What is Samba?
Samba OlyWa performs a number of dances and rhythms. Most of them originate in Brazil, with roots and influences from the Americas, Africa, and Europe. Here are simplified descriptions of some of our dances/music. Our links page includes several websites with fuller explanations.
Samba (from Wikipedia): Samba's roots come from Africa, mainly Angola, where the dance semba was a predecessor of samba, and as importantly from Portugal and Europe, which made it possible for the relatively intricate harmonies found in samba to be developed out of European tradition.
Samba first appeared as a distinctive kind of music at the beginning of the 20th century in Rio de Janeiro (then the capital of Brazil) under the strong influence of immigrant black people from the Brazilian state of Bahia.
Samba Reggae (from Wikipedia): (pronounced HEH-ghe) is a new poppish type of samba from Bahia in Northern Brazil. The rhythm is influenced by Reggaeton, Calypso and Latin melodies.
Coco (from AllBrazilianMusic): Traditional dance style from the North and Northeast, its origins are not clear: slaves could have brought it from Africa, or it could be the result of a mix between native and African cultures. Although more cultivated along the coast, coco might have appeared in the countryside, following the rhythm produced when the coconuts were broken so as to extract the nuts.
Xaxado (from Aguas de Bahia): Sha-sha-do) A lively folk dance from the North East of Brazil in the Baião family. It grows out of life in the dry cangaço countryside. The name comes from the "sha-sha" sound of boots scraping the earth. The movements are brash and convey the enthusiasm of hard work and hard play
Frevo (from AllBrazilianMusic): dance-driven march played in a very fast tempo. The colorful parasols carried by frevo dancers represent defense weapons.
Maracatu In order to coordinate the management of Africans brought to Brazil as slaves on the first half of the 16th century, Portuguese settlers encouraged the institution of black kings and queens protected by catholic fraternities. The coronation pageants are believed to have originated maracatu’s frolic music.
Baião (from Latin American Folk Institute): The baião is a rhythm that although is not very well known outside Brazil, has enormous influence over much of modern Brazilian music. The traditional instrumental baião is a musical form based on an ancient figure dance or ballroom dance of European origin. In the Northeast region of Brazil this form was played by local bands that performed in salons and in private parties and at different celebrations.
Ijexa Ijexa (feminine) rhythm and steps are based on Afoxe (masculine).
Afoxe comes from Candomblé temples (which were brought to Brazil from West African slaves). Afoxe is the Candomble rhythms and songs with the religion taken out... in social, non-religious settings like Carnival and weekly dances.
The principal rhythm associated with afoxé is Ijexá, a more subtle and complicated version of what you might hear pounded out on a Maxwell House coffee can for a late-hours Manhattan cocktail party conga line.
In Candomble temples in Bahia in NE Brazil, Ijexá is associated with Oxalá (the father) and Oxum (goddess of sweet waters).
This dance has sweetness, and serenity. As you dance let the rhythm move you. Feel the harmony and let it translate into your body. Your arms are like waves, with your elbows staying away from the body. Your body, is like a spring, or like walking in the sand. The simpler the better.
Click here for YouTube video of Afoxe rhythm.
Lavagem de Bonfim This is a dance choreographed for Samba Olywa by Dora Oliveira representing the annual festival in Salvador de Bahia.