Saturday, March 12, 2016

Forming partnerships

I enjoy meeting new people and helping to create new opportunities for people here in Rocinha. Working in tourism, the idea is to bring the world to the favela to see and take part in activities. Its a cultural exchange that benefits both resident and visitor. Making interesting visits to Rocinha is my objective.

I remember about 5 months ago we had visitors ask about samba music and drumming. This gave me an idea to find groups in Rocinha that work with Percussion or Drumming. I found a group at the top of Rua 1 called Pragradar.

Pragradar is run by Carlos Augusto Santos who lives at the top of Rua 1. This history of Pragradar goes back to about 1990 when the group was formed as an offshoot from favela's Academicos da Rocinha Samba School. They were originally called "Sangue Jovem" or Young Blood as they were the youth coming up through the ranks.

They currently have about 200 youth (between 8-17 years old)  who have their own "bloco" that parades through the sambadrome during carnival. The kids group consists of both boys and girls.

Approximately 1000 members of Pragradar parade. There is aso an adult group that has their "bloco" in Rocinha.

One of the street parades in Rocinha. A mix of residents and the Pragradar group.

I met Carlos a few years ago but recently started seeing him often and asked about drumming classes for our visitors. So we worked out an agreement that we can offer this opportunity. It benefits our visitors as they get a taste of authentic samba culture and the Pragradar group benefits as the money they earn can go to their support their groups.

Recently there has been much interest. On February 14th we received Fanshawe University of London Ontario who brought 7 students to visit Rocinha. Adriana MacDonald has brought groups here before. The last time, we had the group playing a game of football against the locals. This time I thought the drumming class would be something new.

On March 8th a group called "See You In Brazil" contacted us for an experience. So again we wanted to give an interesting introduction to Favela life. The students from South Carolina performed well. Luiz Alegre Silva organizes tours all over Brazil and we are thankful that he brought his group to experience Rocinha and Pragradar.

We hope that others will come to Rocinha and experience the many activities we offer. For more information, please contact us at or visit
our website and see what activities may interest your at