- AfroLatino Travel Team
We Can't Get Enough of Samba Queen Ketula Mello
Multi-crowned Queen of the drums of Porto da Pedra, AfroBrazilian Ketula Mello is the dancer in this viral video making its rounds this week. Continuing her father, José Luiz Mello's legacy Ketula has danced in carnivals since the age of three. From 2001 to 2004 she shone in front of Tigre de São Gonçalo. In 2016, after a 12-year hiatus from the samba band, Ketula Mello re-emerged in front of the Ritmo Feroz drum set at the Porto da Pedra samba school in Rio, taking her crown, once again, as carnival queen.
Ketula began to parade in the Porto da Pedra in 1998, at 14 years old. At 16, she became the school's drum queen. In 2003, she was the first Muse of the "Caldeirão do Huck. " Mello left the carnivals to go to university and nurture her career. The self-identified negra, is a personal trainer, Zumba and gymnastics teacher and posts her classes and workouts periodically on her instagram. Ketula honors her father through her dancing, “m y father...José Luiz Mello, of Cubango drum school...was my biggest incentive at carnival. A great man! He passed away in 2002, and di d not see my great growth in the world of samba. My mother always accompanied him, in the parades.”
Porto do Pedras is a municipality in the northern coast of the Brazilian state of Alagoas.