From Brazilian roots came our beloved Tropical Crush, a celebration-in-a-tube of all the good vibes emanating from Ilha Grande, an untainted island just an hour from Rio de Janeiro.
This Friday kicks off the bacchanalia in Brazil that is Carnival, a word with Christian roots that derive from the Latin carne vale, meaning ‘goodbye flesh’. The first official Carnival festival in Rio occurred in 1723, and three hundred years later, it’s gotten a little more, ahem, fleshy. The party gets started with the Samba parade, and millions of people take to the streets to join in the rousing festivities. Samba schools from all over Rio – more than 200 of them – spend the year contriving and creating what will be the elaborate floats and costumes paraded in the Sambadrome – yes, such a thing exists! Throw in some sensational choreography, dancing, and music with glitz and debauchery to create an irresistible cocktail of beauty and energy.
We can’t claim that Tropical Crush contains every bit of that!
BUT after all that partying, what Tropical Crush does contain is a little Rooibos that may sooth those free radical dancing legs (and perhaps a pounding headache) with its antioxidant and calming properties, a dash of mint to clear that morning/afternoon/twilight breath (who is keeping track of time during Carnival?), and pineapple to keep at bay all that post-Carnival pining (is that right?).
Oh Tropicalia, take us away.
Musically, the very first Rio masquerade took place in 1840, where polka and waltz took center stage. Like much Brazilian music, the origins came from African slavery. Samba was introduced to Carnival in 1917, and its infectious rhythms stem from old Bahian music and dance styles, with complex roots that developed later in the early 20th century favelas of Rio. Lest we be deceived, samba is not the only game in town. Other distinctive forms of traditional Carnival music are frevo, caboclinhos and maracatu, which incorporate varied elements from rural percussion and capoeira, to gymnastics and props like feathered headdresses and umbrellas. Each style has it’s own unique birth tale: freyo evolved out of 19th century military marching bands, caboclinhos from indigenous traditions, and maracatu from the sugarcane plantations and Candomblé.
In many of its celebrations, Carnival marries the sacred with profane. You can’t have one without the other, and what a boring life that would be! As Carnival leads up to Lent, when Christians typically go on a diet, LEBON reminds you that in tropical heat, it is okay to twist our cap and twerk your a....