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What Is Samba Reggae?

Learn about samba reggae from samba expert Michele Bastos in this Howcast dance video.


Samba reggae, it was born in Bahia in the 1970's, and it's a combination of Samba de Roda and the Jamaican reggae influenced by Bob Marley. We do love Bob Marley in Brazil especially in the north, east, and of course Rio de Janeiro. It's lyrics are very powerful, and it's really strong with social content.

Samba reggae became in Brazil an expression of its Pride bloco movement. It's pretty much about the message of the community it represents. Samba reggae blocos and bands usually represent the community. Two big examples of samba reggae blocos and bands in Salvador, Bahia are Ile Aiye and Olodum.

If we asked about the mestre on the samba it's his way of just playing the repinique. That is a Brazilian musical instrument. The sound has changed since the 1970's. However, the message is lighter, but it's still the same. So we talk about love, but, yes, the political message is still there as well.

When the samba reggae is performed the musicians actually also dance on top of the stage. They have big musical instruments, usually called surdo, and while playing the surdo they're making strong arm movements with the surdo and reaching with the hands while playing. So the movement, the dance, is based on this type of movement. Nice and long, and it's up above. Big movement. It's usually slower than the regular samba speed, so you get to do big steps side by side and allow the body to respond to the music. And it's heavy.

That's our samba reggae.

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