Saturday, December 2, 2006

Everyone Should Like Samba


The pulse of Brazil.

Think velvety voices and intoxicating guitar strums.

Think attractive couples gliding across a dance floor in unison.

Think what you will, but everyone can find something to their liking in this genre of music.

Samba emerged as a distinctive genre in the early twentieth century in Brazil, developing from the traditional music of black immigrants from various African countries, but mainly Angola. By the 1930's samba schools existed in Brazil and the genre sprouting numerous variations including Bossa Nova.

It is the Bossa Nova style that most people are familiar with. It gained international popularity in the 1950's through the compositons of Joao Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and Stan Getz. Their have also been waves of popularity in the 1970's and 80's of different samba variants.

Most samba is percussion driven, filled with hand drums, tambourines, and different types of stringed instruments. If you ever spend time in Brazil during Carnival, or even watch clips on TV you will see samba groups, or 'sambistas,' playing the soundtrack to the celebration. And while sambas is the soul of Brazil, it is still immensely popular in all parts of the world including places like Japan and Germany--I know naming those two countries may seem rather arbitrary, but there's something funny, if not downright strange about it.

I think this speaks to samba's worth. If two nations as different as Germany and Japan can embrace samba music, then it has to tempt you at least a little bit! If you are already a fan of samba, then I hope this article reinforces your interest in the music, but if you have given up on samba, or have never bothered to give it a chance then I encourage you to do so.

You will not regret it.

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