GRES Unidos da Tijuca 2010 – Tijuca Unidos Samba-School

2012 GRES Unidos da Tijuca Samba-School


On this section of our website we will talk about a very special samba-school in Rio, Unidos da Tijuca, the winner of the 2010 Rio de Janeiro Carnival. The blue & gold” samba-school, is the third oldest in Brazil and has recently evolved tremendously in terms of structure and professionalism, achieving two 2nd places in the last years.  The school innovated and became famous world-wide for being the first to present performers in choreography mounted in floats, establishing what is now called as “human sculptures” on the carnival parade.  The samba-school has one of the best and strongest “Baterias” / Drum Section in Rio, called Pura Cadencia.  

Below, a video of the passistas section at their Quadra in Rio:

Please check more than 30 Videos Carnival Rio Brazil in our Video section clicking on the link.

These developments have led Unidos da Tijuca to join the elite club of samba-schools in Rio, which include Mangueira, Beija-Flor, Portela, and Mocidade.  Honoring its multi-cultural background with Portuguese, Brazilian, and indigenous influences, the samba-school from the traditional Tijuca neighborhood in Rio has also been known for its famous models and celebrities such as Adriane Galisteu, Fabia Borges, and Ana Paula Evangelista.  Today, Unidos da Tijuca´s Samba-rehearsal is also one of the most concurred in town.  Let´s take a look on how all Tijuca became a full powered samba-school in Brazil. 

Below, a fantastic shot from Luciola Varela from FOTO BR team, of a "human sculpture float", invented by Tijuca´s Carnival Producers.

unidos da tijuca human sculptures float

 Photo Credit: FoTO BR TEAM

Origins & History

Since the twentieth century, the hilly chain from Tijuca started to inhabited by slaves, descendants and freed slaves that left the bankrupt coffee zone of Vale do Paraíba behind. The wealthiest class that inhabited Usina and Tijuca was fully decadent. It was during this time that our founder’s families – the Moraes, the Chagas, the Santos and the Vasconcelos – got installed at the slum complex of Borel.

 Below, a nice shot from Marcelo O´Reilly from Academia do Samba, during the 2012 Samba Rehearsals!

Unidos da Tijuca 2012

The Guild was created from the merger of four street carnival bands that existed at the Casa Branca slum, Formiga slum and at Velhacos Island. In 1931, on December 31st, at the beginning of São Miguel Street’s ascent, on number 130 house number 20, from Vasconcelos family, man and woman gathered to found Unidos da Tijuca samba school.

The records show the school’s founders to be: Bento Vasconcelos (the leader), Leandro Chagas (organizer and disciplinarian), Alcides de Moraes (harmony director) and his brothers and cousins with their families, that composed school’s basis: Jorge Vasconcelos, Pacífico Vasconcelos, João de Almeida, Ismael de Moraes, Alfredo Gomes, Tertuliano Chagas, Armando dos Santos, Turíbio dos Santos, Jacinto Ribeiro, Tarquínio Ramos, Orlando Godinho, Waldemar Gargalhada, João Cascorão, José Mamede D’Ávila, Álvaro and Dédé; Regina Vasconcelos, Marina Silva, Zeneide Oliveira, Margarida Santos, Hilda Chagas, Ely Chagas, Elza Gomes, Doralice Caldeira, Hermínia Vasconcelos, Dora de Almeida and Helena de Souza.

Below, Carla Horta, one of the of Unidos da Tijuca´s High-lights.

Unidos da Tijuca Carla Horta

 Photo Credit: FoTO BR TEAM

The G.R.E.S Unidos da Tijuca is the third oldest samba school in Rio de Janeiro.  The founders aimed to defend the roots of traditional Brazilian folklore as well as to fight for popular causes.  Fights that were always present on their ancestors’ blood and soul, suffered and purged from the cultural expression that the loved and grew: the samba.

At first, the samba schools paraded surrounded by a rope, with lamp carriers that lightened the Carnaval procession. The resources for the parade were collected by neighborhood families, that contributed financially signing the old “golden book”.   At the time, Unidos da Tijuca paraded with a six to eight sticks arbor, decorated with flowers, garlands and crepom paper ornaments. In the front, components paraded dressed as animals: frogs, donkey and in 1936, year that they achieved the first place, a dragon.   The components made a reverence, opening passage through the people.

The legendary Baianas, dressed in cetin and cotton, paraded along the side of the guild in a wing with a cortege format, filling the spaces. Following that, came after the mestre-sala and the porta-bandeira, people forming the school’s quire that supported the chant, all the board of directors and school drum  percussionists with tambourines, cuícas, a surdo, a tarol, a viola and a cavaquinho.

During the 40’s and 50’s occurred dissents and other guilds were founded, such as the extinct "Estrela da Tijucas" and Recreio da Mocidade, and the still existing "Império da Tijuca Samba-School", all composed by old members of Unidos da Tijuca. The school went through a couple of internal crises and many difficulties and, in 1959, was demoted to the Second Group, suffering a great emptying.

Below, an exquisite carnival photo of Carlos Magno of a creative wing in 2005 carnival parade.

Unidos da tijuca Photo Parade Carnival

Photo Credit: FoTO BR TEAM

School’s restructuring

On the 70’s, the leaders began to turn this situation around searching for new people to regain school’s prestige. With the advisement of the old members and the communication with the community, the guild improved significantly their results on the contests. During this period, other artists contributed to the rise of the school. Amongst them, Laíla (from Beija-Flor), joined Unidos da Tijuca.  Paulo César Cardoso presented one of the most modern and nationalist themes and Renato Lage Carnival Producer created fantastic scenery, combining the traditional to the modern, being responsible for the rise of the school to the First Group in 1980, after remaining for 22 bitter years on the Access Group.

Below, Fabia Borges previous Carnival Queen in 2005 and 2006.  Simply amazing!

Fabia Borges  carnival Queen

Photo Credit: Levy Ribeiro - Agencia FOTO BR

However, during this decade, Unidos da Tijuca went through another difficult period and attended alternately the Access Group for another 2 years, in 85 and 87. The last time they were demoted was in 1998, when the presented a theme that made a tribute to the voyager Vasco da Gama.   From 2004 onwards, with the hiring of carnaval producer Paulo Barros, Unidos da Tijuca surprises and conquered the public and the press, guarantying its place amongst the first few placements, presenting every year magnificent and admirable carnavals.   The rescue of the self esteem of tijucanos occurred; they started to believe more in their school, at the same time as their guild got new fans, beginning to be seen by all with the respect and recognition they deserved.

Boldness and innovation

Unidos da Tijuca was always a school that was guided by boldness and innovation.   Some researches register that it was the first school to present floats and wings in full carnival costumes at the parades as well as the first to record a samba theme in vinyl.

Since 2006 the guild began to take to the traditional technical rehearsal at the street, in front of the old shed, at Venezuela Avenue, in downtown, the three samba theme finalists, with the purpose to evaluate the result of each piece and the behavior of their components on the parade, this initiative contributed greatly with the outcome of the parades.

Below, the famous human sculptures from Tijuca.

Human Float Unidos da Tijuca Samba 

Photo Credit: FoTO BR TEAM

Tijuca Symbols and colors:

It’s not by chance that Unidos da Tijuca has the royal peacock as symbol and the blue and golden yellow as their colors. There are two stories that justify the adoption of this identification by the school.   It’s been told that, at the time it was founded, the school adopted at first as Tijuca symbol the shield represented by intertwined hands in union with coffee and tobacco branches, in referral to the neighborhood of old Tijuca, with its plantations.  The colors golden yellow and peacock blue were adopted from the Casa de Bragança, colors used on the imperial court and that represent the proof of good taste on their clothing.  Both symbol and colors, assigned as suggestions of Bento Vasconcelos, one of Unidos da Tijuca’s main founders.   

Another theory registers that, in 1931, on the bottom of the slum of Borel existed a big cigarette, tobacco and Borel Snuff and Co. factory.  The striking figure of the royal peacock, in blue and golden yellow, was stamped on the package of some of their products. On the 31st of December of that same year, near there, on the beginning of São Miguel Street, local and nearby residents founded the Gremio Recreativo Escola de Samba Unidos da Tijuca, adopting the peacock as symbol and the colors in reference to that company’s logo.

However to include the peacock as symbol of Tijuca on the opening wing float there’s another story told: in 1983, between the months of august and September, during the samba theme dispute for 1984’s carnaval, the school was preparing themselves to open the Special Group’s parade, launching this way the Sambadrome. The peacock was already school’s flashy symbol with the colors of the guild in t-shirts with that year’s theme advertised “Salamaleikum, a epopéia dos insubmissos males”.   It’s been told that the composer Carlinhos Melodia suggested to the president at the time Luis Carlos Cruz that a peacock should be placed on the opening wing because while the others schools had birds and other flashy animals, calling the public’s attention, the old school symbol (to intertwined hands surrounded by branches of coffee and tobacco, with the letters UT, abbreviation of Unidos da Tijuca) brought a meaning of suffering and resistance. From this point onwards, given the composer’s suggestion, Unidos da Tijuca substituted the previous symbol and in 1984, entered for the first time the avenue with a peacock as major symbol of Tijuca.  

Adriana Galisteu was the Queen of Drums for Tijuca for 4 years.  She was now replaced by Juliana Alves for the Queen of Drums ( Rainha de Bateria ) post.

Adriane Galisteu Tijuca Queen

 Photo Credit: FoTO BR TEAM

 Unidos da Tijuca won the Top Carnival Championship in 1936 and 2010, + 19 prizes called "Estandarte de Ouro", promoted by a national newspaper and specialized media.

2013 Technical Information:

Founded:                     December 31st from 1931 (77 years)
Colors:                        blue and gold-yellow
Symbol: Peacock
Neighborhood:              Santo Cristo
President:                    Fernando Horta
Honorable President:      Mr. Guilherme 
Carnaval Producer:        Paulo Barros
Official interpreter:        Bruno Ribas
Carnaval director:         Ricardo Fernandes
Harmony director:         Fernando Costa
Drum director:              Mestre Casagrande
Drum Queen:               Gracyanne Barbosa
Mestre-sala and porta-bandeira: Marquinhos and Giovanna
Opening wing choreographers: Rodrigo Negri and Priscilla Mota

Unidos da Tijuca 2013 Carnival Parade Theme:

"Desceu num raio, é trovoada. O deus Thor pede passagem para mostrar nessa viagem a Alemanha encantada"

Below, the 2013 Theme-Plot Logo

Tijuca 2013 Logo


Official Unidos da Tijuca Logo: 

Tijuca Peacock Logo



Unidos da Tijuca 2013 Lyrics: 


"Deus Thor me chamou, vou nessa viagem

Que felicidade, é festa, meu bem

Metade do meu coração é Tijuca

A outra metade Tijuca também


Um raio rasgando o céu

Cruzou o Borel é trovoada

Na velocidade da luz o filho de Odin

Anuncia a Alemanha encantada .


Na fantasia de um mundo imortal

Seres, magia do meu carnaval

Pela floresta surge um olhar

Mistérios que bailam no ar.


Tijuca querida razão da minha vida

Balança o povo, embala a emoção

E mexe com meu coração ..


Vai brilhar em cada cinema o anjo, sonhar

Em prosa e poema, se eternizar

Feito a sinfonia, legado alemão

Deixado à civilização


No mundo da imaginação era uma vez

O conto de fadas, no reino encantado

A infância mais feliz quem fez ?


Eu vi a criança em sua ilusão

Erguer um castelo, brinquedo na mão

A mente humana liberta

Desperta o grande inventor

Que move o tempo e faz

Da vida um motor a girar

Brasil e Alemanha unidos

Bandeiras, culturas, saber

Vai trovejar, um ano pra não esquecer


Deus Thor me chamou, vou nessa viagem

Que felicidade, é festa, meu bem

Metade do meu coração é Tijuca

A outra metade Tijuca também


Below, the Official Unidos da Tijuca Flag:

Unidos Da Tijuca Flag - Bandeira Samba school

Photo Credit> Luis Santana - Olhar Foliao

Bookmark and Share