and it came in great time since Rio is now recognized as one of the best destinies for gays in the world.

As a reminder, follows below the Official 2010 Schedule for Rio´s Carnaval Parade:

2010 Carnival Parade Schedule for the “Special Group” in Rio de Janeiro:

Sunday, February 14th Rio Samba-Schools Schedule:>

1st Approximate Time: 9:00 PM - União da Ilha Samba-School
2nd Approximate Time: 10:05 PM
- Imperatriz Leopoldinense Samba-School
3rd Approximate Time: 11:10 PM - Unidos da Tijuca Samba-School
4th Approximate Time: 00:15 AM – Viradouro Samba-School
5th Approximate Time: 01:20 AM – Acadêmicos do Salgueiro Samba-School
6th Approximate Time: 02:20 AM - Beija-Flor Samba-School

Monday, February 15th Rio Samba-Schools Schedule:

1st – Approximate Time: 9:00 PM - Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel
2nd Approximate Time: 10:05 PM -<b> Porto da Pedra

3rd Approximate Time: 11:10 PM – Portela Samba School
4th Approximate Time: 00:15 AM – Grande Rio
5th Approximate Time: 01:20 AM – Vila Isabel
6th Approximate Time: 02:20 AM – Mangueira Samba School
Category: Backstage Carnival
Posted by: Andre Skowronski
We still have another 4 months to Carnaval in Rio, but Rio de Janeiro has a new Carnival Queen, Shayene Cesario. The muse we have described in the past has just been elected yesterday, October 9th, the new Official Rio de Janeiro 2010 Carnival Queen. The contest occurred in Rio´s Samba City.

When the Official Rio de Janeiro Queen and Princess Contest was over, Shayene Cesário could never imagine she would be crowned the Official Rio de Janeiro Carnival Queen, winning over 12 other contenders. The decision was made by a judging panel that considered several attributes for the final scores, including samba dance abilities, overall charisma, sympathy, body elegance and facial expressions. Members of the judging panel included: Sidney Rezende, Selmynha Sorrisoz, Viviane Araújo, and actor Davi Pinheiro.


Let´s get to know this Carnival Goddess a bit more: Shayene Cesario is a 24 years old model and law student born in Rio de Janero. The lovely Brazilian brunette has indigenous, European, and Afro-Brazilian roots, which clearly constructed that extraordinary look. The Carnaval Goddess was raised in the traditional São Carlos neighborhood and started to parade at the early age of 8 with Estácio de Sá Samba School in Rio.

As part of her attributes of 2010 Official Rio de Janeiro Carnival Queen, Shayene Cesario will participate in a series of carnival balls, visit several samba rehearsals promoted by traditional samba schools like <b>Unidos da Tijuca
, Mangueira, together with the other members of the carnival court in Rio: Talita Martins and Suellen Pinto, the two Carnival Princesses, and Momo King Milton Rodrigues. Those who think this marketing pampering campaign is just posing may be unadvised: The carnival promotion marathon is extremely strenuous and fatiguing. As an example of a classic Carnaval promotional event, the Rio de Janero Mayor hands the “city´s keys” to Carnival court and officially opens the carnival festivity.


But who said this astonishing muse is only appealing to the eyes? Shayene is finishing her Law School and will become a full lawyer in one year. The new Rio Carnival Queen worked for two years as an intern at the Public Attorney in Rio, where she had a good chance to learn a bit of the profession’s routine.

To maintain the amazing fit, Shayene Cesario works out every day and also practices martial arts. Shayene Cesario has nearly perfect measures: 5.74 feet (1, 75 m ) and 143 pounds ( 65 kg) in a proportional waist line. Apart from parading in Rio´s Sambadrome, Shayene also paraded in São Paulo, where she enjoyed great success.

I am sure the new Carnaval Queen Shayene Cesario will be one of Brazil´s 2010 next celebrity for everything she represents: her simple ways, her friendly smile, her colorful ethnic background and spontaneous personality.

Below, a great shot from Marcelo O´Reilly:


Good luck in 2010 and congratulations for your samba roots!
Category: Backstage Carnival
Posted by: Andre Skowronski
Rio-de-Janeiro - Now its Official: The Goddess of Carnival Gracyanne Barbosa lost her post as Carnival Drum Queen for traditional Mangueira Samba School, to model and samba dancer Renata Santos, former Queen of Drums for Academicos de Santa Cruz. After a successful 10 year partnership with the Samba-School from the west part of Rio-de-Janeiro, the model will lend her grace, charm and personality now to Cartola´s green-and-pink legendary samba-school.


The previous star of Mangueira, Gracyanne Barbosa, remained as the Carnival Queen of Drum for two years and still has not announced her new plans. For Renata Santos, this movement can definitely be considered as an up-grade, since Academicos de Santa Cruz is not a member of the elite Group in Rio-de-Janeiro.


During an interview for “O DIA” newspaper, she stated: “'I know Ivo Meirelles (Mangueira´s President ) for long a time. When he decided to make a complete turn-around at the samba-school, he also decided to invite me to become the Queen of Drums. I had never thought this could happen in my life, but I'm ready. I went through a “Masters degree of 10 years” at Santa Cruz Samba-School and now it my time to join the Special Group. I am very happy”, said the Brazilian Carnival beauty


The official announcement was made in closed feijoada that occurred at the Samba-School’s court, were new board of directors from Mangueira were presented. According to carnival backstage insiders, Gracyanne is already being approached by other traditional samba-schools in Rio-de-Janeiro. If you want to know how these true Goddess of Brazilian Carnival are selected for the Queen of Drum post, read an exclusive article we wrote explaining this process.

Category: Backstage Carnival
Posted by: Andre Skowronski
, the 24 year old model and beauty muse from Acadêmicos de Tatuapé Samba School is extra-ready for the Carnival marathon in São Paulo. The muse is recovering from the fevers and body pains she had last week, February 7th and 8th. Jaque Khury will parade for the first time in her life as a Drum Queen for the Academicos do Tatuapé, samba school established on neighborhood she was born.

The Samba School Academicos do Tatuapé is part of the Access Group in São Paulo, and will parade in the Anhembi Sambadrome Sunday, February 22nd.

Below, Drum Queen Khury, Jaque in special photo shot with a luxury carnival costume:


Jaque Khury stated she had to pause a little bit with the samba rehearsals and work out, due to excessive work: “I was working out with too much weight on, and had several activities on that day. I was pumping iron and then practicing the samba dance routines too much. I was feeling bad”, she said during an interview. Model Jaque Khury states now is fully recovered and realized the incident was indeed a consequence of her loaded schedule.

Below, a photo of Jacqueline Khury at Samba Rehearsal at Gavioes da Fiel in São Paulo:


This year has been a super year for Jaque Khury She has been participating in several TV shows, interviews, and requested for several photo shoots, including Paparazzo, Ego, and VIP. Jaqque was also recently cover-girl for the prestigious Tattoo Brazil Magazine. Model Jaque Khury had a full 7 page article coverage about her tattoo history. The result was also a beautiful photo shoot of her tattoos, including her flying dragon on her back. See photo below of Jaqueline´s Tattoo:


Jaqueline was will also parade for the traditional Gavioes da Fiel Samba School in São Paulo. At Gavioes though, Jaque will parade as a high-light, which is a prestigious post too and involves accountability.

The Brazilian model was seen in several samba technical rehearsals, including one with Sabrina Sato, another muse from Gavioes da Fiel, which proves her commitment with the samba schools she represent. The former Big Brother Brazil contestant also said she was very anxious with her new post as Drum Queen for Acadêmicos do Tatuapé Samba School. Jaque Khury tells in an interview the post is a great honor, but it brings much responsibility. She concludes by saying she knows her carnival costume will have several Swarovski crystals and will be very chic. “ I wanted a costume that was not heavy nor too big, and resembled a bikini.”

Profile of Jaque Khury:


Good luck Jaque Khury once again I your two carnival parades!

Category: Backstage Carnival
Posted by: Andre Skowronski
Last Saturday, Shayene Cesário and Charlene Costa, accompanied by the Momo King visited Unidos da Tijuca Samba School rehearsal. It was a vibrant samba rehearsal, with many tourists, local community members and samba dancers mingling in full harmony. The rehearsal started at 11:00 PM, and everybody was anxious to see in live the presence of the Official Carnival Princesses , eagerly expected. The rehearsal also had the marking presence of Rogerinho , Unidos da Tijuca Master -of- Ceremony and Flag-Bearer Lucinha Nobre, the samba school First Couple.


The 2009 Rio Carnival Princesses and Momo King Milton Rodrigues da Silva Junior arrived at the samba rehearsal at 11:30 PM and remained at the samba school´s V.I.P. lounge, where they talked to Unidos da Tijuca directors and community. Marketing manager Fabiana Amorim helped to host the committee and led them through the samba court, presenting the President and other samba school celebrities.

Shayene Cesário, who was elected by RIO TUR as Rio de Janeiro Official Carnival Princess, was wearing a beautiful silver design dress and tall acrylic high heels. Charlene Costa, second Rio Carnival Princess was wearing a bright two piece samba outfit that accentuated her sensual curves. Both of them where wearing their Official Carnival Princess Tiaras. The samba rehearsal also had the important presence of Porto da Pedra Samba School, who was represented by their fantastic team of samba dancers.

Shortly after midnight, finally both Rio Carnival Princesses and Momo King headed to the Samba Court with the samba crowd in full expectation. It was the samba rehearsal apogee>. Having the traditional Drum Section called “Candência Pura” energizing their movements, Shayene and Charlene showed why they deserved to be called Official Rio Carnival Princesses, involving locals with charm and grace.

See below
Rio 2009 Carnival Princess dancing at the Unidos da Tijuca samba rehearsal.


Unidos da Tijuca elite samba dancers joined in to form a theatrical experience. Unidos da Tijuca court was complete, mesmerized in full samba dance limelight.

Unidos da Tijuca Samba School rehearsals every Saturday at “Clube dos Portuários”. Address: Avenida Francisco Bicalho, 47, Santo Cristo. Don´t miss next samba rehearsal December 6th.

Category: Backstage Carnival
Posted by: Andre Skowronski
Rio de Janeiro already has its new Official Carnival Queen. The Rio tourism government body RIOTUR promoted last September the “2009 Rio de Janeiro Carnival Queen and King Contest” at the Samba City in Rio. In total, there were 12 beautiful Brazilian Beauties, along with 12 heavy-weight King candidates… The Carnival “King” was also elected during the same event. The King in the Brazilian Carnival has a special title. He is called “Rei Momo”- Momo King, and his tradition goes back to the Brazilian Carnival Culture several years. Jéssica Maria de Freitas , 24 years old student, was the great winner of this warm and sensual night!


The contest started with the individual presentation of the 2009 Brazil Carnival Queen candidates. They were wearing golden swimwear and were cheered up by the Samba Show group. Many of them brought their personal fans from many samba schools. The candidates were judged on several criteria, including sympathy, beauty, carnival spirit, samba dance routines and outgoing personality. The jury committee was formed by notable personalities of the Brazilian Carnival, like Carlinhos de Jesus choreographer, journalist Sidney Rezende and Flag Bearer from Beija-Flor Selminha Sorriso
. The Brazilian Beauties dances were elaborated by Unidos da Tijuca Flag Bearer Lucinha Nobre, who is the official choreographer of the contest. The Carnival Queen candidates made a second presentation through the runway, this time with full carnival costumes and were interviewed by contest host man, Jorge Perlingeiro.

Below, the samba dance part of the contest:


After much expectation and suspense, the samba fans that crowded the Samba City finally discovered who would help to promote Rio de Janeiro 2009 Carnival, as its formal Queen. Jessica Freitas and the Momo King Milton Rodrigues da Silva Junior were crowned by RIOTUR Operations Director, Bruno Mattos. <b>Shayene Cesário Vieira
and Charlene Valnice da Costa, earned respectively second and third place, and became Rio 2009 Carnival Princesses. They also earned prizes ranging from US$ 6.000 to US$ 10.000.


Below and above, we see pictures from Diego Mendes, Henrique Mattos and Alexandre Brum, from O DIA Agency.

Wondering what really a Rio de Janeiro Carnival Queen and King does? This contest sponsored by the Rio de Janeiro City, is in reality a tradition and at the same time, a marketing event. Rio de Janeiro Carnival is the most magical carnival in the world, and needs constant promotional efforts. At their posts, the newly elected Carnaval Muses Queens, Princesses and the King visit the most important Carnival Balls, the Sambadrome Parade and take part of the official handling of the city keys ceremony with Rio ´s Mayor. In this event, the Mayor opens the city´s door to the Carnival festivity. They work non-stop from September through the end of the Carnival, in February, highlighting the Carnival affairs.

Next time in Rio, try to visit the Samba City or one of the many of the hot samba rehearsals in town!

Please see below the profile of the Brazilian Beauties of 2009 Rio de Janeiro Carnival Queen contestants:

Samba Muse Natália dos Santos Norbert>
Age: 20 years
Height: 1,65 cm
Size: 38
Profession: Dancer and Student
Samba School: all

Samba Muse - Lívia Silva Moura


Age: 19 years
Height: 1,67 cm
Size: 38
Profession: Student
Samba School: Mangueira

Samba Muse Luciana Conceição da Silva

Age: 23 years
Height: 1,61 cm
Size: 38
Profession: Dancer
Samba School: All

Samba Muse Luana Cristina Herdy Jesus

Age: 26 years
Height: 1,65
Size: 38
Profession: Ballerina
Samba School: Salgueiro

Shayene Cesário Vieira Princess

Age: 23 years
Height: 1,75 cm
Size: 42
Profession: Lawyer
Samba School: Estácio de Sá

Samba Muse Cynthia Jaciara Paixão de Oliveira
Age: 23 years
Height: 1,75 cm
Size: 40
Profession: Student
Samba School: Salgueiro

7- Michele Cristina Soares Pereira dos Santos

Age: 25 years
Height: 1,70 cm
Size: 38
Profession: Ballerina
Samba School: Portela

Samba Muse Clara Cristina Paixão de Oliveira

Age: 25 years
Height: 1,70 cm
Size: 38
Profession: Nurse
Samba School: Beija-Flor

Samba Muse Jéssica Maia de Freitas – Official 2009 Rio de Janeiro Carnival Queen


Age: 25 years
Height: : 1,70 cm
Size: 40
Profession: Student
Samba School: Loves all of them!

Samba Muse Érica Pereira Monteiro

Age: 20 years
Height: 1,62 cm
Size: 36
Profession: Dancer and Student
Samba School: União da Ilha

Samab Muse Charlene Valnice da Costa – 2009 Rio de Janeiro Carnival 2nd Princess

Age: 25 years
Height: 1,70 cm
Size: 38
Profession: teacher and dancer
Samba School: Beija-Flor

Samba Muse Danielle Batista de Brito
Age: 23 years
Height: 1,67 cm
Size: 38
Profession: Student
Samba School: Todas
Category: Backstage Carnival
Posted by: Andre Skowronski
Carnival in São Paulo? I bet you have never heard of this! Yes, there is carnival in the industrial city of São Paulo. Most of foreigners and even some Brazilians are not aware that this city also offers a beautiful and lively Carnival.

São Paulo followed Rio de Janeiro and decided in 1991 to inaugurate a "Sambadrome", which is an open air facility especially created for the samba schools parade. The design of the Sambadrome was styled by the worldwide acclaimed architect Oscar Niemeyer.

The city, famous for being the financial and economic powerhouse of Brazil, also has a league that helps organize the samba schools parade and contest. This association is called LIGA, and has its own rules similar to the Rio league.

The samba schools are divided into two groups, being the "Special Group" the elite of São Paulo carnival, and the "Access Group" that would represent the second Tier. The Special Group is composed of 14 samba schools, while the Access Group has eight members. The parade in São Paulo is held in three days, Friday through Sunday during carnival days. The Special Groups parades in the first two days and the Access Group parades Sunday.


Above, a spetacular view of the Rosas de Ouro Samba School in São Paulo, 2008

Below we posted the final results of the São Paulo samba contest, won this year by "Vai-Vai" samba school, with a minimal advantage. It was its 13th Samba contest title won by Vai-Vai, which has its roots in the traditional neighborhood of São Paulo called Bixiga. "Mocidade" samba school stayed in the second place, due to tie-breaking criterion.

Official Position - Name of Samba School - Total Number of Points - São Paulo 2008

Vai-Vai 90,00
Mocidade 90,00
Vila Maria 89,75
Rosas de Ouro 89,75
Tom Maior 89,00
X-9 Paulistana 88,75
Mancha Verde 88,50
Nenê de Vila Matilde 88,50
9º Império de Casa Verde 88,25
10º Pérola Negra 87,50
11º Gaviões da Fiel 87,50
12º Tucuruvi 87,25
13º Águia de Ouro 87,00
14º Camisa Verde e Branco 86,00

So next time when somebody asks about Brazil, don´t be shy to show your Latin knowledge, affirming there is also a very rich carnival in São Paulo.


Above, an impressive shot taken by Marcelo Justo of a colorful "baiana" of Casa Verde samba school.

This is a non-commercial blog devoted to wonders of Rio de Janeiro, with a focus in Brazilian Carnival. Our sole objective is to describe how Carnival in Brazil is magically created, its artists, dancers and musicians that make up the world’s largest show. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.