Rio Celebrates the Beatles

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Upwards of 50,000 revelers in Rio attended the "Sargento Pimenta" ---or Sgt. Pepper in Portuguese, the language of Brazil-- street party during Carnival.  The Beatles-themed celebration is one of more than 400 raucous street parties that spring up throughout Rio de Janeiro during Carnival season.
The party was the idea of Dr. Gustavo Gitelman, who gathered a large group of fans last year. The group gives the Beatles repertoire a Brazilian tweak, adapting "All My Loving" to the peppy beat of a traditional Carnival "marchinha," or march, and infusing "Hard Day's Night" with a Rio funk sound. "I Want to Hold Your Hand" morphs into a samba. Even "Hey Jude" is spiked with an infectious upbeat energy.

All the songs are sung in English, much to the delight of English-speaking visitors, many of whom can fully participate in the bloco experience for the first time.

The group's debut last year was so successful that the crowd was packed so tight it became something of a health hazard. It moved to a more spacious location this year.

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