Carnival in Rio, Audio



Row after row of color, costumes, glitter galore—

Wave after wave of thundering feet and droning, deafening voices—

Billow on billow of prancing, advancing masses of dancers—

We’re dancing the samba, the samba, the samba in

Rio—Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

We shake our shoulders, bottoms, and bellies to the beat . . .

Of the bongos

the bongos

the bongos.


Hours and hours of dancing, singing, laughing, and fun—

Day after day of cheer in the fiery heat of roasting Rio—

Night after night of feverish lust and great, fantastic vices—

We know no worries whenever we dance in the streets of

Rio—Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

We twist and turn and stamp, and thus we succumb . . .

To the rhythm

the rhythm

the rhythm.


Beat after beat of raging blood and rising desire—

Song after song of attraction and lure of the sexes—

Dance after dance of reveling, heaving oceans of bodies—

We’re dancing the samba, the samba, the samba in

Rio—Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

We gasp and groan like all our ancestors did . . .

In the Congo

the Congo

the Congo.


Stream after stream of dark, irresistible rhythms—

Wave after wave of hot, tremendous, African forces—

Billow on billow of burning, baking, boiling catharsis—

We’re back in the Congo—the Congo—the Congo—and

Not in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

We join our fathers and mothers, and shake and mate to the beat . . .

Deep in the womb of

the rhythm

the rhythm

the rhythm.


© Freddy Niagara Fonseca, 1987


I wrote Three South American Dances. Carnival in Rio is the second one. I’ve recited it in public countless times, often with piano accompaniment. I’m looking forward to createing a performance version with bongos, brass and piano. The poem brings to live the many feverish activities taking place during the celebrated carnival season in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Here are two versions, the original in English and a translation into Portuguese by Raquel Valls.

Carnival in Rio, Audio

Fila tras fila, de cores, vestidos, brillantes em cuantidades—

Onda tras onda, pes trovejando no sapateado, e maceando aos gritos do canto—

Vibracao em vibracao de paradagem, avancado as massas de dancarinos—

Dancamos o samba, o samba, o samba no

Rio—Rio de Janeiro, Brazil!

Sacudimos os ombros, sacudimos a bunda, requebrando ao ritmo….

Dos bongos! Os bongos!—os bongos!

Horas e horas de canto e danca, canto e festejo—

Dia tras Dia de alegria no calor escaldante do Rio—

Noite tras noite de paixoes enloquecidas, e vicios fantasticos—

Nao sabemos de problema enquanto dancamos na rua do

Rio—Rio de Janeiro, Brazil!

Requebramos e giramos, sapateando—assim rendimos..

Ao ritmo!—O ritmo!—O ritmo!

Batida tras batida de sangre ferventes e desejos em crescimento

Cantos tras cantos de attracoes e seducao dos sexos—

Danca tras danca de curticao, embalando os mares de corpos—

Dancamos o samba, o samba, o samba no

Rio—Rio de Janeiro, Brazil!

Afolgamos como os gemidos dos nossos antepassados…

No Congo!—No Congo!—O Congo!

Corrego tras corrego de oscurros ritmos irresistiveis

Onda tras onda das tremendas forcas Africanas—

Vibracao tras vibracao do catharsis cozido—

Regressamos ao Congo!—O Congo!—O Congo!—E

Nao ao Rio de Janeiro, Brazil!

Juntamo-nos e recordamos os nosso pais, as nossas maes, 

Nos mexemos e nos unimos no ritmo…

Profundamente no ventre do Ritmo! O Ritmo!!—O Ritmo!!!

© 1987 Freddy Niagara Fonseca

translated into Portuguese by Raquel Valls, 200