July 4th Countdown: Our Enredo, Revealed!

Now just one week to go until our 4th of July SpectacularSounds like just enough time to learn all you can about our 2012 samba-enredo so you can sing along with us at the parade! Stay tuned in the coming days, because we might just have a free MP3 of our recording of our samba-enredo for download! (Check that, we will.)

This year we are honoring O Amanhã (“Tomorrow”), originally composed and arranged by João Sérgio in 1978 as the samba-enredo of GRES União da Ilha do Governador, a community samba school in Rio de Janeiro. Founded in 1953, União da Ilha is headquartered in the Cacuia neighborhood the Ilha do Governador, in the north zone of Rio de Janeiro. União da Ilha is historically known for innovative, creative, and exuberant costuming and musicianship performed with little money in comparison to some of Rio’s wealthier schools. They ascended to the classification of Group 1 only fourteen years after their first performance in 1960, and today – after winning the Access Group in 2009 – compete in the Special Group, along with the most prestigious samba schools in Rio de Janeiro.

O Amanhã was performed in the midst of one of União da Ilha’s most successful runs: a string of hit sambas-enredo through the late 1970s and early 1980s. These include Domingo (“Sunday”) in 1977; Bom Bonito e Barato (“Good, Pretty, and Cheap”), which propelled them to a 2nd place finish in Group 1A in 1980 – still the best showing in the group’s history – and É hoje O Dia (“Today is the Day”) in 1982, one of the best-known and most recorded sambas-enredo in history. But today, O Amanhã arguably remains União da Ilha’s most famous samba-enredo, though the school only finished 4th place finish in Group 1 that year. O Amanhã actually owes most of its popularity not to União da Ilha but to Brazilian singing diva Simone, who recorded her own slower-paced, smooth version in 1983. Her rendition rocketed the song’s popularity, and as a result it has since been part of the standard repertoire of sambistas.

O Amanhã tells the story of one persons’s constant worry over his future, and his persistent quest for an answer to the question “What will tomorrow be?” The narrator consults a virtual laundry list of Brazilian fortune-tellers: a tarot card-reading gypsy; crystal balls; a jogo de búzios, cowrie shells used to consult African spirits called orixás; the petals on a daisy flower plucked in the “s/he loves me not” game; zodiac signs; and finally a realejo, a Brazilian organ grinder tradition where (for a small fee) a green parrot held in a wooden yellow cage chooses a fortune reading from a small box. We only learn the answer provided by the realejo: “I will be happy”.


A cigana leu o meu destino
Eu sonhei
Bola de cristal, Jogo de búzios,Cartomante
Eu sempre perguntei

O que será o amanhã
Como vai ser o meu destino
Já desfolhei o mal-me-quer
Primeiro amor de um menino

E vai chegando o amanhecer
Leio a mensagem zodiacal
E o realejo diz
Que eu serei feliz

Como será o amanhã
Responda quem puder
O que irá me acontecer
O meu destino será como Deus quiser

The gypsy read my fate
I dreamed
Crystal ball, Shell-reading, Fortune-teller
I always asked

What will tomorrow be?
What is going to be my fate?
I already picked the love-me-not
First love of a child

And the dawn is coming
I read the zodiac sign
And the realejo says
That I will be happy

How will tomorrow be?
Who can answer?
What will happen to me?
My fate will be as God likes.