Afro-Brazil: Music and Dance!

Updated: Jan 27, 2021

Above: Dani "DS" Styles (, A Black Expat In Brazil who is also a Samba Queen! Listening and watching Afro-Brazil music and dances immerse you in the Brazilian culture, and helps you soak up all Afro-Brazilian cultural richness and history. They also help you understand the generosity of the local population. Everyone can join in the dance or sing the Afro-Brazilian songs! Introduction.

Afro-Brazilian music and dances are an everyday part of the Afro-Brazilian community! They reflect the cultural richness and the strong ethnic plurality of the country.

I. Afro-Brazil music and dances: Capoeira.

Practiced today as a fun sport as well as Martial Art, African slaves created Capoeira from a self-defense/escape perspective. The roots of this art stem from the methods of fighting and African dance practiced by African slaves. These slaves came mainly from the Congo and Angola.

In the 1930s, Samba became the “Rio de Janeiro festival's” official music and dance."

Slaves learned striking and dodging techniques to the rhythm of Afro-Brazilian percussion sounds! All while under the suspicious gaze of their masters. Taking a dim view of this training, the masters quickly banned Capoeira. The slaves then learned to disguise their training through rhythmic Afro-Brazilian music and dances. They used the sound of the berimbau and other traditional musical instruments. African slaves practiced this martial art in secret. It remained like that until the beginning of the 20th century when Capoeira found its place in Brazilian culture. It is notably thanks to "Mestre Bimba" that Capoeira became one of the most practiced Afro-Brazil music and dances. In 1930, Mestre Bimba founded the first Capoeira school in "Salvador de Bahia"[2] and then transformed this Afro-Brazilian dance, into a codified martial art. II. Afro-Brazil music and dances: Samba.

Universally known throughout the world, Samba is one of the most popular Afro-Brazilian music and dances in Brazil. Samba landed in Brazil when the slaves imported from Africa. Its frenzied rhythm partially comes from the African tribal dances! Historically, Samba emerged at the very beginning of the 20th century on the streets of Rio de Janeiro's poor neighborhoods. The descendants of African slaves were numerous there, working on the most challenging tasks and living in the favelas. “Percussion”, often with homemade instruments, is the primary musical instrument of Samba. Gradually, African slaves enriched Samba with the guitar and the “Cavaquinho” (a small four-string guitar from Portugal). In recent years, some Afro-Brazilians added brass, and finally synthetic musical instruments.

For many years, due to racism, classism, and anti-Blackness, Brazilian White and European elites associated Samba with violent and obscene dancing because of its sexual connotation. Gradually, Samba became a popular Afro-Brazil dance throughout the entire country. In the 1930s, Samba became the “Rio de Janeiro festival's” official music and dance.

III. Afro-Brazil music and dances: typical musical instruments.

Four typical musical instruments are:

- Berimbau;

- Agogo;

- Atabaque and

- Pandeiro

1. The berimbau: is a Brazilian string instrument of African origin. It is the main instrument of Capoeira, but it is also used in other forms of Afro-Brazil music and dances.

2/.The pandeiro: is a Brazilian percussion instrument used in different forms of Afro-Brazil music and dances.

3. The atabaque: is a percussion instrument from the northeast Brazilian region. Atabaque originated in Africa; it is one of the first instruments introduced into Capoeira.

4/.The agogô: is a percussion instrument of African origin. It consists of one or more struck wooden or metal bells by a wand.

Meet Dani in our video!

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