Samba Dance & Music

By Alexa Boyce
When one thinks about the "traditional" or cultural music of the world, you might imagine that it has been in development or a part of a certain country's culture for hundreds of years. Samba is relatively a baby compared to these. Surprisingly, it was born around the 19-"teens" and 1920's as a contemporary to Jazz but not a derivative. It began in the favelas, or Afro-Brazilian black Ghettos in the Bahian state and migrated to Rio with the recording of "Pelo Telephone" by Dongo and Mauro Almeida in 1917. This is generally referred to as the first recording of Samba music.
People often refer to the escola de samba or samba school. This was originally to give the musicians a sense of legitimacy in the new genre. Samba music's popularity really took off in the 1930's when Ismael Silva opened the first Samba School, Deixa Falar, in the Estacio de Sa neighborhood. This coincided with the nationalistic dictatorship of Getulio Vargas and pushed samba to become Brazil's official music.
Samba Music is divided into many sub-categories such as Bossa Nova, Partido Alto, Pagode, Samba de Breque, Samba-canssao and Samba-enredo.
Samba can also refer to the rhythmic dance that is typically performed to Samba music, though as with the music, there are many different forms of the dance. Brazilian Samba partner dances such as Samba de Gafiera or Samba de Pagode differ greatly from Ballroom Samba. They are actually more closely related to the Argentinean Tango. Samba no pe and Samba Axe are different kinds of solo Samba dances often seen at Carnival.
For Information about Samba groups near you, click here, & here.

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