Thursday, 14 June 2012

Kizomba & Zouk-Lambada - The interwoven story of Angolan/Afro Music and Brazilian/Afro Dance

First time I heard Kizomba was in Germany, one of my Angolan friends had shown me this lovely song that I love to listen to until today. But it was not until - during my studies in London - one day I watched a dance video on youtube when I got reunited with Kizomba - and met the dance Zouk for the first time.

For everyone that got confused by now. Yes, I also was, the history and connection of the two words, dances and music is complicatedly interwoven. But let's start from scratch.

Kizomba is Angolan music and dance (many refer to it as the Angolan tango), also called Zouk love by other Afro communities and countries such as Cape Verde or Mosambique which have similar music and movements. It is quite a romantic and slow dance style where couples stand close to one another and the main movement is the hip movement, in general the man leads and again, mainly through the hips, but also through his arms. I am not a dance specialist, but I do have a few Angolan friends and visited Angola twice so I was lucky enough to learn this beautiful dance, learn it where it was born and love it as much as the music that comes with it. I often dance Kizomba with closed eyes (no eye bands needed ;), that way you feel the dance and music even more...

Here an example of Kizomba/Afro Zouk and Cape Verdian Zouk/Kizomba music:

But now back to my time in London (yes, it all happens in London ;)

I watched this video that combined my favourite music style, Kizomba/Zouk with a wonderful, passionate dance I had never seen like that before. I did some Salsa before, but never got that excited about it, rather used it like a form of exercise. Now, this dance was something different. It got me the second I watched it and off I went to search the teachers in the video. It was Solange Dias with her husband Joseph, not sure which bar it was back then, anyway... I went there and started taking classes in Zouk-Lambada.

By the way, I am the girl in pink on the left hand side =) (If you'd like to know more about the teachers and their dance classes/clubs:

Teacher video:

Zouk-Lambada has its origin in the Porto Seguro Lambada dance and the dance group and music of Kaoma. (Yes, Porto Seguro is the place where we are living now =) One of the former Kaoma group members, Braz dos Santos, also lives in London and teaches his own unique style, Lambazouk.

Kizomba is a bit relaxter, most of the times ;) Lambada music did not last that long and people were looking for alternative music for the dance Lambada to go with, so there was my dear Kizomba/Zouk love music that they grabbed and integrated into the dance and nowadays, nobody can imagine Zouk-Lambada without the famous Kizomba and Zouk songs.

In general terms thus, Zouk-Lambada is a Brazilian dance that combines wave-like movements and head rolling amongst others, but I think those two features really made the difference for me, compared to styles like Salsa or other ballroom dances. To dance Zouk-Lambada, you need to be in really good form, it can get quite exhausting.

Here an example of Brazilian Zouk-Lambada (dance) with Zouk-love music:

There are a lot of fights of who came first, who invented which style and which style is the proper one, who invented the music and..... Really. I do not care. I just love them all. Kizomba. Zouk love. Lambada. Zouk-Lambada. I like combining the dance styles, Zouk-Lambada is passionate and can be slow or crazily fast, Kizomba is romantic and a bit slower (you might get even slower versions of this music then called (very sensual) Tarrachinha and faster rhytms with Semba (no, I did not intend to write Samba, Semba is the faster version and "father" of Kizomba), and some Angolans say, the father of Brazilian Samba as well, brought to Brazil through Angolan slaves... But let's not get into those discussions ;) I love the "flow" of all of them....

And I love the different music. Kizomba from Angola. Zouk love from France. Brazilian Zouk that often combines pop-songs with Zouk rhytms....

Adore them all! *_*

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