Articles and Videos on the History of Samba
Updated: Jul 22, 2021
I recently wrote a paper for school looking at Mangueira's 2019 performance at Carnaval (they won!). I love love love the lyrics of the enredo and the whole theme. Our main #stlsamba choreography that year was to their song. I realized that the sources I used for my paper on Mangueira are a great intro to samba history and samba's cultural context! I start this resource list with a video for those who haven't seen samba danced, then move on to history and end with the parade from 2019. Enjoy!
What Samba Looks Like
“Brasil Samba Congress 2018 Equipe Rodrigo Marques.” YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lby_K_Ax0gA . This performance choreographed by Rodrigo Marques, one of the founders of the International Samba Congress, includes two African American dancers who have studied samba! Nicolea Pettis (https://www.instagram.com/nicolea.pettis/ ) is the one in orange. Amrahu Ibraheem (https://www.instagram.com/thebestpersoneveroninstagram/ ) is the tallest in white.
Chasteen, John Charles. "The Prehistory of Samba: Carnival Dancing in Rio De Janeiro, 1840-1917."Journal of Latin American Studies 28, no. 1 (1996): 29-47. http://www.jstor.org/stable/157986. This article is an extensive exploration of some of samba’s movement predecessors, mainly lundu and maxixe.
“About the Rio Samba Parade During Carnival.” Rio.Com - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Hotels, Accommodations, Tours, Vacation Rentals. https://www.rio.com/rio-carnival/about-rio-samba-parade
“About the Sambadrome.” About the famous Rio de Janeiro Sambadrome. http://www.rio.com/rio-carnival/about-sambadrome
Raphael, Alison. "From Popular Culture to Microenterprise: The History of Brazilian Samba Schools." Latin American Music Review / Revista De Música Latinoamericana 11, no. 1 (1990): 73-83. doi:10.2307/780359. An older look at samba schools. There seems to be a gap in the literature that doesn’t cover the last couple decades. Anyone know of more recent work in English (or work in Portuguese that I can slog through with a dictionary)?
Gilman, Bruce. "The Politics of Samba." Georgetown Journal of International Affairs 2, no. 2 (2001): 67-72. http://www.jstor.org/stable/43134029. Really good (and short 😊 ) examination of the intersection of politics and art in samba.
Mangueira’s 2019 Presentation
Carnavalesco, Redação. “Mangueira 'Reescreve' História Do Brasil Em Desfile Transgressor e Entra Na Briga Pelo Título De 2019.” Carnavalesco, March 5, 2019. https://www.carnavalesco.com.br/mangueira-reescreve-historia-do-brasil-em-desfile-transgressor-e-entra-na-briga-pelo-titulo-de-2019 Article in Portuguese discussing Mangueira’s 2019 performance. Use Google translate function if necessary!
“Mangueira 2019 CAMPEÃ Desfile.” YouTube. YouTube, January 5, 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yokl1C4NPx0. Video of the whole parade. I enocurage you to watch this split screen with Google so you can type in all the historical figures, it is super dense and full of historical information! Notable moments: Beginning/scene describing the overall idea at 9min 35 sec. Float critiquing the violence of colonization 24min 5 sec. Float highlighting African historical figures 28min 35 sec. Passistas 30min 22 sec. Queen/Bateria 31min. Bahianas 33min 30 sec
“Marielle Franco Murder: Two Rio Ex-Police Officers Held.” BBC News. BBC, March 12, 2019. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-47538871. For context regarding the Marielle Franco/Marielle Presente references in the performance.
My favourite book about samba:
Samba: Resistance in Motion by Barbara Browning if you're one of my students or colleagues in St. Louis let me know if you'd like to borrow it sometime!