Tia
Tia Neuma's - Samba first lady photo
What is your full name?
My name is Neuma with u, Gonçalves da Silva.

How did you come to live here, since you are from Minas?
Nooooo! I am not from Minas. I was born in
Madureira and supposed to be Portelense, or
Imperiana. I am Mangueira because my father was
already Mangueirense. I was born on May 8, 1922.
My father was Mangueira's first President.

What was his name?
Saturnino Gonçalves. So I got to be Samba's First
Lady, here in Mangueira.

Are you Samba's First Lady until today?
Until today!

What Mangueira means to you?
Mangueira is my life. Mangueira is everything. It is
everything that is good. Think about everything
good about your life that is what Mangueira
represents to me.

Samba, what the Samba means to you?
Samba is also my passion. The Samba transmits
to me the bigger happiness, the tastes of life. When
the Samba is good, the music is delicious, I love the
melodies, I feel tranquil, I feel happy for being
Brazilian. Yet when it is those raps that . . . then I do not feel good, then I feel sad.


Tia Neuma - Samba's first lady In your opinion, who were Mangueira greatest composers?
From Mangueira? In Mangueira we had plenty.
Carlos Cachaça, Cartola, Geraldo Pereira . . .
Padeirinho, was one of the best, Zé com Fome . .
They were so many that I did not have time to
choose the greatest.

What about the Mangueira Composers from today?
From today? I cannot even say. A flop, but I loved
this year's Samba Enrêdo. Very good. Yet now a
day, the Samba has to be fabricated, it does not
come from deep inside.

Why do you think this is happening?
Because it changed. It is life, the novelty of the
time, everything is new. So we have to look
ahead, I cannot go back If I could . . . It would be
like heaven!

Still, does not have anybody here
following the steps of Cartola, Carlos
Cachaça, Padeirinho?

No . . . none. The samba now is like I told you,
they fabricate it. They give you a synapse and one
has to compose a Samba. They only write Sambas
Enredo, and forget to write a Samba de terreiro,
those "middle of the year Sambas", a Samba
Cançao, these are the ones I like it most. They do
not.

Still, why is this happening? In America
for example, music evolves without
losing its roots.

Still, here we lost. We lost a lot. We had
wonderful Sambas. I remember many beautiful
Sambas. We use to learn them without
microphones, and no speakers, it was only
Cartola's guitar and a banjo, and a diapason,
for not loosing the pitch. I found that
wonderful.


Do you have Samba in your feet Mrs. Neuma?
Not anymore, but I had. I had. I Sambed a lot. I Sambed . . .

Do you participate of the parade since the first one?
Since the first. I paraded before Mangueira was founded. It was a bloco, and I paraded in Mestre Candinho's bloco, dressed as a sunflower. We were representing the Spring. And I was a flower . . .

You are still a flower.
I think Samba is marvelous. The Samba never makes one sad. Never make us sick with that disease called nostalgia, because to me, this is a disease. "He" never brings us sorrow, or hurt us in anyway . . . When we are feeling "that" passion, we suffer a lot, and then come tranquility, happiness, that smile in our lips, everybody gets "infected," is not that true? When I was young, I loved to listen to Silvio Caldas, Francisco Alves, I sat listening. Today, one turns the radio on to listen to some music and hear four letter words, those raps that are selling a lot, we have to listen to that things. I admired Carlos Drummond de Andrade, I love to read what he wrote, I admired Tom Jobim, you know, because his songs touched deep one's heart, what they did, playing around, for us it was happiness, you know, it was like love for us.

What is the Samba's future?
Look, I think she is walking vagariously toward victory. Music will win, with faith in God we will win. They will start to listen to your records, and to the others around which are.

Mangueira, will it win this year Mrs. Neuma?
I wish . . . I would love if it win. Yet one never knows what will happen during the parade, is not that true? Nevertheless, we are preparing ourselves to win this Carnival.


Tia Neuma - Samba's first lady

As Samba's, and the greatest Samba School in the world's first lady, what message would you like to send to the Samba enthusiasts that are
out there all over the world?

Look, what I would like to say, to me is very pleasant, but maybe it is not pleasant at all to the ones who will listen.
Do not follow Bispo Macêdo. Follow a Guilherme Vergueiro and others, who are defending Brazilian Popular Music. Don't follow these people who are trying to destroy what is ours, what is inside our hearts, what brings us peace, happiness and strength.

Still, people overseas do not not know "what" is Bispo Macedo,
but they know what Samba is.

That is the way it should stay. The samba . . . Samba is important. The samba is in our blood. Who has Saint Brothers is one thing, another thing is who has Samba Brothers, and we are sambistas with a message. Our blood is red, like . . . they say it is the war color, but to me, I think it is the peace color. We are friends and brothers. Let us be sambistas, everybody, because Samba, is the people's happiness.

Thank you very much, Mrs. Neuma.
You got it!


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Photos by
Lita Cerqueira
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