In the heart of Brazil, <I>samba</I> reigns supreme as not only the nation's preeminent musical genre, but one of the foremost modes of cultural expression <I>per se</I>. Conceived at the outset of the 20th century in such metropolises as Bahia, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro for the sole purpose of dancing, the samba gave rise to schools devoted entirely to it, and to five-star musicians who played the form on a veritable pantheon of instruments. The two-part documentary O' Samba pays homage to the samba by visiting and interviewing instructors at several of the said institutions, including the Imperio Serrano, the Salgueiro and the Portela, and by featuring live performances of the genre by guitarists Roberto Menescal and Baden Powell. Part One hones in on several strains of the samba, featuring performances by the musicians who best exemplify those subgenres and interviews with the composers who author pieces for them; it includes extensive footage shot at the 1997 Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. Part Two explores <I>capoiera</I>, a combination of samba music and martial arts created by Brazilian slaves.
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