The traditional and innovative Portela

Portela is Rio’s oldest samba group and a premier school with an absolute record of 21 titles including 7 consecutive championships. After going through a rough period in the 1980s, it managed to retain itself in the Special Group mainly because of its glorious past and popularity only to reclaim its original grandeur later on. Portela’s foundation, their innovative spirit and brilliant performances have helped them in winning many Rio Carnival contests. Its Carnival parades are graced by many international celebrities including singer Ricky Martin and super model Nomi Campbell.

Portela Samba School during Rio carnival parade


Portela took its first step in 1920s when samba schools as they are known today did not exist. Paulo Benjamin de Oliveira proposed the formation of a novel and distinct samba band that was to really symbolize the entire neighborhood of Osvaldo. With support from friends, in the year 1923 on April 11th, Portela samba school was born. The school changed many names as its identity evolved in the coming years and in 1935 they finally adopted the name of Portela.


The colors of Portela samba school are blue and white with a symbol that has remained unchanged since the start of the school – a giant eagle. This eagle shines high in a symbol of honor and pride for those great performers that have lead Portela to victory.


Legendary Portela Samba School has led the way in many aspects of the carnival. It was the first group that used decorations, introduced the opening wing and was the first to use ropes. Portela is known for choosing beautiful and charismatic Queens and having the strongest Drum sections. These innovations along with a fabulous team of composers helped this samba school win an unbelievable 11 titles, of which 7 were in a row between 1939 and 1953 creating history in the samba musical genre in Brazil.