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Following up on Rachel’s post on ExaltaSamba, I thought I’d talk a little bit about what pagode (pronounce pah-gaw-gee) actually IS.
There are a lot of different interpretations of the word pagode, and you will often hear a lot of Brazilians downplaying this sub-genre of samba. I myself, will oftentimes hear, “Eu gosto de samba, só não gosto de pagode.” These people are usually referring to mainstream pagode groups that are also known as pagode romântico, and neopagode, popularized in the 1990’s. These bands follow a series of clichés in pagode, from having numerous components, wearing certain types of clothing, and overall creating a “standard,” for the style of music. One of these bands is Revelação –
What is a good definition or description of pagode, though? It’s a sub-genre of samba, originated in Rio de Janeiro in the 1980’s, and it incorporates 3 additional instruments – the banjo, tan-tan, and the repique de mão.
The banjo is a little bigger and has more sound than the cavaquinho, allowing for it to stand out more in samba rodas amongst the percussion instruments. The tan-tan is a small hand drum that imitates the sounds of the larger surdos, used in samba baterias, or percussion ensembles. The repique de mão, is another percussion instrument, which imitates the sounds of drums. All of these were introduced by one of the components of the traditional pagode band, Grupo Fundo de Quintal.
(notice any differences from the first video?)
Lyrics-wise, pagode is also different in that the singers use a lot of slang, reflecting how people actually speak on a day-to-day basis. Culturally, this popularized pagode in that it reached all different social classes, making it especially popular in the lower socio-economic classes and outskirts of bigger cities.
I’ll leave you with one pagode singer that epitomizes this last part of our “definition” of pagode, Zeca Pagodinho.
E aí, vamos para o pagode?