Baroque Zamba

2011 April 11
by Simba

Going to Argentina for the tango, you end up falling in love with other things Argentine as well. One of these things is the Zamba, not to be confused with its Brazilian homonym homophone.

Imagine the surprised look on Simba’s face listening to a radio show reviewing some new ‘classical’ releases. Suddenly they play an  Argentine Zamba, or at least something very similar. The cd in question was the new release from the Clematis Ensemble with music by composer Mateo Romero. It was actually announced as an Argentine Zamba, which I found hard to believe as I thought that was a much later music form, but that was what they said. Anyway, it was beautiful music, all of it, and fortunately already available at Spotify.

I wondered if the Zamba actually came from the Native Americans, but a little wikipedia research and getting my hands on the leaflet cleared the apparent contradiction. As I originally thought the Zamba is much more recent, but the recording was based on what is supposedly the earliest transcribed piece with the rhythm that is used in Zamba. They probably play it a lot more like the contemporary Zamba tradition, though. Nevertheless, beautiful music, great musicality and highly recommended. If you like early baroque music, that is.

2 Responses leave one →
  1. 2011 April 13

    Great album, but not sure which track, (or all of them?) are (Argentine) zamba? Curious that this was announced as Argentine zamba: wasn’t it composed before Argentina existed? I share your confusion.

    You might be interested in which I filmed two years ago. Los Ocampo introduced this as Argentine zamba, and the music has baroque in it for sure. Not so sure about the dance… But Los Ocampo are specialists in folklore, so I guess they must know about zamba.

  2. 2011 April 13

    Sorry I left out that essential part of information. The track in question is track 7 (which I think is mislabeled on Spotify/Amazon etc). Compare with e.g. Zamba por vos with Mercedes Sosa.

    Like the tango (or any other music style), the zamba was obviously not created from nothing, and I find it to be a plausible explanation that this is an expression of at least part of the European inspiration for what later became the zamba.

    Unfortunately I didn’t copy the relevant part of the leaflet verbatim, but as I understood it this was essentially local musical traditions taken into the ‘art music’ by Romero.

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