All About The Dance: Samba
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The Samba originated in Brazil but had African and European roots, and as such, served as Brazil's counterpart to American Jazz.. To many people it images of Brazil and Carnival. Starting in Rio de Janeiro it was heavily influenced by Rio's immigrants from the Brazilian state of Bahia. It helped to unify light and dark skinned Brazilians just as American Jazz brought people together in the 1930's and 1940's. As Brazil's vernacular dance, its roots grew out of Bahian slaves who were permitted to continue their musical heritage when time permitted. Eventually, these roots led to the first song that could truly be called a Samba, "Pelo Telefone" (1917) by Donga and Mauro Almeida. This song inspired a wide array of Samba music, including:
  • Common Samba: Common samba is characterized by 2 and 4 beats, one muted and one main. The cavaquinho, a very important instrument that served as a precursor to the ukulele, links the harmony and rhythm sections of common samba music. Most of the percussion is provided by tambourine drums that feature prominently in Samba music.
  • Partido alto: Partido alto is characterized by a highly percussive beat and a base in a major key. It is commonly divided into choruses and highly improvised verses that add flavor and dynamism to the music.
  • Pagode: Pagode is the newest and most widespread samba music in Brazil. It began in the 1980's and introduced many new instruments and music styles. It is often sung at informal meetings and parties and constitutes a large part of samba culture in Brazil.
  • Samba-enredo: Samba-enredos are performed by schools during the annual Carnival parade. These samba school groups are often compared to marching bands and shift the focus away from vocals and towards percussive grooves and musical breaks.
Click here for a list of Samba classes offered.

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