Helsinki Samba Carnaval® ja Suomen sambakoulujen liitto ry. on saanut poikkeuksellisen suuren tunnustuksen – Rio Branco ritarikunnan jäsenyys! -> virallinen tiedote:
For immediate release
THE ORGANIZER OF HELSINKI SAMBA CARNAVAL®, ASSOCIATION OF SAMBA SCHOOLS IN FINLAND, RECEIVES INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION
The Association of Samba Schools in Finland (ASSF) has been awarded the esteemed Insignia of the Order of Rio Branco by the Federative Republic of Brazil.
This rare insignia was awarded to ASSF and Helsinki Samba Carnaval® (HSC) in recognition of their dedicated work in promoting Brazilian culture in Finland for the past three decades. ASSF has been organizing samba carnaval events in Finland since 1991.
The Insignia of the Order of Rio Branco is an official accolade from the government of Brazil, recognizing the 30 years of work ASSF has done for the Brazilian carnaval culture in Finland.
Other recipients of the Order of Rio Branco are the Brazilian soccer star Pele and Princess Madeleine of Sweden, among others. The only other Finnish recipients of this accolade are Aalto University (in 2018) and Helsinki University (in 2019).
The accolade was awarded on December 26th, 2021, but due to the pandemic gathering restrictions the official handing over ceremony was organized on March 1st, 2022 at the Brazilian Embassy in Helsinki, Finland.
“It is my sincere wish that this recognition encourages all Finnish samba schools, event organizers, dancers, musicians and volunteers to continue inspiring people with the liveliness and joyfulness of the Brazilian carnaval”, said the Ambassador of Brazil to Finland Joâo Luiz Pereira Pinto in his ceremonial speech.
The President of The Association of Samba Schools in Finland, Kirsi Lindroos rejoiced that ”This is a significant accolade honoring our work of over thirty years in Finland for promoting samba culture and samba carnaval in particular.”
Sari Malkova, the Director of the Helsinki Samba Carnaval® agreed that “HSC considers being awarded the Order of Rio Branco a significant honor, as well as a tribute for all our sambistas for their long term hard work for the carnaval.”
Harri Engstrand, the ASSF Liaison for International Affairs, agreed. “Our annual event has been well known for a long time both in Brazil and all over Europe, and not just amongst us sambistas. Getting such a coveted recognition from the birthplace of samba is a strong indication that we have succeeded with the essence of samba, the dance and the music. Our sambistas all over Finland are to be thanked for their contribution.”
More information and interview requests:
President of ASSF, 1st Honorary President
Director of Carnaval, Helsinki Samba Carnaval
International Liaison, 2nd Honorary President
The cultural collaboration between ASSF, the Brazilian Embassy in Finland and the Brazilian sambistas has continued for more than 30 years. Information exchange, workshops, teacher visits and other forms of collaborations have always been quite active, but have significantly evolved recently, despite the pandemic. The high level of skills, the eagerness for improvement and further learning that exists amongst the sambistas in Finland has been for long known at the embassy, and prompted the Ambassador Joâo Luiz Pereira Pinto to recommend this accolade to ASSF in 2020. The nomination required significant background research and production of supporting documentation.
The Association of Samba Schools in Finland expresses its gratitude to the Embassy of Brazil and to the Brazilian Cultural Centre in Finland (CCBF) for their active roles in supporting the Helsinki Samba Carnaval® event. The collaboration has manifested itself for example in following ways:
- In 2021, Ms. Claudia Baena Soares, the Ambassador’s spouse, was the patron of the traditional Lavagem -ceremony, which opens the HSC event
- Representatives of ASSF take part in the Brazilian Independence Day Celebrations annually
- CCBF often participates in the HCS parade with their student group
- ASSF organized a charitable collection in order to support the junior flag bearers of the samba school Mangueira of Rio de Janeiro
- During Covid-19 pandemic, ASSF organized online samba and Afro-Brazilian dance courses with Brazilian teachers (Pablo Guerreiro, Rio de Janeiro)
Without a doubt, Helsinki Samba Carnaval® is one of the oldest, most significant and most authentic events promoting Brazilian samba culture in the Nordic countries and in Europe. Annually about tens of thousands spectators gather at the senate Square and along the parade route to enjoy the carnaval parades put together by the various samba schools.
After two years of virtual carnaval, the intent in 2022 is to have a live event in the core of Helsinki once again. Officially the 30th anniversary carnaval would have taken place in 2020, but the Covid-19 pandemic canceled the live event for two years in a row. Helsinki Samba Carnaval® event, just like the Rio de Janeiro Carnaval, is a competition between the samba schools, and the Finnish sambistas have been patiently waiting for their opportunity to participate in the parade competition.
The members of ASSF are all Finnish samba schools. Currently there are seven samba schools in Finland, in seven different cities. Oldest samba schools in Finland were founded in the 1980’s, and the youngest during this millennium. The samba schools vary in sizes, from about 30 to 200 members. In total there are about 800 sambistas of all ages – from kids to seniors – in Finland. Sambista is a generic term for both dancers and ritmistas (the musicians playing the drum section, bateria).
The term “samba school” was used to describe various samba groups already in the 1970’s, however those groups would not qualify as proper samba schools today. Just as in Rio de Janeiro, samba schools today are very well organized and offer both dance and drumming lessons.
Many Finnish individual sambistas have been interested in and actively advocating Brazilian samba culture on their own for several years prior to founding any of our samba schools. Several samba enthusiasts eventually got together in the late 1980’s and founded samba schools in their respective cities. In 1989 ASSF was born, as the sambistas realized that it is possible to get more out of samba if the schools join their resources.
ASSF is grateful to all the Finnish samba pioneers of the 1970’s, for bringing samba to Finland and helping to spread the joy of samba they had contracted from their travels to Brazil. Many Finnish sambistas have since participated in the Rio de Janeiro Carnaval and received inspiration, new skills and motivation for their samba. Connections and information exchange between Finnish and Brazilian sambistas have significantly benefited also from the opportunities provided by the online possibilities available today.