By Isabela Jordão
Emerged in Bahia, in the 19th century, from a mixture of varied African rhythms, samba became popular throughout Brazil but strengthened its roots in Rio de Janeiro. In the state, several samba legends were born and left their mark, even years after their deaths, proving the strength of the musical style that is a registered trademark of Brazil and recognized worldwide.
But we already published a lot of material about samba and you can easily find it on our website. Here, in particular, we selected for documentaries or series after a thorough research about Brazilian samba and its importance on the country’s cultural formation. That are worth checking out!⠀⠀
The BBC series offers a detailed account of the years in which Brazilian music has evolved and constantly changed while capturing the global imagination. Filmed at Brazil’s massive carnival celebrations, the extraordinary maracatu ceremonies of the northern countryside, and the music clubs of Salvador and Rio, these three, hour-long films chronicle Brazilian music from the birth of samba right through to the hip-hop, baile and funk scenes. Episode 1 is available on YouTube totally free.
Check out Episode 1 first part:
Samba on Your Feet
This lively film goes behind the scenes of the samba and carnival world in Rio de Janeiro to reveal how the cultural clash of African and European cultures gave birth to a new tradition, in which one African slaves’ beliefs, gods, and music mixed with Spanish Catholic and Indian influences centuries ago to create the remarkable fusion that is Brazilian culture. The film includes interviews with a historian and many active performers and writers of samba. The movie is available on Amazon Prime Video.
Check out the trailer:
If Samba, together with football and beautiful women, is what springs to mind when we think of Brazil, that film intends to transcend such clichés and take samba for what it is. The composer and singer Martinho da Vila guides the spectator through today’s world of Samba, where we meet with his Samba school in Rio de Janeiro, Vila Isabel, winner of Carnaval 2013.
All of it takes us to the conclusion that samba cannot be reduced simply to dance and lascivious hip movements. Samba is also a word, language, text, lyrics, or, simply said, a way of life. The movie is available also on Amazon Prime Video.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Heart of Samba
By Theresa Jessouroun, this documentary is a musical documentary focused on Mangueira Samba School ensemble. Contrasting past and present, it reveals the backstage of the worldwide famous Rio de Janeiro Carnival Parade, revealing a universe of tradition and joy that fascinates people from all over the world. Another great movie (documentary) available on Amazon Prime Video.
Check out the trailer:
We Are Samba
Filmed in Canada and Brazil, We Are Samba is a heart warming tribute to the power of music and the depth of the human spirit. This documentary by Avi Lev show group of Torontonians from disparate national backgrounds — a Filipino courier, a Jamaican subway driver, an Israeli artist, a WASP lawyer, among others — discovering that their spirits are lifted and their souls are united by the rhythm of Brazilian drums.
Check out the full movie:
By watching these programs, viewers can not only delight in the captivating music, but also understand the importance of samba as a cultural and artistic expression. So if you’re a music lover or a curious explorer of cultures, be sure to check out these suggestions and immerse yourself in the world of samba