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Brazilian Embassy in Berlin Commemorates 100 Years of Samba

Brazil celebrates the centenary of their most emblematic music style this year

November 11th, 2016
Irene Escacena, Berlin Global
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Brazil, and Brazilian embassies abroad, are celebrating 100 years of music and dance under the rhythm of Samba this November. Samba was recognized under the World Heritage scheme by UNESCO in 2005. The Brazilian Embassy in Berlin is taking this opportunity to host several activities in commemoration of the typical rhythm. 

On November 27th 1916, a samba composition by Ernesto dos Santos, Donga, and Mauro de Almeida, Pelo Telefone, was registered for the first time in the National Library of Rio de Janeiro. Although the style already existed, Pelo Telefone allowed Samba to become the hit of the carnival.

The rhythm, in fact, finds its origins in pre-colonial Africa, especially Angola and Congo, and was brought to Salvador de Bahia by African slaves. In the city, the so-called Little Africa, Samba became a life style. Reunions of guitars and drums surrounded by food and drinks could last for days as the rural Samba of Bahia was born.

During the beginning of the 20th century, the rhythm was spread among the country and arrived in Rio de Janeiro, which was then the capital of the Republic. It began to be danced at the favelas, a place used by the cariocas to hide from police persecution. Then, the rhythm was improved and spread all around the national territory.

Now, 100 years later, what used to be the music of the marginalized has become the greatest expression of the national identity. Samba’s National Day is celebrated every 2nd December, a date which also represents the fight against oppression and racism.

And 2016 is the year to commemorate Samba. This is why the Brazilian Embassy in Berlin will be hosting different activities related with the traditional music. On 4th November, the Brazilian journalist and writer Fernando Molica will give a lecture entitled ‘Feliz aquele que sabe sofrer- Cem anos do ritmo que melhor define o Brasil’, meaning ‘Blessed is the one who knows how to suffer - One hundred years of the pace that best defines Brazil’.

The film ‘My Name is Now’, with one of the main stars of the Brazilian Samba, Elza Soares, will be presented in Europe for the first time at the Brazilian Embassy on 9th November. Two days later, people will be able to attend to a talk with the conductor and musicologist Andrea Huguenin Botelho and the screening of the film The Mystery of Samba’.  

November is therefore not only the month to dance and enjoy the rhythm of Samba but also an opportunity to learn about its origins and significance for the Brazilian community both in Berlin and all over the world.

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News from Berlin