Ginga – The Brazilian Lifestyle
The spirit of life that’s engrained in the DNA of every Brazilian.
That secret ingredient, rhythmic soul, that je ne sais quoi that Brazilians possess is known as ginga.
Ginga is a spirit Brazilians are born with; it’s a walk, a talk, a way of life, and a vital ingredient to being Brazilian. It comes naturally to so many as it’s part of everyday life; therefore it’s not surprising that this spirit seamlessly translates into their sporting skills.
Brazil’s produced some of the best football players worldwide and have won the games’ biggest cup five times. This swagger really is something special. The origins of this football flair dates back to the colonial period when slaves arrived from West Africa to Brazil bringing their religion and culture.
Capoeira is a martial art introduced to Brazil from African slaves that came from Angola and Mozambique. It was developed primarily in Bahia, which has the highest concentration of black Africans but was banned as considered a ‘fight by villains.’ However Africans continued to practice the art on the pretext that it was just a dance. Ginga is the acrobatic base move, a back and forth side-to-side swinging motion marked by trickery. And it’s always accompanied with music that sets the tempo and style of the game.
Additionally there’s the Candomble religion that blends Catholic and West African beliefs. Also introduced during the colonial period, and involves summoning the Orisha gods through chants and dances to a drumming beat. And of course Samba, Brazil’s pride and joy which was actually born out of the Candomble ceremonies.
Intertwined in each of these cultural forms of expression is music. And if you look at the development of music and its history with Brazilian football, the two are woven having inspired the great musicians such as Chico Buarque, Gilberto Gil and Jorge Ben.
All these forms come back to Ginga, the expressive soul of Brazil. And from its African roots has become an integral part of what it means to be Brazilian; an expression with purpose that involves skill and technique, which is beautifully demonstrated on the football pitch. Players describe this mystical quality as a ‘gift from God’ but the moment they dribble the ball, hit the back of the net, celebrate with that effortless Samba footwork with the chants of their fans in the background, I reckon it’s just another playing ground for them to show what they naturally do best.
Amrisha aka IAMRISHA is a DJ and Radio Broadcaster of Global Underground sounds. She has collaborated with the Brazilian embassy in India to bring a 5-part Brazil music special that looks at rare and classic sounds. Don’t forget to catch the latest episode of Afro-Brazilian sounds and for further updates you can follow her here.