Carnaval (or Carnival)
week is over in Brazil, and the judges have decided: the winning samba schools of the two main parades in the country, Rio and São Paulo, were Beija-Flor and Vai-Vai. And both chose musicians as their themes. Beija-Flor
honored Roberto Carlos, known as the king of Brazilian music. From his origins in Jovem Guarda (an early form of Brazilian pop and rock'n'roll
) to the adoption of romantic melodies, he is considered a living Elvis Presley. Vai-Vai
, on the other hand, chose as a subject João Carlos Martins
- whose life could be a MeFi post in itself.
At age 20, the concert pianist Martins
was already known globally one of the top experts in Bach
(warning, broken English) and played in Carnegie Hall, sponsored by Eleanor Roosevelt. After years of glory, he injured his hand during a soccer match. With a damaged nerve, he lost the movement in his right hand.
After extensive treatments, he gained the ability to play again, but in the 1990s while he was on tour in Bulgaria, robbers hit him on the head with an iron bar, and the brain damage destroyed Martins' motor skills. When he could play, he used only his left hand and the knuckles of his right
And today, his crooked hands are used to conduct an orchestra
with young poor Brazilians.