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The History of Samba



Hilaria Batista de Almeida (Tia Ciata) was born in Salvador in 1854 and came to Rio de Janeiro in search of a better life. The home of Tia Ciata becomes the capital of small Africa in Rio de Janeiro.

In Brazil, call a person <zia› it’s a tender way to approach respectfully older women.

In the house of Aunt Ciata, where the sambista Bola played the samba party among the elderly, even the instrumental music appeared when professional musicians, many of the first generation of the sons of Bahia, frequented the house.

In the courtyard, there were always sambist musicians playing and some women dancing. The great figures of the musical world of Rio, Pixinguinha, Donga, João da Bahia, Heitor dos Prazeres, have made a musical contribution of the tradition of Bahia, which would later give a new way, carioca”, to make music and dance.

Later, Aunt Ciata had married João Baptista da Silva, who at the time was a successful black in life. From this marriage, 14 children were born. They lived in Praca Onze and every weekend in their home they organized dance parties, with high-quality music and a thousand delicacies, which dragged on for days. Aunt Ciata made sure that the food was always hot and tasty and the samba never stopped.

With good food and “rodas” of great music, Aunt Ciata’s house soon became a traditional meeting place. In one of those groups, Donga and Mauro de Almeida composed <the phone>, the first samba recorded in the history of Brazilian music.

Usually, the police were always on the hunt for these meetings, but Aunt Ciata was famous for her art as a healer and with her husband who was an investigator and the president’s driver, Wenceslau Bras, protected the musicians.

The president got sick because of a sore leg that the doctors could not cure and this investigator told the president: my wife Zia Ciata is a healer and can heal you.


Aunt Ciata replied, “Those in need of love and care must come here.” And Aunt Ciata tried to heal the wound of President Wenceleslau Bras.

Through a religious ritual, through the dance of the deities, she incorporated an Orisha who told the audience that for the treatment of such a wound she had to make an herbal paste that should have been put on for three days in a row.

The president healed and satisfied told Aunt Ciata that he could make any request. Aunt Ciata replied that she did not need anything, but that her husband did, asking the president for a job in the public service, “because my family is great,” he explained. He also got the chance to free the manifestations of Samba on the street, since those who played and danced were always maltreated by the police. From that moment the Carnival and Samba events began to have more space and freedom in Rio.

Aunt Ciata died in 1924, but today is a fundamental part of Samba’s memory.

Veja o Trailer oficial do filme “Tia Ciata”: