These old marchinhas are sung at street carnavals in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Minas Gerais. In the northeast region of Brazil you have other genres that are more prevalent, like axé and afoxé in Bahia, and frevo and maracatú in Recife, for example. The street carnavals in Rio and São Paulo were kind of asleep for some time, but turned into a massive event again in the past 10 years.
Marchinhas are still the main soundtrack, but you also have blocos focused on Afro Brazilian chants (or some that do live carnaval versions of Michael Jackson, The Beatles or an old dance music hit). There’s something for everybody.
This year, for the first time in decades, there was no carnaval in Brazil. Machado de Assis, a very famous Brazilian writer wrote in 1894: “it’s my belief that if Momo ever gets exiled, the world will end”, Momo being a greek God that has come to symbolise carnaval. Let’s hope he is just taking a break!
I’m looking forward to carnaval in 2022, probably the best one in history. Here I’ve selected the songs that are, for me, the 7 most iconic marchinhas.
You can listen to Millos Kaiser’s Worldwide FM show, A Voz Do Brasil, here.