Brazil

LUNDU DANCE – BRAZIL

Possessing elements belonging to the “Afro-Brazilian” performing arts culture is a South American dance form known as Lundu. This “traditional” dance is said to have originated IN Brazil. Apparently, this dance is said to have been developed within the Bantu community of Africa and in Portuguese culture. Furthermore, this dance was supposed to have been introduced into Brazilian society due to the slave trade carried out by the Portuguese during the 15th century. In addition, this dance form is said to be extremely flirtatious in nature.

a. History/origin of the Lundu:

According to the cultural history of Brazil, this dance style was actually introduced into the culture during the 15th century because of the lucrative” Atlantic slave trade” conducted by the colonial masters Portuguese. Furthermore, it was during this period that the Portuguese were heavily into exporting African slaves into Brazil (which was a Portuguese colony at that time). It was then this influx of a large number of African slaves that also led to music and dance being influenced by elements belonging to the continent of Africa.  In addition, during the 17th and 18th century there were major cultural exchanges that occurred between Angola (which possessed a large number of Brazilians) and Brazil. It was thus these cultural exchanges that also played a major role in the development of this dance called “Lundu”.

b. Lundu dance style

The structure of Lundus varies, tonic and dominant harmony interact, and strummed chords are layered over a syncopated rhythm resembling traditional West African music. Traditional Lundus recordings are scarcely found. Lundu is related to the Spanish fandango and other new-world dances like the Argentine Zamba, the Peruvian Zamacueca, and the Cuban Bolero – they all involve, to some extent, holding one’s arms above one’s head. Lundu is typically a flirtatious ritual of a couple dance, accompanied by a guitar, or occasionally a thumb piano or drums. The Choro, the Maxixe, and the Samba were all products of the Lundu in the 19th century.

C. Costumes used in the Lundu:

The costumes worn in this dance style varies according to the gender as follows:

1. For males:

The costumes worn include a shirtless upper body and a trouser only since this dance style is “sexual” in nature.

2. For females:

The costumes worn (similar to the male) is extremely basic and sexual in style and include a long skirt and a small top that reveals the naval area of the performer.

d. Music involved in the Lundu:

The Lundu’s sound has been produced using a wide variety of instruments. The guitar is the most frequently used instrument for this dance. It performs a melodic line on its own as a solo instrument. Instruments like the lamellophone, castanets, and pandeiro frequently provide rhythmic support for the guitar. A type of musical instrument with plucked plates is the lamellophone. This includes many of the thumb pianos, which originated in various parts of Africa.

Castanets, an imported Portuguese instrument that makes clicking and snapping noises to emphasize on or off beats, are another accompaniment tool.

Another instrument, pandeiro, which resembles a tambourine in appearance. The pandeiro, on the other hand, has a very different timbre and is used to create rhythmic patterns.

Mandolin, viola, rabeca, and cavaquinho are additional but less frequently used instruments in the Lundu. The mandolin is a stringed instrument with a sharp timbre that belongs to the lute family.

The viola is a stringed instrument that is similar to the violin in appearance but has a darker tone. The violin is occasionally used in Lundu, but it is called the rabeca and is played like a fiddle.

The cavaquinho, a ukulele that sounds higher than a small guitar but has a similar appearance, is another string instrument that is used.

Whatever the instrumentation, the Lundu’s instruments give the music a very distinct sound.

d. Music style and structure of Lundu dance

The Lundu music is distinctive and used in dance because of its particular style, texture, rhythm, and form. Simple harmonies, wide melodic leaps, and syncopated rhythms define the Lundu (Manuel 64). A melody  present in some Lundu performances, in which case the music is categorized as monophonic. These situations happen when the musician is performing solo. Music is referred to as heterophonic when it is accompanied by percussion or instruments that play harmony, as in the video, or when two or more voices elaborate the same melody in different ways. 

The harmony that supports the melody is straightforward, making the music very simple but still stylistic. Large melodic leaps are another technique used to give the Lundu music a distinctive style that can be used to make catchy and repetitive phrases. These leaps may be as small as octaves or as large as perfect fifth intervals. The video also contains melodic leaps. The Lundu is most famous for its syncopated rhythms. A beat or other location in the music that is normally not stressed is said to be syncopated.

e. Training availability and technique involved in the Lundu:

In terms of technique, this dance involves the use of extremely “seductive” body movements. Furthermore, the female performer utilizes extremely sensual movements of the body such as the swaying of the hips while at the same time the male performer moves around seductively. Finally, the bodies of both the male and the female come in close contact with each other while dancing to the rhythm of the accompanying music. As for training centers/school, there are none available around the world since this “traditional” dance is mainly performed in Brazil.

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