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Documentaries // Art, Culture & Music

THE BEAT OF THE GAMBA: AFRICA IN THE HEART OF BRAZILIAN AMAZONIA


52'
2013


VERSION(S)
French and International

SUPPORT(S)
HD

PRODUCER(S)
Jour J. Productions

DIRECTOR
José Huerta

Gamba is a fusion of African music brought to Amazonia by the slaves with Indian songs and missionary hymns. In the 19th century, slaves fleeing the plantations and the hardships of captivity took refuge in the forest. They lived there with the Indians, who taught them to survive in the hostile environment of the big forest. From their meeting sprang this astonishing Afro-Indigenous music, based on drums, song and dances.
Barro, a descendant of slaves, started his Gamba group, Pingo de Luz, in order to keep this musical tradition alive. The group is composed of 5 musicians, all now very elderly, who are also “masters” and "griots" of Gamba.
Every year, the group makes a pilgrimage along the river into the heart of Amazonia, to meet up with villagers living in isolated communities.
The tour provides a living demonstration of Brazilian syncretism, in which indigenous, African and European cultures combine.
The journey also allows us to discover the little known story of the Quilombos, the villages of former slaves that still exist today.
In 2010, the Brazilian government showed its commitment to protecting this little known aspect of Brazilian culture by adding Gamba to its Intangible Heritage list.


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