May 22, 2013
Written by Victoria Baker
Wednesday, 18 May 2011 12:40
The Latin music that will most certainly comprise the entertainment at the Ball promises to be spirited and elegant: qualities with which dances like tango have become synonymous...During the 1890’s, the working class of Argentina invented a new rhythm, the tango. Tan-go was the name given to the drums of the African slaves, and the music was influenced by both the Cuban habanera and the local milonga. The choreography was originally devised in the brothels to imitate the obscene and violent relationship between the prostitute, her pimp and a male rival eventually turned into a dance and a style of music of a pessimistic mood, permeated by a fatalistic sense of an unavoidable destiny, a music of sorrow enhanced by the melancholy sound of the bandoneon. Tango was embraced enthusiastically in Europe and landed in the USA in the 1910’s. The Viennese waltz and the Polka had been the first dances to employ the close contact between a male and a female. The tango pushed the envelope in an even more erotic direction. But tango became a more intellectual affair during the 1930’s, when literate songwriters created more poetic lyrics.
The first appearance of the word ‘samba’ dates from 1838. The samba was probably invented by African-Brazilians in the working-class slums of Rio de Janeiro. The rhythm of the samba was designed to fulfill three roles: to sing, to dance and to parade at the carnival. The fundamental dichotomy of Brazilian music is between Bahia and Rio. Bahia is the Brazilian equivalent of New Orleans: a melting pot where African traditions mixed with local and European concepts. Rio was both the capital of the aristocracy, where European culture was imported, and the underworld of the slums, where poor (black and white) immigrants from the rest of Brazil lived in miserable conditions.
Whether it be to the regal rhythms of the tango or the upbeat drums of the samba, the Renaissance Ball’s Latin theme will certainly live up to its expectations and delight its attendees...
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