brazil music samba genre

If there is any music the Brazilians are well known of, that would be “Samba”. Samba is very popular today, being available to everyone in terms of radio, television, live performances, and of course, through the internet. Songs of this type of music has regular airplays in stations, and even hit high billboard charts ever since their conception in modern music.

More and more people worldwide are starting to enjoy samba and beginning to introduce the genre into a regular playlist for their everyday music.But the samba heard today, or as they would call it, is somewhat different from the real, authentic and traditional samba; the samba that originated some decades ago. Historians unarguably agree that samba was born in Rio de Janeiro, a state in Brazil, and brought about by the Africans. In the 16th century, colonists discovered a place they called the January River, which later became the Rio de Janeiro, settled and brought in African slaves to work in a large plantation called Bahria (Clifford par.

). Scared and probably confused on the uncertainty of the new land, the West-African slaves, primarily the Yoruban, Dahomean, Congolese and Angolan, usually played their own music and rhythms to ease each other and reminisce their comforts in their homeland. These musics came from their own ritual aspects, and were used to call on their gods in ceremonies (Mauleon par. 3, Clifford par.

3). It was from these rhythms where samba originated.In fact, the Brazil Travel Information’s website cites the word “semba”, as a religious ceremony characterized by specific rhythms and choreography of the batuque, which means to make any rhythm possible with any instrument or object. “Semba” is also defined to be a Kimbundu word that means “invitation to dance” (McGowan and Pessenha 22).

The genre is then accepted by theories as a religious get-together the quickly evolved into a community celebration usually played in the backyards after night. The samba is an important element in a Brazilian’s life.Different festivals are held not only in Brazil, but in many parts of the world, dedicated to the Brazilian music. The genre also became known as the country’s national icon for music and many see this as the identifying factor of the country.

Brazilians, when asked what a samba is, answer in a very personal manner. As the authors McGowan and Pessenha stated in their book: “And if we ask an average Brazilian what a samba is, the answer is generally subjective and doesn’t always refer to music. “It’s something that runs in my veins, it’s in my blood,” say many samba musicians and devotees. (22) Samba is then something that is deeply rooted within its admirers’ consciousness, a type of music that enables them to be the best of them.

But samba was not always portrayed as great and good during the past century. It also experienced a number of discouragements, and was subjected and attacked by racism. As it began emerging, the whites took precautions with this type of music. Dances accompanying samba music were though to be sinful by the Europeans, and movements were made to repress this growing trend.

As the batuque, a predecessor of samba, gained popularity, one Portuguese emperor by the name of Manuel I passed a law forbidding it (Clifford par. 5). In its early development, the samba is played on a place with white and light-skinned persons as societal middle and high classes. The samba sessions were played at the backyards of old women called aunts, as these merry making were usually broken up by the police, suspecting that they are up to no good.

Angenor de Oliveira, a great player of samba, remembered samba having a connotation for a “thing of bums and bandits” (R.J. par. 6).

As a matter of fact, it is uncommon and a little eccentric for a white Brazilian to study and dedicate his or her time in studying samba. It was on the late 1920s and 1930s when the appreciation on samba began. This can be partially attributed to the increasing interest amongst the whites. The song “Pelo Telefone” by Ernesto dos Santos and Mauro Almeida was the first samba recording that brought the genre outside of the black favelas.

Since then, many have tried to introduce samba elements into white culture (Gilman par. 1).But probably the main reason would be the refusal to suppress these African influences by President Getulio Vargas, who personally manned the promotion of this music and dance to festivals in Rio de Janeiro. He used government funds to further enhance the “Carnaval” celebrations and the samba music as tourist attractions (Beattie 127).

Vargas increased the cultural element in Rio, and being the axis of the country, spread the popularity of samba all through out Brazil. The development of modern samba came after another famous related genre, the choro. This is also of Brazilian roots, and has some elements completely opposite to the samba.It is quiet and private, unlike the samba’s shouting and response system.

It is also of a sobbing, wailing texture, where it got its name (Broughton and Ellingham 334). The choro was called the original carnaval music but, as a livelier, cheerful and danceable tune, the samba took over the choro, creating a massive change in the traditional culture of festivals in Rio de Janeiro. Many tourists began flocking Brazil to watch the sambistas perform as the centerpiece of the carnaval (Ladle 97). A very large leap for samba happened with the introduction of samba schools, or escolas de samba, including samba in a field of formality.

These schools started as a venue for fanatics to rehearse and share with each other their knowledge about samba. A great sambista by the name of Ismael Silva, who was one of the pioneers of the first school, recalls of an empty space near a teachers’ college that served as the rehearsal space for samba musicians. The college is referred to as a place “where professors come from. ” But for samba devotees, the empty parking lot is where THE professors come from.

This started the idea of holding a school dedicated in teaching and learning the craft of samba (Broughton and Ellingham 334).After the schools have been established, samba started to flourish as a prominent genre not only in Brazil, but in other European countries as well. Mesemba and Maxxixe, the dances that come with the samba music, were popularized in the U. S.

A. and brought to the country as new forms of movements (Clifford par. 7). As early as the 1930s, movies began using samba music and movements as their themes and radio stations started playing a lot of Latin music on air.

The American audience loved it, adding to the genre’s already rising fame. As Rio de Janeiro started being a national symbol for Brazil, so did samba.In the 1994 World Cup, samba played a big role in the events, calling the major attention of the world. Statistics from The World Cup History website acknowledges that year for having the highest attendance in history.

This race to fame of samba did not stop, until the present day, where samba has evolved into many sub-types fitting the contemporary tastes of the listeners. A well known website of a samba organization, Wellington Batucada, lists several types of samba that has sprouted throughout history. One of these is the Samba Batucada, a fast, lively and “swingy” samba that is typical of carnaval street music.This is probably the most famous in Rio de Janeiro, and most true in terms of traditionalism.

A style closely related to the Batucada, and also a sub-style of samba is the Pagode Samba. This samba is defined by its uplifting mood, used in partying and community celebrations. This became a strong tradition in the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro, usually lasting for a whole day. Another is the Partido Alto, characterized by highly percussive instruments and the improvisational techniques of the players.

This style can be commonly heard in musical performances as venues for showing off the skills of the musicians.Still another type of samba, but lower in terms of power and energy is the Samba Cancao. This can be performed by a single person, and stresses melody and quietness as its theme. The rise of the varying tastes of contemporary musicians is shown in the evolution of the fusion sambas, such as the samba reggae, a mixture of the two genres.

Nowadays, samba elements are juxtaposed with jazz, blues and even rock. A lot of popular samba songs played the radio are not a hundred samba, but fused with different other genres. Finally, there is the Bossa Nova that made its way into a huge success in the music business.The bossa, as it is commonly called, is sung softly, and closely related to jazz.

In much contemporary samba music, such as the bossa, modern instruments are preferred in accompanying the singer. Jazz instruments such as guitar, piano, drums and bass play the rhythm and melody which embeds the whole song. Although correct in a contemporary sense, samba is usually manifested by the “beating of drums”. It comprises of many percussion instruments playing different rhythms at once, creating a polyrhythmic effect (Stam 116).

Each drum has a different voice, and each plays a vital role in creating the music.The surdo is the biggest drum and has the deepest sound. It serves as the heartbeat of the ensemble, playing steady rhythms on which the other drums pick up their tempo and feel. The melody is usually heard in terms of the high pitched drums, one of such is the caixa.

This little drum is made of steel or wood, and has a batter and resonant head. It is like a small replica of the more familiar snare drum from the modern drumset. The tambourim is another small, hand-held drum. It has a very high and piercing pitch, and played with long beater sticks (Klower 157).

A similar hand-held drum, although bigger, is the repinique. It also has a piercing pitch, and functions as the lead or call drums. It is used to send out signals and break lines for the ensemble, and also plays solos when needed (Klower 41, Wellington Batucada). Aside from the drums, there are still other percussive instruments in the group.

The agogo is composed of two bells, having low and high steel-sounding tones (Klower 67). Shakers are also essential in creating the samba beats. The chochalco is a very large shaker, made from wood or steel with a number of jingles attached to it.This is a fundamental element in samba, and provides a powerful rhythm to keep the other instruments together (Klower 90).

The drums provide the rich, diverse, and complex rhythms of common samba that is very different in some of the samba’s sub-styles. But one who is well versed on the samba basics can very well distinguished common beats, rhythms, and elements in all of this. Samba has made such an impact in the whole world. Many musicians are trying to adopt samba and include them in their compositions.

Baterias, or samba percussion bands are formed at almost any college, replicating the escolas de samba some decades ago.And as always mentioned previously, samba has been dominating the air waves, being given their own radio stations, and dedicating television shows just for them. Samba is a great, popular genre of music, but it should be seen as something more than that. It was created not out of fun, but as a way of relief and communicating to the gods.

It came from rituals and ceremonies. It experienced a lot of downfalls and was criticized by the high societies. These alone are enough reasons to regard samba as a part of history, a music that evolved from the shackles of racism and pride to a music loved and respected by the world.

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