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Kizomba is one of the most popular genres of dance originating in Angola. Unlike semba, kizomba music is characterized by a slower and usually very romantic rhythm.

Origin and evolution[edit]

Kizomba – music genre[edit]

Kizomba music was born in late-1970s Africa. On this basis, kizomba music emerged as a more modern music genre with a sensual touch mixed with African rhythm and Haitian Kompa. Unlike Semba, Kizomba music is characterised by a slower and usually very romantic rhythm. Most kizomba songs are sung in Portuguese.

Today, Cape Verdean singers and producers have gained a wide popularity with many famous kizomba compilations, including singers such as Suzanna Lubrano, Kaysha, Atim, Nilton Ramalho,Johnny Ramos, Nelson Freitas, Mika Mendes, Cedric Cavaco, Elji, Looney Johnson, Klazzik, Mark G, To Semedo, Klaudio Ramos, M&N Pro, Gilson, and one of the greats in the Cape Verdean culture Gil. Original influential music styles from Cape Verde are funana, morna, coladeira and batuque. Thanks to the French Antilles Kompa music and the strong influence of semba (from Angola), Cape Verdean singers have developed significantly Kizomba and zouk (mixing it with coladeira) known as cabo love or cola-dance. Moreover, every lusophone country has developed its own Kizomba music flavour.[1]

Kizomba – dance genre[edit]

Basic steps of Kizomba

Kizomba is an evolution of the traditional dances of Angola semba. However, it is evident that kizomba dance as we know it today evolved after the vogue of kizomba music. Since the 1950s, Angolan people used to dance semba. In the 1990s, when the actual kizomba music got more and more popular, Angolan semba dancers started to adapt their semba steps according to the tempo and flavour of the Kizomba beats. [1]


After many Cape Verdean emigrants arrived in France where they were exposed to Compas music in the 80s, they mixed it with a traditional Cape Verde style, the coladera, creating the cola-zouk, which is very similar to kizomba and typically sung in Cape Verdean Creole. It is this rhythm that was confused with kizomba, and was heard in Portugal when Eduardo Paim arrived there and released his first record with kizomba music.[1]

Some of the Festivals in which Kizomba plays a big part include Afrofever, Africadancar, Budapest Kizomba Connection, Batuke!, Estonia Tallinn Salsa Congress, Austria Vienna Sexy & Sensual Latin Festival, France, Germany, Bournemouth, Afro Cuban Salsa Festival Norfolk and Renaissance London.

Cultural influences[edit]

The influence of kizomba is felt in most Portuguese-speaking African countries, but also Portugal (especially in Lisbon and surrounding suburbs such as Amadora or Almada), where communities of immigrants have established clubs centered on the genre in a renewed kizomba style. Kizomba is now also quite popular among white people that come to these clubs in growing numbers. The São Tomean kizomba music is very similar to the Angolan, Juka being the most notable among the Sãotomeans, and also one of the most notable performers in the genre.

In Angola most clubs are based in Luanda. Famous Angolan kizomba musicians include Neide Van-Dúnem, Don Kikas, C4 Pedro, Calo Pascoal, Irmãos Verdades, Anselmo Ralph, among many others, but Bonga is probably the best known Angolan artist, having helped popularize the style both in Angola and Portugal during the 1970s and 1980s.


Kizomba is also performed in other lusophone African countries, in Europe, in the United States and, is becoming increasingly popular as far as Australia and Asia. It is known for having a slow, insistent, somewhat harsh, yet sensuous rhythm; the result of electronic percussion. It is danced accompanied by a partner, very smoothly, slowly and sensuously, and with neither tightness nor rigidity. There are frequent simultaneous hip rotations coordinated between dance partners, particularly in the quieter refrains of the music. Countries where kizomba is most popular include Cape Verde, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Portugal, Mozambique, Equatorial Guinea, São Tomé and Príncipe, East Timor, Brazil and the territory of Macau. Several individuals with a love of the Kizomba culture have been promoting it in other countries.

Famous Angolan kizomba singers include Bonga, André Mingas, Liceu Vieira Dias, Neide Van-Dúnem, Don Kikas, Calo Pascoal, Heavy C., Puto Portugues, Maya Cool, Matias Damasio, Rei Helder, Pérola, Anselmo Ralph and Irmãos Verdades.


In Brazil, kizomba became famous when the pop artist Kelly Key released the album No Controle, in February 3, 2015. Key left the dance-pop/R&B songs to introduce the kizomba in Brazil.[2] In an interview Key said she sought originality and new styles: "I'm running this responsibility of being predictable. I wanted to record Kizomba for 13 years! Now I feel mature and have knowledge of movement".[3]


Kizomba has been known in Estonia since around 2010 but it quickly gained popularity in 2011 when local dance schools and teachers started to offer regular courses for the interested. Since then, kizomba is easily one of the most popular styles among local afro and Latin dancers, alongside crossbody salsa and sensual bachata, which were dominant before. Kizomba's popularity in Estonia has been fast-growing and, so far, with a strong and lasting impact. It can be credited to Nemanja Sonero, DJ and international dance instructor living in Tallinn, who has taught kizomba there since 2011.[4]


Kizomba has been performed in New York since mid 2009 as a social dance but it was mostly kind of closed community in between the PALOP's community. In 2010 a dance teacher from Seattle bought Nelson Campos Instructional Kizomba DVD Levels I & II, learned from it and then started to teach classes at his China Harbor venue in Seattle. Since then Kizomba quickly spread to the other dance communities and cities Like New York, Miami, L.A. and so on...


Introduction to Kizomba with Christian Jean-Francois Act 1 Biginners Introduction to Kizomba with Christian Jean-Francois Act 2 Intermediate

External links[edit]