History of Samba

One of the most popular music and dance styles ever to appear from Brazil, samba evolved in Rio de Janeiro by the early 20th century. With its rich and syncopated (shorten a word by dropping sounds or letters in the middle) rhythm and its often voluptuous (related to) dance moves.

The word “samba” is thought to be derived from the Kimbundu (Angolan) term semba, which referred to an “invitation to dance” as well as for the dance parties held by slaves and former slaves in the rural areas of Rio. These dances involved gyrating hip movements (called umbigada) and had roots going back to the colonial period in the Congolese and Angolan circle dances.Over time samba gained important influences. As a song form, samba was extremely popular during the turn of the century, with some of the early recordings dating back to 1911.

By the 1950s, as samba-canção began to lose its interest. At first called samba de morro because of its development in the morros (hills), from the style it is to be known as samba-de-batucada.With its powerful sound by time samba become the heartbeat of Rio’s carnaval, and the primary style were organized groups called escolas de samba (samba schools).

Another important thing of samba is it took place in the late 1950s which would spark the second international wave of popularity for Brazilian music: the development of bossa nova. Considered an adaptation of the previous samba- canção form, bossa nova emphasized the melodic and vocal aspects of samba in a slower, more romantic style fused with the richness of American jazz harmony. The result was a sound many music critics first panned for its “out-of-tune” qualities, but its popularity soared as pioneers such as Antonio Carlos Jobim and João Gilberto brought bossa nova to new heights. Films such as Black Orpheus (with a musical score of sambas and bossa novas composed by Jobim) wowed international audiences with the sounds of authentic Brazilian music.While much of samba’s history is centered in Rio de Janeiro, a new development of the genre began to take place in the eastern state of Bahia in the 1980s, as artists in Salvador created a new style that was a bit slower, with lyrics that reflected the idea of Brazil’s African Diaspora.

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