The big parades of the major samba shools of Rio de Janeiro are all viewable on youtube. These days youtube is also showing the more precarious parades of the lower groups in years gone by, and some of these are amazing, for all the wrong reasons. There have been schools that have had to parade without any drummers. Here's Unidos de Campinho, parading in the sambodromo in 1992.
In fact, the drummers were there, but the lorry carrying the instruments hadn't arrived. The bateria (drummers AND drums) is such an important part of the parade that it has its own separate judges. No drums, no marks. The commentary tells us that the instruments turned up eventually, but right till the end of this clip there are no drums to power the dancers, just a cavaquinho and a singer. A particular shame as the song itself was lovely that year. You can see all of the dancers doing their best to participate with energy, but it must have been hard.
This sort of thing tends to happen to samba schools in severe financial and organisational trouble. The following year Unidos do Campinho failed to parade at all due to financial problems, and soon the samba school was completely disbanded.
The video commentator tells us that it happened once to Mocidade Independente do Padre Miguel, when the bateria was being led by the great Mestre Andre. The truck carrying the drums suffered an accident on the way to the parade ground in the Rio Branco. Alternative transport couldn't be organised in time. But Mocidade Independente have continued on to be one of the great samba schools of the special group in today's Rio carnival.
Yes, the Rio carnival samba school Mocidade will be laundering money this year. But not in the way you think.
The carnavaleso of Mocidade, Cid Carvalho, has designed a float on which there will be washing machines, laundering paper money mixed up with normal laundry. It´s a visual joke, referring to the recent scandal in Brazilia where senior state government officials were caught in a government sting.
The float itself represents an economic paradise.