5 March 2012
Samba is a style of music that originated in Brazil through the region’s traditional music as well as African music brought by slaves via the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. One important traditional Brazilian musical style that influenced the creation of Samba is that of Batuque. Batuque was a traditional music and dance style that was born in Cape Verde. Samba is primarily found in Northeastern and Southeastern Brazil, especially in Rio de Janeiro where the modern style was born. The samba that is known today in played in two and incorporates a variety of string instruments such as the guitar as well as an array of percussion instruments such as the tamborim which is a drum ranging from 6-8 inches that is played with a small drumstick or mallet.
During the first decade of the 20th century, samba did not meet any strict definition and did not reach a popular audience. It was not until 1917 that the “first” true samba was composed. This composition is entitled “Pelo Telephone” which means “by phone” and was claimed to be composed by Ernesto dos Santos although it is widely believed that the tune was composed collectively, by many different musicians. After this recording began to circulate, it quickly became a hit and popularized samba throughout Brazil. Since then, samba has had extremely close ties with The Brazilian Carnival, an annual seasonal celebration before lent celebrated across the country. The meaning of carnival can be seen in its root word of carne which means meat. The name illustrates the fact that meat is prohibited during the 40 days of lent. Brazils carniaval continues to be the largest in the world and is held in Rio de Janeiro. During the Carnival celebration, music and dance can be found everywhere as well as traditional foods related to samba and the Carnival.