Kizomba: Conquering the World of Salsa

Kizomba: Conquering the World of Salsa

These are some of the things I learned about Kizomba when my boss told me to write about it: Its official language is Portuguese; I bet you didn’t know that, either. See, even when we thought we knew about this music genre, because we hear it at parties, get togethers or social events; as a caribbean music, known by its movements that are alike the common latin rhythms, it actually comes from Angola; a country in Southern Africa, near Namibia; and its official language is portuguese. That is why the first and most popular Kizomba songs, are in portuguese.

Diogo Cão was that responsable portuguese explorer to discover Angola and to determine its official language and culture. Who could possibly know that after the colonization era, MUSIC would be that one thing capable of combining cultures and mixing beats taste between humans? Kizomba is a clear example of that. Another fun fact, is that its name comes from Kimbudo; which means ‘party’, maybe that’s why it’s so exciting to dance it.

Kizomba: Conquering the World of Salsa

It’s good to know that its characteristic for its slow and sensuous rhythm, came with a mixed touch of African rhythm and Haitian Kompa, until it became the one we know now a day. In the 1990s, when the actual Kizomba got more and more popular, Angolan semba dancers started to adapt their semba steps, according to the tempo and flavour of the .

Back in the 60’s, the big parties were referred as: “Kizombadas”;  since at that time, Kizomba wasn’t really “Kizomba”. Imagine to call your own parties like that, fun right? Many other dance styles from other continents were also enjoyed, since the rest of Africa received the influence of many other cultures; as a result of african rhythms and european styles. As Angola did with Portugal. During the years, it has spread ALL AROUND THE WORLD; to countries like: England, France, Spain, Poland, Denmark, Belgium, Sweden, Belarus, Lithuania, Egypt, Switzerland, Serbia, Canada and the United States of America. And now, we hear it in South America, through all these famous artists like: Prince Royce, Romeo Santos and Juan Luis Guerra.

Not always was Kizomba defined, as we know it today. See, through the years, it has been confused with other genres like Cape Verdaen; which turned out to be the first similar rhythm before kizomba was, what it is today. Many immigrants confused Cape Verdaen rhythm with Kizomba vibes, back in the 80’s. This genre comes from Cape Verde, in Africa; where the official language is portuguese as well, and their movements are very similar.

Another interesting fact that I learned about the origin of Kizomba, was its first popular name, “Zouk”. It is good to know that this term represents the origin of Cape Verdaen and Kizomba, because people used to call every type of music by this name. Now with the other name, Kizomba, people can tell them apart. In the history of Kizomba, we will find the popular Brazilian Zouk dance, evolved from a dance called Lambada.

In this following video you could see how to dance Zouk and Lambada


How to Do Zouk Dance Basic Steps | Latin Dance

I know what you are thinking; How many dance types come from the same one? That in fact is the magic of Kizomba; it involves so many rhythms and cultures and that’s why it as special and popular, as it is today.

Lambada, was a dance that took over most night clubs in Brazil; especially, in Rio de Janeiro. In the mid 90’s, Brazilians discovered Zouk from the French Caribbean; which had many similarities with Lambada, because of its Caribbean rhythm influence.

Soon, Lambada started to adapt to Zouk. However; Zouk’s rhythm was slower than the Lambada, so it was necessary to make alterations to the dance, including to its basic steps. In other states, such as, Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais, the transformation from Lambada to Brazilian Zouk originated in different ways; creating different styles of Brazilian Zouk.

All Zouk professionals then decided to call Lambada style, Brazilian Zouk (Zouk Brasileiro); with the objective to protect their culture and also with the objective, not to interfere with different culture’s interpretations of Zouk.

GHETTO ZOUK DANCE & KIZOMBA PRAGUE Ghetto Zouk dance is one type of Zouk, that a couple dances to, very closely with higher dynamics, fun, flow and precision, that follows the ghetto zouk beat. It combines the basic Kizomba steps and techniques, with faster rhythm in footwork, requiring firm posture and higher level of power, pressure and movement control from both partners.

In the Ghetto Zouk Dance, both partners share the same amount of pressure, tension and impulse which make, especially the ladies, be more involved in the dance. It also improves the communication between partners and helps them to maintain the flow. Ghetto Zouk Dance, uses syncopated rhythm more often to better reflect the beat. In practice, it is demonstrated by faster footwork than the one of Kizomba and higher overall dynamics of the dance. Unlike very soft movements of Kizomba, Ghetto Zouk Dance applies more energy and extension, while still emphasizing the precision of the movement.

In this video you will see how to dance Guetto Zouk step by step


Ghetto Zouk dance demo by Vitor Mendes & Ivona at Batuke! festival 2016 (NEW DANCE CONCEPT)

Kizomba is known as African TangoKnowing its steps, in some places of the world, Kizomba is known as African Tango. The body position is very similar to the Argentine Tango, with the upper body leaning forward with head touching at times. The lower body, particularly the hips, is very fluid using forward, backward and circular movements, in connection with the partner. Like salsa, dancers can break apart and perform ‘solo’ movements.

Everything we learned today about this music genre and its origin leaves us the knowledge that cultures were made to mix up, to blend with others and to spread their believes. Music is that one thing supposed to teach us, how to enjoy life and make dancing as special as it is. The different styles and movements make us feel part of their culture and origin. Involving all tastes and rhythms.

Known by its slow, insistent, somewhat harsh, yet sensuous rhythm, as the result of electronic percussion, some of the most popular Kizomba and Zouk artists of all times are:

Kaysha, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (1974 – present)

Kaysha, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (1974 – present)Kaysha is a French-based musician originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo. His music is a blend of styles such as kizomba, rhumba, zouglou, zouk, zouk love, calypso, R&B, and hip hop.

Kaysha is also a successful music producer, having produced songs for some of the best-known artists on the Afro-Caribbean scene, including Passi, Solaar, Jacob Desvarieux, Soumia, Lynnsha, Elizio, and Ludo.

Elizio, aka Mister ODC (Original Di Cabo Verde)

Elizio, aka Mister ODC (Original Di Cabo Verde)He is a singer-songwriter, born in Angola in 1979; of Cape Verdean origin. Revealed with the title 10 fois, 100 fois featuring Perle Lama in 2003, Elizio quickly meets his first big solo success with Melodia which leads him to the top of the zouk scene. The artist then connects the tubes and expands his musical universe with more than 70 titles, ranging from general dancefloor with sounds like Bad Man on Kizomba with Angel or Make love on tempo in particular, through the kuduro as Sabi Di Mas.

Anselmo Ralph Andrade Lamb (born 1981 in Luanda, Angola)

Anselmo Ralph Andrade Lamb (born 1981 in Luanda, Angola)He better known as Anselmo Ralph; is a singer of R&B, Soul and Kizomba. In January 2006 he released his first album titled “Love Stories”. That year he was nominated by the Channel O Music Video Awards in the “Best R&B” and “Best Director” categories, and by the MTV Europe Music Awards 2006 in the “Best African Artist” category.

In 2012, Coca-Cola announced a promotional campaign featuring Ralph, their first with an Angolan artist. As of January 2013, Ralph was touring the Benguela region of Angola to promote his album “Best of Anselmo Ralph”, which premiered the month before in the #5 position on the Portugal Albums Top 30 chart.

Nelson Freitas

Nelson FreitasHe was born and raised in the Netherlands, with creativity and talent he constantly tries to refresh the world of Zouk music. In 1997 the compilation CD of “MOBASS Presents” was released featuring the track, “Hoje em Dia” (Now a Days), which officially launched Quatro Plus (formerly known as Quatro) in the market. As one of the lead singers of the group, Quatro Plus went on to release three successful albums “4-Voz” (Four Voices) in 1998, “Bem Conche” (Get to Know Us) in 2002 and “Ultima Viagem” (Last Voyage) in 2005.

In almost a decade, Freitas has earned what’s rightfully his as he is of the most admired and respected producers, singers and writers in the Cape Verdean as well as the zouk music industry. With a blend of Cape Verdean Kriol and English lyrics, a twist of R&B and hip-hop incorporated with zouk and traditional Cape Verdean music.With all these ingredients Nelson made his solo album called “ Magic “ In October 2006.The album sold over 25.000 copies worldwide.

Don Kikas, born Emílio Camilo de Carvalho

Don Kikas, born Emílio Camilo de CarvalhoHe is an Angolan singer from the city of Sumbe in the southern Angolan province of Cuanza Sul. In 1997, Don Kikas released his second album, Pura Sedução which was silver in Portugal. That same year, the album’s Esperança Moribunda song received the “Music of the Year” award granted by the Rádio Nacional de Angola (national radio station). By this time, invitations were extended for Kikas to perform at international level. His third album, Xeque Mate, released in December 1999, produced a totally-renewed Don Kikas as it included songs recorded in three different countries and featured foreign musicians as well.

Soumia is of Moroccan origin and was born on August 27, 1977 in Saint Mandé in Paris.

Soumia is of Moroccan origin and was born on August 27, 1977 in Saint Mandé in ParisShe made her appearance onto the music scene first in 1998 singing a duet with Talina on the RUBIZOUK compilation album. Since then, she has been featured in numerous compilations including ZOUK R&B VOLUMEs I, II & III; TROPICAL HIT MACHINE and SECTION ZOUK. She released her first album STILL IN LOVE in 2002 and her hits include Mes Sentiments; Trahison; and Avec des si ou Rendez moi.