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Eurides de Souza Santos

A musical genre and a popular cultural event involving music, dance, and poetry. It is found across a wide geographic and cultural area in Northeastern Brazil, especially in urban and rural areas of the states of Sergipe, Alagoas, Pernambuco, Paraíba, and Rio Grande do Norte. Although there is no way to date with certainly the historical emergence of the term or its associated musical practices, scholars generally agree that coco developed among Northeastern Afro-Brazilians during the period of slavery (from the late 16th century to 1888).

Coco can be divided into two major subgenres: coco de embolada, which is characterized by poetic duels between singers who accompany themselves on the pandeiro (a Brazilian tambourine) or the ganzá (a kind of shaken rattle); and coco de roda, a ring dance. Coco songs are predominantly organized in strophic form with the repetition of phrases or words, or else are organized as stanzas that alternate with a repeated refrain. These stanzas, commonly sung by a soloist, comprise traditional verses as well as textual and musical improvisation....



Rebecca Dirksen

A popular dance music genre that rose to prominence in Haiti during the mid-1950s and which remains at the forefront of the Haitian music scene, both in Haiti and in the Haitian diaspora. There are two conflicting theories of the genre’s origins. Some scholars explain that konpa was adapted from the merengue típico from the Cibão region of the Dominican Republic. Others locate its roots in the Haitian folkloric music that includes the contredanse, quadrille, and menuet of European origin, in addition to the rada, kongo (also, congo), and petwo (also, pétro) rhythms that have provenance in Africa.

Early ensembles typically comprised vocals, saxophones, accordion, acoustic guitar, string bass, drum set, and various percussion instruments. From the 1960s, band composition decreased in size and shifted to include more electronic instruments (guitar, bass, and synthesizers). During the 1970s, konpa bands began widely incorporating trumpets, trombones, and congas or tambou...