Samba Music

Samba originates in Southern America, specifically Bahia in Brazil, with historical ties with Africa and the triangular slave trade. It is a dance and musical style deeply engrained in Brazilian culture. As a dance as well as a genre of music it is highly suited for social events due to its inclusive nature of the traditional culture. This is largely due to how the off beat drumming can add to the texture and rhythm, as well as the huge sense of community surrounding the carnival.

Samba defines the country’s musical style as evidenced in the yearly Brazilian carnival which is imitated worldwide. In Brazil the annual carnival is a huge social and community event. Groups of performers are largely decentralised with some organisations called blocos. Samba Schools organise large floats and processions which accompany the performers, these are often financed by local government or businesses. The Samba has influenced many other cultures with Carnival being emulated worldwide in many countries.

In the carnival the Samba consists mostly of drums and other percussion such as shakers and maracas, for practical reasons of cost and instrument volume. Traditionally the lead is played on a “cavaquinho”, an instrument with similarities with the guitar, and is sometimes joined by a vocal. Other instruments that feature commonly in Samba include clarinets, trombones, flutes, clarinets and special percussion such as the tan-tan, or hand drum.

Collated and Condensed from these sources:


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