History of Kizomba Dance
History of Kizomba Dance History of Kizomba Dance

Kizomba is one of the most popular genres of dance and music originating in Angola.

It mixes influences of traditional Semba with zouk and compas music from the French Caribbean.

On this basis, Kizomba music emerged as a more modern music genre with a sensual touch mixed with African rhythm.

Unlike Semba, Kizomba music is characterised by a slower and usually very romantic rhythm, sung generally in Portuguese.

In Europe the word "kizomba" is used for any type of music derived from zouk, even if not of Angolan origin.

It was the Kimbundu name for a dance in Angola as early as 1894.

The Kizomba dancing style is also known to be very sensual and flows with a music of a romantic flow.

Origin and Evolution
Kizomba music was born in Angola (in Luanda) in the 80's following the influences of traditional semba music (the predecessor of Samba from Brazil) with zouk and compas music from Kassav from the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe. On this basis, kizomba music emerged as a more modern music genre with a sensual touch mixed with African rhythm. Unlike Semba, Kizomba music is characterized by a slower and usually very romantic rhythm. Given that Angola is a former Portuguese colony, Portuguese is the principal language spoken in Angola and thus, also most Kizomba songs are sung in Portuguese. However, kizomba songs initially were sung in Kimbundu and in other National languages of Angola.

The dance style kizomba was connected to the music style of 1981, through "Bibi king of the pace" percussionist of the SOS Band, a group that merged other styles such as meringue and Angolan rhythms to styles developed by contemporary groups; developing a sound more attractive and danceable, that then began circulating in the Angolan "Kizombadas" (party's). One member of this group was Eduardo Paim that after the dissolution of SOS, moved to Portugal taking with him the timing of the kizomba rhythm, which began garnering fans in Lusitanian lands but was mistakenly confused with a variant of Zouk.

Eduardo Pain
--I am the precursor of kizomba. It was a process that began in the early 80's with groups called Afro Sound Star, and soon after, SOS. I was inspired by Afro Sound Star, which had already adopted kilapanda as a reference style, and in the mix appeared things that excited me. I gathered a lot of references that I could grab from semba and our meringue, and these references eventually gave me conditions to unwittingly develop a sound which, face it, people fell in love with. When I arrived in Portugal (with my music), I was highly criticized and they even called it zouk. But it is not zouk. It is kizomba.

Confusions between zouk and kizomba arose after many Cape Verdean emigrants arrived in France in the late 80's, having had contact with zouk and having mixed it with a traditional Cape Verde style the coladera, creating the cola-zouk; a derivative of zouk, 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.

Currently, in Lusophone (Portuguese speaking) countries and communities around the world, due to it being difficult to distinguish between zouk, cola-zouk and Kizomba, all these styles have been called kizombas, however in a rough and generic way, one can say that Zouk is sung in French and French Creole, cola-zouk in Cape Verdean Creole and kizomba in Portuguese or kimbundu.

However, although kizomba was not originally a fusion of semba and zouk, a version of kizomba arose which was influenced by zouk, and is wrongly being popularised as kizomba; the name given to this version being "kizouk" or "kizombalove". This zouk influenced kizomba is becoming very popular throughout the world.

Kizomba is also performed in other lusophone African countries, in Europe and in the USA. 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.

Cultural Influences
The influence of Angolan 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 Sao Tomean kizomba music is very similar to the Angolan, Juka being the most notable among the Saotomeans, 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, Calo Pascoal, Irmaos Verdades and 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 Dance
Kizomba is mentioned in 1894 in the Bulletin of the American Geographical Society of New York which said "the genuine Kimbundu name is Kizomba, that is, dance."  In Angola in the 1950s the expression Kizombadas referred to a party. There was no association of the word to a dance or musical genre. However, the dance known as "Semba", "Rebita", "Kabetula", "Maringa", already existed in the 50's and 60's. Other dances coming from Europe like Tango were practiced by the Portuguese colonials. The style of Kizomba now emphasizes a very smooth way of dancing with influences of Tango steps, but one of the main differences is that the lower body, the hips, do forward/backwards and circle movements. People dance on the tempo, as well as on the off beat and only occasionally use syncopation steps.

Countries where kizomba is most popular include Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, Portugal, Mozambique, Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tome 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, such as Belgium and surrounding nations, where an independent Kizombalove academy has been created by Jose N'dongala.

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

Kizomba in Belgium
Kizomba has been present in Belgium since 2006.

Kizomba in the UK
Kizomba has been present in the UK for about 20 years with Afro-Portuguese parties organized as early as 1991 in various venues around London. It only started crossing over to the public from 2005 when showcased in various Salsa clubs around the UK.

Kizomba in the US
Kizomba has been present in the US for several years, but has seen a pronounced uptick in popularity starting in 2012. Interest in kizomba is most prominent in larger urban areas. Hotspots include San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Los Angeles, DC, various cities in Texas and Florida, Chicago, and Atlanta.

Kizomba Congresses Around Europe

SensualDance Takes place in Madrid in December since 2009.
Afrolatin Dance Congress Takes place in Pamplona in March since 2011.
Criola Production Criola Beach Festival. Takes place in Barcelona in June since 2011.
Feeling Kizomba Festival Takes place in Madrid in May since 2012.
BK Congress Takes place in Benidorm in July since 2013.
Kizomba Open Takes place in Madrid in November since 2011.

Warsaw Kizomba Festival Takes place in Warsaw in April 2014 since 2010.

Kizomba Swimming Festival Takes place in Paris in July since 2010.

AfricaDançar Takes place in Lisbon in April since 2008.
Like Festival Takes place in Lisbon in September since 2010.
AfroFever Festival Takes place in Lisbon in February since 2012.

[Budapest Kizomba Connection] Takes place in Budapest in August since 2011.

United Kingdom
Batuke Takes place in London since 2010.

KIFE Takes place in Triest in September since 2012

Kizombalove Summer Festival and Kizombalove Summer in the city Takes place in Belgium in July since 2009.

Kizomba Abu: Takes place in Dublin.

Kizomba Congresses Around the United States
International SF got kizomba! Festivals Takes place in San Francisco in March & September since Sept 2012. These festivals were the first 100% Kizomba/Semba festivals in North America.
DC Kizomba Congress Takes place in Washington DC in conjunction with the DC Bachata Congress in August since 2013.

Adebayo Oyebade. Culture and customs of Angola. p. 156.
"Kizomba". Salsa Dancers. Retrieved 2013-02-24.
"Eduardo Paim "Sou o precursor da Kizomba"" (in Portuguese). O País. Retrieved 2012-06-22.
"Artistas nacionais à conquista do mundo" (in Portuguese). O País Online. Retrieved 2013-02-24.
"What is Kizouk?". HISC. Retrieved 2013-02-24.
American Bulletin of the Geographical Society of New York 26

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on. -Robert Frost

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