The origins of samba

The origins of samba are linked to African drumming music. When people were transported to Brazil from Africa to be enslavd in the mines and sugar plantations, they brought aspects of their musical culture with them.

Samba style developed in the 1950s in the favelas and includes layering syncopated rhythms on multiple percussion instruments. Samba has many similarities to African drumming music such as polyrhythms and use of call and response.

A photograph of Carnival - a school parade in Rio de Janeiro.
A scene from the annual Carnival in Rio de Janeiro

Samba is the music that has a strong association to Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. The Carnival has been held every year since 1723 and lasts up to six days with over two million people lining the streets to watch. Local communities each have a float to decorate and are accompanied by their local samba school.