Working Lives: Rio de Janeiro

WATCH: Samba player Junior de Oliveira comes from a musical family

Many people know samba only from Rio's famous Carnival, but the rhythm is part of the city's cultural scene all year round - and a way to make a living for Junior de Oliveira.

The 34-year-old percussionist plays samba with two different groups and gives music lessons. He was only five years old when he first started beating on pans, saucers and tambourines. Talent for samba runs in his family.

Mr de Oliveira is the grandson of Silas de Oliveira, who composed Aquarela Brasileira in 1964 - a samba song that became a hymn about Brazil's different regions and beauties.

"It's a big responsibility", he says. "What I try to do is to play my drums well and to give continuity to the story of my grandfather and samba."

Junior lives with his mother in Vila da Penha, a working class neighbourhood in the north zone of Rio. He earns about $7,550 (£4,600) a year from his music.

His main work is with Samba do Trabalhador, a "roda de samba" held every Monday. In these traditional samba gatherings, new and old songs are played around a table.

"Samba has boomed here again and there are lots of shows now. I work a lot. The money isn't great but it's enough every month to live on," he says.

"My ambition is to continue to play with humility and simplicity, to respect everyone and wait for good things to happen."

Features & Analysis

  • Man holding lipWitch hunt

    The country where a blasphemy charge is a death sentence

  • Espresso cupNews quiz

    Which city serves the strongest cup of coffee?

  • Irvine WelshDeaf ears

    Five famous Scots who can't vote in the Scottish referendum

  • Electric chairReturn of 'the chair'

    Five people talk about their roles in Tennessee's execution debate

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Canada.Hidden rail trip

    Canada's tiny, two-car shuttle is a train lover's dream with scenic views


  • A cargo shipThe Travel Show Watch

    It is not cheap or glamorous - so why are people choosing to travel by cargo ship?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.