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Pimba is a Portuguese term for a variety of popular Portuguese pop and folk solo singers and bands, possibly inspired by Schlager, who focus on simplistic catchy songs with rough lyrics frequently driven by metaphors with sexual meanings, or focused on basic and clichéd romantic stories.
Pimba musicians are influenced by the rural areas of the country and the emigration phenomena which permeated Portuguese society throughout the 20th century. Although it contains some elements of Portuguese folk music, pimba is essentially basic functional pop with simplistic harmonies and melodies, minimal lyrics and heavy use accordion and synthesizers. Pimba performers surfaced during the 1980s as a cheaper alternative to serious folk musicians and traditional bands and orchestras - most acts are duos or trios (singer, accordionist and/or keyboards), or simply a singer with backing tracks.
Pimba is popular among Portuguese immigrants and rural areas of the country - however, because of its lack of artistic and technical depth, it is generally considered an inferior genre of music by the Portuguese population.
Pimba singers often use the same themes as folklore and target the same audience, though some (such as Marco Paulo or Tony Carreira) shun the title and call themselves "poetic" or "romantic singers" in an attempt to claim serious artistic recognition. A parallel between Portuguese pimba and American country music audiences is sometimes drawn.
Until the 1980s, the word "pimba" was merely a non-offensive slang word used to express accomplishment of an action or an unexpected event (roughly equivalent to the English expression "wham!"). In 1993, pop rock band Ex-Votos released hit single "Subtilezas porno-populares" a.k.a. "...E pimba", a song about the sexual fantasies of a degenerate man - its success inspired popular singer Emanuel to quickly jump in the bandwagon and create a hit song with the same expression ("pimba") being repeatedly used as a pun for a sexual act. Another very popular pimba performer is Quim Barreiros, who started his career in the 1970s and makes extensive use of similar wordplay and references to genitalia - one of his hit singles is "Queres Ketchup, Maria?" ("Do You Want Ketchup, Maria?"), whose title sounds similar to an expression that roughly translates as "do you want me to suck you, Maria?".
Since the 1990s, the word "pimba" has been informally used as an adjective to identify this kind of music.
- Marques, Francisco, "A música Pimba - Um fenómeno musical", ed. Sete Caminhos (ISBN 989602087-6).