What Is Kizomba?

Kizomba is both a musical genre and a dance style. It is an Angolan word for “party” and in the 1950s “kizombada” was an Angolan expression for a big party, but there is not a direct correlation between kizombada and Kizomba dancing or music as we know it today.

Kizomba as a musical genre originated in Angola, West Africa, and the other African countries that were former Portuguese colonies, including Cabo Verde, Guinea Bissau, and Mozambique. It’s a relatively new musical genre that started in the late 1970s and 1980s and evolved out of a combination of African rhythms, traditional Angolan Semba music, fused with Zouk (also a popular musical genre in French speaking countries in Africa, and originally from the French Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique).

Traditionally Kizomba songs are sung in Portuguese or Creole French, but many popular Kizomba artists today now also sing in English, reflecting the broadening appeal of Kizomba music and the influence of contemporary pop music, R&B, and hip hop on the genre. Contemporary Kizomba music of recent years has also become very much an electronic style of music with modern electronic instrumentation, percussion and digital programming.

Like many dances, such as Salsa with its roots in Afro-Cuban culture, Kizomba as a dance existed in one form or another for a long time before it came to be called “Kizomba” and many of the steps and movements that define Kizomba evolved out of other African dances.

As people migrate to other parts of the world, they bring their music, dance, and culture with them, and it wasn’t long before Kizomba spread to Portugal and Brazil (also a Portuguese speaking country) and exploded onto the international scene. Today Kizomba is very rapidly becoming a worldwide dance phenomenon capturing the interest and passion of dancers everywhere due to the close connection and leading and following experience that makes this dance so unique.

While Kizomba is popular in many European and North American cities it is still relatively new in Florida, but it is growing in popularity here as more people fall in love with the music and the dance.

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