Cordão do Bola Preta Street Band

Intangible Cultural Heritage - Rio de Janeiro


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In 1918, a band was formed by Caveirinha, Chico Brício and friends and was called  Só se bebe água. Revellers gathered at the bars at former Cruzeiro shopping, in downtown Rio de Janeiro. One day, a pierrette (a female pierrot) dressed in white with black dots walked past them.

The Portuguese word for black dots, "bola preta" was the inspiration for naming the band, which in 2007 was listed by the City Administration as Cultural Heritage of Rio de Janeiro. 

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The Cordão do Bola Preta Street Band is considered the oldest street band still active in Rio de Janeiro. It was immortalized through the famous marchinha (a typical Brazilian Carnival music genre which relies on humorous lyrics - its name, "little march", satirizes the seriousness of military marches) Quem não chora não mama, composed by Nelson Barbosa and Vicente Paiva, and recorded by Carmem Costa. The street band gathers more than a million revellers during carnival parades. 


General Information

Address: 13 de Maio Avenue, 13, downtown Rio de Janeiro.
Phone: (+55 21) 2240-8049

Secretaria de Cultura do Estado do Rio de Janeiro Petrobras

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