Rio’s is the nation’s premier Carnival parade, and the contestants compete for cash prizes, status and fandom.
Vieira’s job contains serving to to choose his samba faculty’s theme for the yr, its materials for costumes and who will characteristic on the highest of majestic floats. In the end he decides how his faculty spends about 10 million Brazilian reals (virtually $2 million).
Vieira’s status as an artist — and his fame as a celebration animal — has stretched effectively past Rio, attaining the type of movie star a movie director would possibly achieve. He was just lately interviewed on Roda Viva, a public TV conventional program that usually listens to essentially the most revered Brazilians.
He’s a fixture not solely in Carnival’s formal parade competitions, however of the casual block events all through the town right now of yr.
“I can’t simply work, I must really feel Carnival on the road to be comfortable,” Vieira advised The Related Press in an interview. “Much more so after a pandemic that made us endure a lot, made us keep residence in 2021.”
Vieira’s job title is carnavalesco.
He did it for Mangueira, the most well-liked samba faculty in Brazil, the place he received the parade titles in 2016 and 2019. Later, he lifted two trophies within the second division, which makes him one of the crucial profitable in recent times.
This yr he’s carnavalesco for Imperatriz Leopoldinense — named after a former Empress of Brazil — which just lately was relegated to second division and the place he hopes to earn the college’s first trophy since 2001.
Vieira says he doesn’t intention merely to shock or thrill an viewers, however moderately to ship considerate statements.
“I’m not a carnavalesco of surprises. I’m not a person of spectacles,” Vieira mentioned within the interview whereas he concurrently labored on his group’s radio gear that they may use to speak throughout their parade.
His faculty’s parade this yr targeted on the lifetime of Twenties and 30s bandit Virgulino Ferreira da Silva, higher identified by Brazilians as Lampião. Vieira says he picks his themes with one motto in thoughts: “It’s the historical past that official historical past doesn’t inform.”
Lampião, for instance, was not portrayed by the samba faculty solely as a vicious prison but additionally as a courageous man who earned the respect of many fellow Brazilians.
Forward of this yr’s parade, Vieira walked via the performers fixing costumes and adjusting particulars with a smile on his face. He made positive all members have been doing their half to sing this yr’s theme music — a element that may make a distinction with the judges who sit within the viewers in Rio’s Sambadrome.
A key selection for Imperatriz Leopoldinense this yr was who to nominate as queen of the drum part — a task that the college historically has given to celebrities and vogue fashions. Final yr it was pop singer Iza.
This time Vieira helped give the nod to a 21-year-old communications scholar and dancer named Maria Mariá who’s from certainly one of Rio’s low-income favela neighborhoods. She was topped throughout an emotional ceremony final December on the samba faculty’s headquarters with a headpiece designed by Vieira.
“Leandro is a giant inspiration to us all. He reveals us we may be one of the best in any subject we like,” Mariá mentioned Tuesday whereas dressed as a satan who teases the character of Lampião.
Vieira takes his function within the Carnival parade trade significantly, however says that collaborating within the vacation’s road events is simply as necessary for him. Earlier within the week he joined the Prata Preta road social gathering sporting the costume of Brazilian singer Gal Costa, who died final yr.
“The soul of the social gathering is on the road,” he mentioned.