The word "kizomba" originates from kimbundu, an Angolan local language, which essentially means celebrating, partying, and getting together with friends. This social environment exists prominently in several African countries that were former colonies of Portugal (PALOP), and is a significant component of their cultural upbringing.
Kizomba music is a fusion of authentic zouk from French Antilles and local African folk rhythms. Caribbean zouk was introduced in the early 80s, by a group called Kassav who toured around Africa. This zouk influenced the local musical genres such as semba in Angola or coladeira in Cape Verde. As a result kizomba can be found in many PALOP countries but with subtle differences across regions based on their dance/music culture and progression.
As this African based dance became more popular, kizomba started to appear in other countries around Africa and eventually making its way around the world. Below are the most recognized forms of kizomba music and dance.
Kizomba in Angola
Kizomba music in Angola was derived from semba music, which was very instrumental. In keeping with its parent form, instrumental aspects of the melody became more sensual by the addition of dynamic adjustments. Many would agree that Eduardo Paim was the creator of the first kizomba song, and others who started popularizing kizomba music were Bonga Kwenda, Calo Pascoal, and Don Kikas to name a few.
Similar to the music, this dance style also originated from semba. As this style evolved, the steps of semba became smoother and the distant between dance partners became closer. Surprise moves or "tricks", which were commonly seen in semba, started to disappear. Additionally, the focus was more on the harmony between the partners, expressing the sensual music, and creating a new form of enjoyment. The connection between the partners is essential and is the foundation of the dance.
Kizomba is the combination of two different techniques: step and leading/following. The step technique is based on African tribal movements, where as leading/following and the patterns have light influences from Argentine tango. Kizomba may appear similar to Argentine tango, but it is unique in its playful yet relaxed nature of the dance mainly because of the African spirit.
Key artists who represent this style are Petchú & Vanessa, Ricardo & Paula, Paulo & Lanna, Jacinto Teca, Jamba Mulimbwe, Miguel & Susana, and Tony Pirata & Sophie Fox.
Passada - Cabo Love
Passada (so called kizomba in Cape Verde) is also based on the fusion of authentic zouk and the local folk music, coladeira. Prior to formal name of passada or kizomba, this sort of music was known as Cola-zouk. Livity was the first music group who played this genre in 1990. Today cabo-love or cabo-zouk music can be heard by Mika Mendes, Nilton Ramalho, Amarildo, Philipe Monteiro, Eddu, or Beto Dias.
As seen in Angola, passada evolved from traditional folkloric social dances from Cape Verde, coladeira and mazurka. The shape of the local dance also resulted in a smoother leading and step technique. However, the steps are softer and the upper body movement is more fluid, as opposed to the more grounded style in Angola. Popular teachers who represent this style are Helio Santos, Kwenda Lima and Ze Barbosa.
Urban Kiz was formed outside of Africa and is fused with other modern styles of dance. Due to its origin, urban kiz share very little cultural similarities to kizomba and passada, which have strong roots in Africa. This is a new style/branch of kizomba with emphasis on ghetto zouk music.
Ghetto zouk music is a composition of different music genres (zouk, R'n'B, rap, hip-hop, dub step or symphonic music). Because of this direction in music, dancers began to experiment with the dance style to reflect the music. Major players in this genre of music are Elji, Saaphy, Dj Radikal, and Cirus Raskilz.
Urban kiz is heavily influenced by other techniques from different dance styles such as tango, hip-hop or R&B. The core fundamental patterns are still preserved, but the leading and step technique is very different from what is done and seen in Africa. The usage of the hands for leading plays a more important role and the legs are almost fully straight. Connection is mostly limited to the hands and arms which create a bigger distance between the couples and a tense body frame. This increase in distant between partners allows dancers to feature difficult footwork techniques, which has strong resemblance to Argentine tango and more closely related to performance dancing.
Some well known pioneers who represent this style are Curtis Seldon, Enah Lebon and Moun