Do you remember Lambada, those innocent dance taken down the deadly spiral of pop culture by a band named Kaoma in 1989?
Besides the international dance craze this unauthorized plagiarism caused during the 90s, the original history of Lambada is more than interesting. In fact everything is based on an Andean Pop song from 1981, that travelled to Brazil (Belèm, to be precise) in the middle of the 80s to adopt aspects of dances such as Forró, Salsa, Merengue, Maxixe and Carimbó in the course of time.
Reason enough for Wayne Marshall (not the Caribbean vocalist, but the Ethnomusicologist netwide known as Wayne&Wax based in Cambridge, Massachusetts) to put this journey through the “Moments of Lambada” exclusively for The Clustermag. Hear what Wayne got to say about the whole thing and get your Lambada dose for free over at The Clustermag, it’s worth it!
“Nodding to Nguzunguzu’s magisterial Moments in Love mix, which knits together countless covers and echoes of a seminal Art of Noise track, I’ve threaded along a similarly diverse collection of related riffs. Moments in Lambada retraces the flexible but familiar contours of one of the most popular melodies of the last 30 years. A 1981 Andean pop song (“Llorando Se Fue” by Los Kjarkas), popularly translated for Brazilian audiences in 1986 (Márcia Ferreira’s “Chorando Se Foi”), and transformed three years later into a worldwide worldbeat hit by French group Kaoma, “Lambada” was the unauthorized anthem that inspired and propelled The Forbidden Dance, a film which opened on the same day in 1990 as a rival bit of bandwagon-hopping, the less salaciously titled Lambada. In the years since, the tune has hardly receded from earshot, cropping up in both predictable and unexpected quarters over and over again.
A stretchy bit of ear candy, the song has been reworked like so much tropical taffy, twisted and folded into an impressive array of styles, sometimes as part of the same release. To maximize exposure across club scenes, Kaoma’s version was itself made available in remixed form, entering the world in several shapes and styles at once, including two “Dub” mixes, an “Extended” mix, and a “Club” mix (all of which I’ve worked into Moments). Although we begin — after a brief Incan incantation and station identification — with Los Kjarka’s 1981 recording, the mix doesn’t proceed in chronological order. Instead, tempo and formal correspondences dictate the direction. Certain segues demanded creative, but not inapt, tweaking: to stay in key (loosely speaking), a cumbia version needed to be pitched down, a procedure resonant with rebajada tradition; likewise, I’ve dubbled dub mixes and made club edits of club edits.
Over the course of the mix, we dip into forró, UK funky, dancehall, reggaeton, lambahton, lambow, norteña, global guettatech, panpipe pop, and other club-ready confections that may or may not have real or invented genre tags, with some delightful, surprisingly recurrent nods to vintage house. Palimpsests push their way through the texture, as when J Lo seems to retrace phonemes from “Llorando Se Fue” before singing along with Vakero’s everyman adaptation (“la la la la la”). Her zigzag jetset cartography in “On the Floor” could as easily be following the circulation of “Lambada” — Brazil, Morocco, London to Ibiza, straight to LA, New York, Vegas to Africa — but the earthy sentiments that Vakero expresses in a local tongue — “vamo a beber, vamo a joder” — are just as global.” (Words by Wayne Marshall for Clustermag)
Los Kjarkas, “Llorando Se Fue”
Inca Son, “Llorando Se Fue”
Jorge Rico, “Llorando Se Fue”
Grupo Chiripa, “Llorando Se Fue”
Red Foxx and Screechy Dan, “Pose Off”
Wisin y Yandel, “Pam Pam”
Kaoma, “Lambada (Dub Mix)”
Max le Daron, “Lambahton Remix”
Kaoma, “Lambada (Extended Mix)”
Kaoma, “Lambada (Llorando Se Fue?) (Dub)”
Kaoma, “Lambada (Club Mix)”
Metal de Durango, “Llorando Se Fue”
Elephant Man, “Hate Mi”
Vakero, “La La La (Lambow)”
Kiko e As Jambetes, “Chorando Se Foi”
Terror Tone, “Kaoma – Lambada (Terror Tone Remix)”
Jennifer Lopez (ft. Pitbull), “On the Floor”
To round this up, here is some more hand-picked Lambada goodness for you. Enjoy!
DJ João Brasil feat. Lovefoxxx – L.O.V.E. Banana
Just out on Manrecordings – Brazilian Mashup god João Brasil teaming up with CSS godess Lovefoxxx for saucy lyrics, a hard to resist hook, and a Lambada inspired melody.
“L.O.V.E. Banana” – DJ João Brasil feat. Lovefoxxx by papelpop
Gregor Salto & Kaoma – Lambada 3000 (Max le Daron Lambahton refix)
A Lambada House refix moombahtonized by young Belgian Bass Bomb Max Le Daron.
Gregor Salto & Kaoma – Lambada 3000 (Max le Daron Lambahton refix) by Max le Daron
Kaoma – Lambada
There it is. I always wanted a skirt like this…
Booty Shakerz – Bailando Lambada (Moombahton Edit)
Moombahton and Lambada seems to be the perfect match – I can already see this style invading Latin discos all around the globe.
Booty Shakerz – Bailando Lambada (Moombahton Edit) by Booty Shakerz
Don Omar – Taboo
Yo, Mr Don Omar. (People who are not in Germany like me can watch the full video here).
Swedish House Mafia – I Heard Lambada Through ONE Name (DGDJ Mash)
Swedish House Mafia – I Heard Lambada Through ONE Name (DGDJ Mash) by DGDJ