Samba: The Musical Lifeblood of Brazil

This paper examines the history of the popular dance and music style in Brazil, the Samba.

The paper examines the cultural underpinnings and history of one of the most popular dance and music styles in Brazil – Samba. The importance of this music in daily life is emphasized, as well as the religious and popular overtones, such as the annual Carnival. The paper also includes an interview with Jon Agasse, a guitarist and percussionist with a samba ensemble living in Los Angeles.
“The crowd of almost one hundred thousand is restless. The night is moist, hot, and alive with a feeling in the air so palpable you can almost trace it with your finger. The bleachers are filled to maximum capacity, along a mile-long stretch of paved roadway adjacent to an old brewery. People from all races, classes, and countries are celebrating together at the culmination of the orgiastic, pre-Lenten, hedonistic festival of Carnival. Soon, the first marchers proceed down the corridor to the booming cacophony of bass, snare, and friction drums. The rattling of tambourines, bells, and scrapers add flavor and accent. Like a bird set free, the singing cavaquinho (ukulele) emits its high pitched cries, adding to the frenzy. The marchers and dancers, with their quick, physical movements, undulating hips and heel steps, embody the living sound. It is time for the annual celebration once again in Brazil, time for Carnival, a time once again for the ultimate physical expression of joy: Samba.”

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