The word Lambada refers to both the rhythm of the music (a fusion of Carimbó and merengue), and to the dance itself, which incorporates elements of other Latin dances like the Forró, the Samba, and the Maxixe. The dance is different from its modern form today!
The rhythm originated in the Amazon, was later adopted by Bahians, who then proceeded to create the steps…and the rest is history…
Although modern Lambada is a real mix of influences – it has the Carimbó as its main foundation.
The Carimbó was a common dance in northern Brazil. It’s a very loose, and very sensual dance in which the woman tries to cover the man with loads of spins and rounded skirts.
Over time the dance, and its music, was influenced by music from the Caribbean and it began to evolve. New rhythms were introduced, and this inevitably altered the way in which the Carimbó was danced.
After a while, a local radio station called this new music ‘the rhythms of Lambada’ – Lambada being another word in the local language for a ‘strong hit’.
This had strong appeal, and the word ‘Lambada’ soon began to be associated with this new modern face of the old dancing style.
Lambada soon began to spread south, and was eventually noticed by some French music producers. They were really taken by this new, unfamiliar sound, took it home and produced Kaoma’s 1989 number 1 hit ‘Lambada’.
At this stage the Lambada was still danced in its original form, which saw the couple dancing apart, with side-to-side steps.
But, as it grew in popularity, and the dance started appearing in films and videos, the hold and steps changed. A lack of skilled dancers, and increased influences from other more established Latin dances, meant that it was soon being danced in its now recognisable form – in hold, with steps forward and back.