The Samba developed as a modern music genre and Brazilian dance at the beginning of XX century in Rio de Janeiro, though has its origins in African roots.
In fact, former slaves who migrated from Africa to Latin America from the XVI century, practiced a particular kind of dance that first came into contact with other local genres like polka, maxixe and lundu and then created the Samba.
The origins of the word Samba are uncertain: one version holds that it comes from the Arabic “zamba” and dates back to the Moor invasion to Iberian Peninsula in VIII century, another maintains that it is the combining of two African words: “sam” meaning “give” and “ba” meaning “receive”, while Brazilian folklorists says that samba is a corrupted form of the Kikongo word “semba” that indicates a blow struck with the belly button.
Whatever the roots are, the fact is that over the years the Samba has become not only the most famous Brazilian music genre, but also a notable cultural expression and maybe the first icon of national identity.
Often associated with football and Carnival abroad, the Samba is popular all over the world, and an increasing number people nowadays take lesson to learn to dance to the rhythm of Samba.