x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Brazilian parade sets hearts racing on Corniche

A cornucopia on the capital's Corniche: dancers, singers, screaming schoolchildren, a giant falcon and a live grand prix broadcast.

The Brazilian Parade at the F1 FanZone on the Abu Dhabi Corniche featured more than 90 dancers, performers and musicians.
The Brazilian Parade at the F1 FanZone on the Abu Dhabi Corniche featured more than 90 dancers, performers and musicians.

ABU DHABI // The sound of car engines, not samba music, is what one usually hears on a Friday evening along the Abu Dhabi Corniche.

But for an hour yesterday, thousands of residents of the capital were treated to a Brazilian parade in honour of the grand prix racing season.

More than 90 performers, dancers and musicians, as well as 300 children from schools across the capital, put on the one-hour show that rocked the F1 FanZone by the water. The parade was part of Yasalam, a series of free community events on the Corniche leading up to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on November 14.

The Abu Dhabi parade also celebrates the Brazilian Grand Prix, which will be contested tomorrow.

"The goal this year was to be bigger and better than last year, and I think we succeeded," said Krissy Jones, project director with Sian Events, which put the parade together.

Ms Jones and her colleagues had worked for a month on the project. "It was about bright colours, samba and Brazil, but it did have a UAE feel to it too," she said.

A UAE drum band and the giant figure of a falcon reminded spectators they were in Abu Dhabi, not Sao Paulo.

Yesterday on the Corniche, motor sport fans could watch the Brazilian race's practice rounds live on large-screen TVs. Today, the race's qualifying rounds will be shown. Tomorrow, fans can watch the race live starting at 8pm.

As the parade ended, the Colombian singer Fatiniza took the stage. The Dubai-based performer entertained the crowd with a mixture of original songs she had written and covers of other artists, including one number in which she referred to her world-famous colleague and compatriot, Shakira.

Also among the performers yesterday were 35 children from Al Muna Primary School. Aged eight to 11, they were still excited 30 minutes after the end of their show, screaming, blowing whistles and waving the bright pompoms they had been given.

"All the children are pretty excited," observed Dominique Crawley, one of several teachers from the school.

Viewers were happy too.

"It was better than last year," said Caty Baringo, 34, who was at the Corniche with her husband, Jaime, and their two children. "There was a lot of colour. It was fun."

Aslam Manikam, 40, said events such as this one gave Abu Dhabi a cosmopolitan feel.

"It if very good to see such things happen to Abu Dhabi," said Mr Manikan, a hospitality industry employee who moved to Abu Dhabi recently from India.

"I loved it," he said. "And all the kids did too."