Samba at Pedra do Sal

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Samba at Pedra do Sal. Photo: Isabela Kassow/Diadorim Ideias
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Pedra do Sal, at Morro da Conceição, is part of a region historically known as "Pequena África" (Little Africa), which originally spanned from current Mauá Square to the Cidade Nova neighborhood areas. Celebrations in slave houses and "forrós" (festivities in which forró - a traditional Northeastern Brazilian music genre - is the central focus) "choro" ("cry" or "lament"- an instrumental Brazilian popular music genre similar to New Orleans jazz) music was performed with flute, "cavaquinho" (small guitar) and guitar.

In slave house's backyards, rural samba was performed, which included clapping, tambourine, "prato-e-faca" (a percussion instrument which consists of a knife and a plate) which was followed by dance moves. Urban samba in Rio de Janeiro was born from these events, as were popular samba musicians and the old samba ranches. Pedra do Sal was also seen as a sacred place in which African religion devotees would place religious offerings. 

Photo: Isabela Kassow/Diadorim Ideias


Listed as a historic and religious heritage site, it provided, in the 19th century, stone - which was extracted by slaves - for paving streets and the port of the city of Rio de Janeiro. The area, by the sea, was also a place of salt loading and unloading, a product which was used for leather manufacture and canned meat production. Today, Pedra do Sal hosts lively samba jam sessions by Roda de Pedra group.

The area has interesting colorful houses next to a stairway and the historic stone slope. The samba at Pedra do Sal event attracts tourists and young adults from different neighborhoods in the city.

On the National Samba Day, in December 2nd, members of the Pedra do Sal "quilombo" (a hinterland settlement founded by people of African origin, who were escaped slaves and/or other non-black, non-slave Brazilians who experienced oppression during colonization) celebrate the washing of the Rock (Pedra do Sal in Portuguese means "salt rock").

Candomblé groups and members of street block Afoxé Filhos de Gandhi are responsible for the hard work. Samba jam sessions, "rodas de capoeira" (capoeira presentations or rehearsals, in which members form a circle), thematic cuisine, film screenings, and talks are part of the celebration. 

General Information

Address: Address: Argemiro Bulcão Street, Saúde.
Phone: (+55 21) 99701-8905 / (+55 21) 97381-6490
Opening hours:

Mondays and Fridays starting at 8pm.

Secretaria de Cultura do Estado do Rio de Janeiro Petrobras

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