Dance is a form of non-verbal communication for expressing human experiences, which in the course of time has developed into a form of art. Brazil is a land of many popular dances that contain the elements of African, Portuguese and European dance forms. Samba, Carimbo, Capoeira, Forro, Coco, Cacuria, Jongo, Lundu and other dances are some of the famous dances of Brazil.
Here are 10 traditional Brazilian dances worth knowing about.
As the symbol of Brazil, any good list about traditional Brazilian dances has to start with samba. Samba is a Brazilian music genre and dance style notable for its fast footwork and flowing hip swings which, when coupled with the beats of a steel drum, seems to leave spectators in a trance. Its origins lie in the west coast of Africa, coming to Brazil through slavery. It is the music genre and dance most closely linked to Rio de Janeiro.
Some believe that samba was derived from the word ‘semba’, which signifies a navel bump in Kimbundo, the African Bantu language, and symbolizes the invitation to dance from a man to a woman. ‘Semba’ is also an infinitive of ‘kusamba’, which means ‘to pray’, or to appeal for the favor of the Gods or ancestors by singing and dancing. So, the dance was an indispensable part of the religious ceremonies.
Jongo – sometimes known as caxambu – was brought over to Brazil through slavery and is thought to have originated from Angola. The dance is sometimes referred to as an ancient form of samba and a performance of jongo does prove that the step work is often very similar. Lively and spirited, the dance is performed to a harmonious group of people singing and playing simple instruments. It is sometimes associated with Umbanda, a religion with roots in Africa.
The Jongo is still widely practiced today in various cities: The Vale do Paraíba in the Southeast region of Brazil, to the South of the state of Rio de Janeiro and to the North of São Paulo.
Although not fully classified as a dance, it is a unique combination of martial arts, dance and acrobatics. To spectators, the hypnotizing music and fluidity of the moves certainly appear dance-like. Capoeira is another dance that has an African origin, coming over to Brazil through slavery. The moves include fast-paced sweeps, kicks and dodges with the lower body playing out most of the moves whilst the upper body balances the actions.
Lundu is also a dance form brought by the Enslaved Africans, and it became very popular in Brazil during the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. The basic musical instruments involved are guitar, piano and drum. This dance also involves the use of handkerchief and castanets, an instrument consisting of a pair of hollow pieces of wood, or bone, and is held between the thumb and the fingers.
Xote is a typical type of forro dance that is incredibly versatile and has several variations across the country. Blending both European and African influences, it also incorporates elements of salsa, mambo and rumba, depending on the region in Brazil.
What is Acaraje?
It’s a small Brazilian fritter made from black-eyed peas. The dish uses onions and ground dried shrimp to give it an extra punch in flavor. They’re shaped into balls and deep-fried in boiling azeite dende also known as Brazilian palm oil. The balls are then split in half and filled vatapa, a creamy paste made from finely ground peanuts, shrimp and coconut milk.
To elaborate, you need to soak the peas overnight and strip their skins. This will include the black “eyes”, making it tedious but often optional. But if you opt to do this, you’re rewarded with a creamier texture for the final dish.
History of Acaraje
Acaraje originated from Western Africa, that’s why you can also find it on Nigeria and Ghana. But after getting to the Americas, it became more popular in Salvador, Brazil as street food. Women in Bahia made and sold the dish as well.
It is popular with the Yoruba people of south-western Nigeria and Sierra Leoneans. In Ghana, it is a popular breakfast dish, eaten with millet or corn pudding while in Nigeria it is eaten with bread, ogi or eko, a type of cornmeal made with fine corn flour.
In the Yoruba culture, akara plays a significant role when a person assumes the age of 70 or dies. It is fried in large quantity and distributed across every household close to the deceased. Back in the day, the cake was also prepared in large numbers as a sign of victory when warriors returned victorious from war. Wives of the warriors fried it and distribute to fellow villagers as gratitude for the safe return of their husbands.
In Sierra Leone, akara aside being a street snack, is usually prepared upon the birth of a child, a wedding, funeral or party.
The dish, made from peeled beans formed into a ball and then deep-fried in palm oil or vegetable oil, is found in West African and Brazilian cuisines. It was sent to the Americas, especially Brazil’s northeastern state of Bahia by the West Africa enslaved from Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Mali, Gambia and Sierra Leone.
With that, the dish became part of the “heritage culture” of Bahia. Its ceremony of certification happened at the headquarters of the National Institute of Artistic and Historic Heritage in Salvador. The ceremony featured a lot of proud women, serving lots of trays to everyone.
The dish’s name is a funny mistake since its real name is “acara”. But women from the Yoruba ethnical group selling these shout “acara -je”, meaning, “I have acara”.
Acarajé is sold on Brazil’s streets but here it is variously made with fried beef, mutton, dried shrimp, pigweed, fufu osun sauce and coconut. Distinct sellers wear all-white cotton dresses and headscarves and caps. The bean cake is reported to have made its way to Bahia in the 19th century.
Earnings from its sale was used to sometimes buy the freedom of enslaved family members until the abolition of slavery in Brazil in 1888 while serving as a source of family income. It also has a notable presence in Sergipe and the markets of Rio de Janeiro.
Acarajé serves as both a religious offering to the gods in the Candomblé religion and as street food.
As an essential ritual food used in Afro-Brazilian religious traditions such as Candomblé, it is offered to the orixá Exu. They vary in size based on their offering to a specific deity: large, round acarajé are offered to Xangô; smaller ones in form are offered to Iansã. Small, fritter-size acarajé are offered to Erês, or child spirits. Acarajé is used in Candomblé rituals in the states of Bahia, Rio de Janeiro, Pernambuco, Alagoas, Sergipe and Maranhão.
Acarajé was listed as a federal immaterial asset (patrimônio nacional imaterial), by the National Institute of Historic and Artistic Heritage in 2004; the role of baianas in the preparation and sale of acarajé was recognized in the same act.
Today, acarajé represents a good example of how African influences have been shaping Brazil’s cultural heritage and its culinary identity.
On Wednesday, residents in South Africa and Brazil volunteered to begin the testing of a COVID-19 vaccination trial developed by the University of Oxford in Britain.
The trials are starting in South Africa because it is being said that the country was responsible for nearly one-third of the continent’s positive cases.
Although the continent of Africa as a whole was one of the last places to get hit by the pandemic, health officials are saying that numbers are now beginning to spike.
Like many countries that have a history with the Transatlantic Slave Trade, Brazil has never been able to grapple the matters of race. Frankly, no other country on that side of the world with the historic significance of the Transatlantic Slave Trade has competently figured out how to navigate the matters of race.
Data shows that out of the more than 9.5 million people taken from Africa between the 16th and 19thcenturies, more than 4 million slaves landed in Rio de Janeiro. That’s nearly 10 times more than the total number of slaves sent to North America during this time frame.
After hundreds of years of silence and denial, leaders in Brazilrecognized the contributions from those of Africa descent during the 2016 Summer Olympic Games and addressed the impact enslaved people made on the country’s history.
People of color felt it was a turning point for the country to tackle racism head-on in a place where the impact of slavery continue to manifest itself in the obstacles Afro-Brazilians face compared to their white counterparts.
You see it in Rio’s favelas, which translates to “low-income neighborhoods,” where Afro-Brazilians disproportionately dwell and in the workplace where on average, black Braziliansearn 57 percent less than white Brazilians.
You also witness the impacts of a post-slavery society in the criminal justice system where Black people make up more than 64 percent of the prisonpopulation, and black youth are killed at an alarming rate.
In 2017, the Permanent Forum Racial Equality, a Brazilian coalition that advocates on behalf of black and anti-racist movements, petitioned the UN’s Human Rights Council on the rate of targeted homicides of young black Brazilians, as reported in Face 2 Face Africa.
The report found that black youth are murdered in Brazil every 23 minutes. More than 70% of murder victims in Brazil are black and 93% of the time, they are men.
But the study gets worse.
Investigators concluded that they “came upon a cruel and undeniable reality: ‘the Brazilian state, directly or indirectly, perpetrates the genocide of the young black population.’”
The report only confirmed what anti-racists advocates and black people have known for some time.
But one thing that sticks out in the report is that Brazilians had come to expect young black men to be killed. Lawyer Daniel Teixeira told the Agencia Brasil that the situation in Brazil had become “neutralized.”
Read more about the study and its findings here.
Source: Travel Noire
Davido, a Nigerian singer, songwriter, and record producer dropped his vibrant new music video for his track #1Milli. He is giving us major Yoruba and Afro-Caribbean moreover Brazilian vibes. Also, with the show off of Afro-descendant Religion, which was taken to the New World by Yoruba slaves from Africa.
One year after the release of “Assurance” visuals, where Davido proudly showed us his girlfriend and current fiancée in a music video that had 53 million views, he returns with “1 milli” visual, the second track of his album A Good Time. This one also features his soon-to-be bride Chioma Rowland. This is a song where he expresses his love for her and talks about the bride price he is willing to pay for his beloved.
This clip is a vibrant tribute to the Afro-Caribbean community descending from Africa. Most of all, in this carnival period, the release of this clip is not insignificant. The traditional getup, the landscapes, the atmosphere delivers homage to the Afro-Brazilian community which is instantly recognizable. Indeed, this community is renowned for having the second-largest black community where African influences are still very present through. For example, the candomblé religion which is one of the Afro-Brazilian religions practiced in Brazil, but also in neighboring countries such as Uruguay, Cuba, Paraguay, Argentina, and Venezuela.
A mixture of catholicism, indigenous rites, and African beliefs, this religion consists of a cult of orixás (pronounced “oricha”), the candomblé gods of totemic and family origin, each associated with a natural element (water, forest, fire, lightning, etc.)
In Brazil, especially in Salvador de Bahia, Osun is an orisha goddess who is truly praised. She is a goddess found in Yoruba mythology.
Davido who is of Yoruba heritage, commemorate the end of Black History Month by promoting black unity but also by celebrating the Afro-Caribbean culture, knowing that the carnival culture was initiated by Afro-descendants.
As with all great migrations, the Africans that arrived in the carribean not only brought over their strength and beauty but also their music and cultural traditions.