Latin joy has already taken over Europe
thinks Europeans can only enjoy American pop and electronic music is wrong.
Latin American music is becoming increasingly popular in the Old Continent
countries. Among several different styles, the samba is one of the most
attractive for the Europeans, as well as the bossa nova. “Garota de Ipanema”
is among the classics and “Aquarela do Brasil” has got a mixed version for
the dance floors.
the Netherlands, as well as in other European and North American countries, the
clubs and the theme bars featuring Latin music, usually salsa and merengue, are
becoming rather usual. Brazilian bars can be found in the largest cities, where
fellow Brazilians concentrate. I have been to typical Brazilian taverns, with
caipirinha and samba, in Amsterdam, Brussels, London, and, although they are few,
here in Rotterdam. The “gringos” that enjoy swinging prefer the salsa to the
samba, perhaps due to the level of difficulty. However, it does not mean they do
not like our swing. It is enough to say that you are Brazilian, and they want to
see your dancing the samba.
is very interesting to think how much I found out about Brazilian music, our
roots, musicians and diversity, here in Europe, even more than in Brazil. Some
Brazilian musicians became famous here. Unfortunately, Brazilians do not know
their best exponents, because their songs are more sophisticated and less
popular. For instance, Marco Suzano is one of the best percussionists in the
world, capable of doing wonders with the pandeiro, and it was not until I came
here that I heard about him.
to the increasing number of immigrants, Europe has become a very eclectic
Continent in terms of culture. Music, events and food representing all
Continents get together here. Since so many Europeans have contact with foreign
rhythms, many of them find out what they really like by getting to know the
culture of far away places.
in Rotterdam, I was lucky enough to get to know a lot of musicians, which
usually love Latin music and are attracted by the percussion and by the
different sounds of the instruments. Rotterdam is one of the few cities in
Europe, which has a conservatory of music and dance, specialised in instruments
of percussion. It creates a wide field for Latin and African music to be
explored. People from the Netherlands, as well as from France and Germany, come
to Rotterdam to study and fall in love with Brazilian music. They end up meeting
musicians that even I do not know; some even learn how to sing in Portuguese,
study Brazilian culture and, of course, dream about visiting our country.
drums are so usual for Brazilians that we do not realise we are the true masters
of the percussion art. The pandeiro, for instance, is a typical and original
Brazilian instrument, as well as the congas come from Cuba. Europe’s original
music, which is more classical, does not resort to instruments of percussion. It
might be why our music sounds so “exotic” and interesting for the Europeans.
musicians that moved to Europe also contributed for the diffusion of our culture
in the Old Continent. Singers and musicians arrive, settle down by performing at
pubs and events, and make up room for others to come and spread our music. In
Rotterdam, a whole family of percussionists produces typical Brazilian music and
is becoming famous. The Kria Family came from Goiás and has already performed
in several cities in the Netherlands.
because of the drums, the rhythm or the mixture, Latin American music is
different. Here in the Netherlands, thanks to the African immigrants, mainly
from Cape Verde, I had the chance of finding out our musical roots and learning
a lot about the origin of our culture. By attending to an African music concert,
from the Cape Verde islands, I could understand better how much we own to Africa,
which is visible in the originality of our rhythms, our dance and our culture.
This musicality has certainly changed and today is very different from the
original African one, but it is amazing how much the Brazilian roots concerning
the samba, the beats and the swing relate to Africa, in spite of the latter’s
music and dance being more tribal and featuring a stronger rhythm.
influence has helped establish the whole of Latin music, mainly due to the use
of instruments of percussion. The Blacks created typical Latin rhythms such as
the salsa in Cuba, the merengue in the Dominican Republic, the reggae in the
Caribbean, the cumbia in Colombia and the samba in Brazil. In addition, the
Blacks introduced the beats into the funk and the jazz, which are rhythms
originally from the southern part of the United States.
in Europe is also influenced by these rhythms. Whoever thinks the Europeans do
not know how and do not like to dance is completely wrong. If they do not call
so much attention by their swinging as we, Latinos, do, they make up for it with
the style and technique they develop for the pair dance.
in dance, rhythm or, simply, joy of living, mutual learning among cultures with
so different histories has resulted well, generating an amazing interchange of
rhythms and a giving value to the music and the arts of different places – not
only the Latin countries, but also the Asian and African ones. The contact among
such different cultures shortens distances and contributes to the mutual
recognition of values and merits and to the end prejudices and stereotypes.
Translated by Traduzca