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Semba is a traditional type of music and dance from Angola. Semba comes from the singular Massemba, meaning "a touch of the bellies"[clarification needed] - one of the most recognizable and entertaining movements in semba. It is possible that brasilian samba comes from the same root, from Angolan people being moved to Brazil by the Portuguese.
Semba is very much alive and popular in Angola today as it was long before that country's independence from Portugal in November 11, 1975. Various new Semba artists emerge each year in Angola, as they render homage to the veteran Semba masters, many of whom are still performing. Other styles related to Semba are Kizomba, Rebita, as well as Kazukuta and Kabetula which are primarily Carnaval Music.
The subject matter of Semba is often a cautionary tale or story regarding day-to-day life and social events and activities, usually sung in a witty rhetoric. Through Semba music an artist is able to convey a broad spectrum of emotions. It is this characteristic that has made Semba the premiere style of music for a wide variety of Angolan social gatherings. Its versatility is evident in its inevitable presence at funerals and, on the other hand, many Angolan parties.
Semba in modern music
Barceló de Carvalho, the Angolan singer popularly known as Bonga, is arguably the most successful Angolan artist to popularize Semba music internationally; it generally being categorised as world music.
- Kariamu Welsh-Asante (1996). African Dance: An Artistic, Historical, and Philosophical Inquiry. Africa World Press. ISBN 978-0-86543-197-3.