Here in this article we will assume that the “urban” samba begun in the 1930’s in Rio de Janeiro, and that the origin of urban samba came from the samba-de-roda that is linked to capoeira and the slaves that came from Africa during the 19th century. Basically is a mix of African and European culture and it was born in the Recôncavo Baiano. The roda is related with the “roda de capoeira” a circle formed by capoeiristas and where every participant sings the typical songs and claps their hands following the music, and supported by original instruments like the berimbal and atabaque.
From then on, the samba became part of the Brazilian identity but in the 30’s a lot of things changed when great musicians starts to demonstrate their talents, among them, Noel Rosa, a Brazilian songwriter, singer and guitar/mandolin player. One of the greatest names in Brazilian Popular music, Noel gave a new twist to samba, combining its Afro-Brazilian roots with a more urban, witty language and making it a vehicle for ironic social commentary.
Besides the already mix between African and European cultures, the samba received some new ingredients such as the polka, the maxixe, the lundu and the xote, creating a new identity, especially in Rio de Janeiro. But officially, the first recorded samba is called “Pelo Telefone” (Through the Telephone), dated by 1917. As the years passed great samba artists came up, people liked it, carnival took place, and variations of samba came along like samba enredo, samba canção, partido alto, and so on.
Some of the most important samba references of all time in Brazil are singers and composers such Pixinguinha, Cartola, Nelson Cavaquinho and Noel Rosa, and most recently, Paulinho da Viola, Martinho da Vila, Beth Carvalho, and many others. However, during the late 80’s a different type of rhythm based on samba was emerging, and people started calling it pagode. One of the most important references of pagode is the carioca singer Zeca Pagodinho. Basically, the pagode make the fusion of samba beat with slightly different instruments, and new upcoming bands dressed tacky and sang mostly love songs or the day by day Brazilian life for the humble people in Brazil.