History of the Lambada and Its Relationship With World Music
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Published: Thu, 03 May 2018
Lambada History is very interesting, because it is composed of many stories and it is quite difficult to hear one and the same story of Lambada. But doubtless remains the fact that the Lambada is one of the most famous and popular Latin dances, which are known and are dancing around the world.
The word “Lambada” refers to the rhythm (a mixture of karimbo and merengue) and dance that combines elements of Forry (forró), samba, merengue and maxixe (Brazilian dance of the nineteenth century), which had huge success in Europe. Lambada became the most popular dance in 1989 and early 1990’s. This fiery dance which was born in Latin America, ruled the entire planet, and in Europe it sold over two million records with Lambada music. People were amazed with this music that reminded the rustle of palm trees, the lapping of the warm ocean, singing of birds. That’s why in the early 90’s almost every day on American and European television was shown video of Lambada dancing by professional South American dancers. That was true musical performance video, which was kind of a dance school, and opened a whole world of Latin American culture. Europeans and Americans took Lambada with enthusiasm, they admired the fiery and the brightness of Hispanics, and soon Lambada was dancing in the whole Europe and America.
The history of Lambada and its relationship with the world music
The origins of Lambada dance came from “karimbo” – at the time when Brazil was a Portuguese colony (1500-1822 gg.) in the northern part of the country there was a popular dance called karimbo, that was very sensual dance of man and woman. Over time the dance has changed, and changed the music: because of the proximity to the Caribbean region, the Caribbean music culture had a strong influence on Brazilian music (even today we can feel it if you listen to Caribbean radio station in the northern states of Brazil). This close relationship gave birth to some new rhythms – Sirimbó and Lari Lari; so karimbo dance eventually changed so much that gave birth to practically new one. After some time the local radio station Belém (capital of Pará) began to call this new kind of music “percussion rhythm” and “the rhythms of Lambada” (the word Lambada means a strong rhythmic beats of music). This last name “Lambada” became very popular and became associated with the new image of the old dance style.
Later people again began to dance karimbo in pairs, and it was very much like merengue, but had a larger number of spinning. In the end, a mixture of metal and electronic music of the Caribbean once again changed the face of karimbo, and the music quickly spread throughout the northeastern region of Brazil (the most touristic places), only this new “karimbo” was already called Lambada.
Lambada long traveled along the coast, and finally reached Bahia (the oldest of the Brazilian state), where it began to experience the effect of dance Forry (another old Brazilian style with the accented rhythm). Gradually, the timing of Lambada from a 4 / 4 changed to 2 / 2, so it can be confidently said that it was then Lambada completely lost its resemblance to the karimbo. Lambada was danced with bent legs, steps were made from side to side and never from front to back. In a fashion were tight skirts, and it happened so that they began to be associated with the Lambada, and Lambada – with them. Even nowadays in some places (for example in ‘Lambar’ – in the nightclub of the city of Sao Paulo) we can steel meet the classic couples: a lady in a narrow skirt and a man in long trousers. (Kempley 1990)
Together with the ‘Trio-eletricos’ (great mobile platform in which musicians perform dancing and singing during the Carnival) Lambada began to spread along Bahia and settled in the town of Porto Seguro. During the first boom of Lambada in the south-eastern region of Brazil (the most economically developed) it refered to the rhythms that came from Bahia, and were assumed that all these rhythms live only in the summer and then die. While all acknowledged that the Lambada was a real rush of the summer, many early lambaterii (places where the Lambada was danced) wewre closed closed in winter when tourists left. However, Lambada did not die …
The story of Lambada spread to Europe says that one day in late summer, several French businessmen came to Brazil and bought the music rights to 300 songs in the style of Lambada. Then they returned to France and organized a group ‘Kaoma’, investing lot of money in its promotion. In that way the Lambada style became known throughout the world and reached even the Far East, where it has remained to this day. The world fever of Lambada was so strong that it even returned to Brazil, to the most economically developed south-eastern region, that has already forgotten it. The fact that today in Brazil there are thousands of schools of ballroom dancing, great competitions and tens of thousands of dancers is a merit of the French ‘Kaoma’ and their international success.
This second wave was called the Second Boom of Lambada and this event greatly influenced the world culture. First of all Lambada became an international phenomenon, when millions of young people again began to dance in pairs, and evoked a wave of interest to the Latin American culture.
Having spread around the world, the dance has changed dramatically. Due to the fact that in Europe there was lack of good dancers of Lambada (for example for movies and shows), most professionals had to make changes to it: the Lambada was added with whirling and steppe-like elements from jive and East Coast swing, as well as some acrobatic movements. Many dancers have begun to mix Lambada with other musical styles, trying to create something new and unusual.
As to the Lambada music, it was played on all radio stations, and some musicians (eg, Sidney Magal and Fafá de Belém),trying to follow this new vawe, created new real hits on its basis. However, pretty soon people discovered that their interest to the Lambada was based solely on efforts to earn more money, and these musicians were quickly forgotten. After some time, many composers of Lambada seemed to be forgotten, these music and dance were losing their power, and millions of fans around the world were helpless before it. Another musicians have begun to mix Lambada with other musical styles, mix Lambada with Caribbean Soca, Merengue, Salsa and Zouk. Anyway, now Zouk is a child, a native son of our beloved old Lambada.
Thus we can say that Lambada – is a real rhythm of Latin America, which has a rich and bright national culture. History of success and spread of Lambada throughout the world shows that the culture of Latin America is very popular and interesting to people around the world. Latin American dances are always very popular, millions of people around the world love to dance them. Also, Latin American music attracts Europeans and Americans with its incendiary rhythms, unique power. Lambada became one of the most brilliant and incendiary dance, which danced the whole world, and despite the fact that its success is already lost, the era of Lambada opened the brightness of the culture in Latin America to the world and brought new sound and rythms to the world music industry.
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