“Quilombo was born out of the necessity of preserving all Afro influence in Brazilian culture. We want to draw the Brazilian people’s attention to the roots of Black Brazilian art.” Composer and samba singer Antônio Candeia Filho defined the samba school he had just founded on December 8, 1975 with these words in a manifesto. Many others before him had already spoken out against the mischaracterization of samba culture. Candeia did not waste time complaining; he took action. And he did not limit his action to music. Quilombo’s name not only includes the traditional “Grêmio Recreativo Escola de Samba – GRES” [which roughly translates as “Samba School Recreational Guild”], but also a significant addition; it is Grêmio Recreativo Arte Negra e Escola de Samba – GRANES, incorporating “Arte Negra” [Black Art] as an object of interest, study and practice.
GRANES did not last long. With Candeia’s death in November 1978, it was inevitable that the promising initiative would gradually fade away. The dream, however, did not die. To this day, Quilombo lives on as an ideal of coexistence and preservation of Afro-descendant culture’s fundamental values. In 2013, it was transformed into an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Rio de Janeiro.