Updated on April 26, 2013
Love for street Carnival and love of place - Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas - are at the core of Spanta Neném ("Scare Baby"), one of the best blocos, or Carnival groups, in Rio de Janeiro.
All the bloco's events are in the pre-Carnival season. Spanta is known for its parade by the lagoon, always with excellent musicians and an easygoing atmosphere; its great pre- and post-parade parties; and its music and tutoring project for kids at Santa Marta, one of Rio's favelas, where the group also hosts Morro de Alegria, a monthly samba party with food by some of Rio de Janeiro's best bars (see below).
The parades are well organized, with portable restrooms provided by Spanta Neném besides the ones provided by the Rio de Janeiro administration (in Carnival 2011, there were 60 portable restrooms in all).
Spanta Neném is a non-profit organization and proceeds help maintain their music school at Santa Marta, which offers guitar, percussion and other music lessons as well as school tutoring to 100 favela children. Some of them participate in the group's percussion band during Carnival parades. The school also helps create jobs in the favela, since all instructors come from the Santa Marta community.
The bloco has a version for young kids: Spantinha (or "Little Spanta"), which hosts its own parties, packed with fun activities, and Carnival events.
Spanta Neném songwriters have created several signature Carnival songs and the group. In the 2012/2013 season, Spanta launched a new band: Chupeta Elétrica.
- Spanta will parade on Saturday, Jan.26, 2013 at Ciclovia da Lagoa (the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas cycling lane near Corte do Cantagalo. Keep up with the starting time on Facebook
- Spantinha will have their Carnival also on Jan.26, 2013 at Ciclovia da Lagoa near Corte do Cantagalo.
Doors open at 3 p.m. (for all parties)Where: Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas
Flamengo Rowing Club
Avenida Borges de Medeiros 997
- Dec.8, 2012 - Primavera do Spanta (Spanta Spring) will be a BOA do Samba event sponsored by Antarctica beer, featuring Mart´nália, Marcelinho da Lua, Descendo a Serra, A Quebrada, and Spantosa Bateria do Spanta (the bloco's own percussion band. The 2013 samba theme will be chosen at this party.
- Dec.22, 2012 - End-of-Year party with Jorge Aragão, Marcelinho da Lua e A Chupeta Elétrica, Spantosa Bateria do Spanta and Roda do Spanta (the group's samba band)
- Jan.7, 2013 - First Carnival rehearsal with Netinho da Bahia, part of the percussion band from the São Clemente samba school, Quinho do Salgueiro, Marcelinho da Lua e A Chupeta Elétrica, Spantosa Bateria do Spanta and Roda do Spanta.
- Jan.12, 2013 - Second Carnival rehearsal and a BOA do Samba event featuring Arlindo Cruz, Marcelo D2, Marcelinho da Lua e A Chupeta Elétrica, Spantosa Bateria do Spanta and Roda do Spanta
- Jan.19, 2013 - General rehearsal for Carnival honoring Paulinho da Viola and featuring Teresa Cristina, part of the Portela samba school, Marcelinho da Lua e A Chupeta Elétrica, Spantosa Bateria do Spanta and Roda do Spanta.
- Jan.26, 2013 - Parade and party with Leo Jaime, Moinho, Marcelinho da Lua e A Chupeta Elétrica, and Roda do Spanta.
Spanta sells a kit with tickets to all the season's parties and a T-shirt at Farm stores, but as of this update on Dec.8, the kit has already sold out. Tickets to each party are being sold at Farm Ipanema (R$100 in advance). Ask about purchasing a T-shirt voucher which could be exchanged for a t-shirt at the parties. The bloco is posting updates about ticket sales at the club - on Saturday, Dec.8, they started at Sede de Remo do Flamengo at 10 a.m.
Farm Ipanema is at Rua Visconde de Pirajá 365, Store c-d- 202, 203 and 204. Phone: 55-21-3813-3817.
Morro de Alegria Parties:
Santa Marta, on the Dona Marta hill in Botafogo, is one of the Rio de Janeiro favelas which has a UPP (Police Pacifying Unit) to push away drug barons. Spanta Neném's Morro de Alegria (a play on words meaning both "Hill of Joy" and "I Burst with Joy") is a party meant to create a greater interaction between the favela community, residents from Rio's hip South Side and other neighborhoods, and Brazil and international tourists.
The favela has its own samba school - Mocidade Unida do Santa Marta. Their headquarters are the venue for this party with fantastic samba (curated by journalist and music critic João Pimentel) and a culinary event curated by Guilherme Studart, author of Rio Botequim, a Rio de Janeiro bar guide.
Aconchego Carioca and Bar da Gema are some of the bars which have brought their fare to the party.
The very steep hill has its own mountain incline, and visitors can take it, with local guides, to the rooftop where Michael Jackson recorded a few scenes of his "They Don't Care About Us" video (mainly recorded in Pelourinho, Salvador, with Olodum). In June 2010, a statue of Michael Jackson designed by Ique was inaugurated on the rooftop, which also has a Michael Jackson mosaic panel by Romero Britto.
The party starts at 4 p.m. and ends at about midnight (a UPP curfew). Tickets (price: R$30) can usually be purchased at the Shell gas station at Rua Sao Clemente 295, Botafogo. You can get to the party by taxi.
Check dates for the next party on the Spanta Neném website.