Thursday, June 2, 2016

The origins of the "Lambada" song

Not something that irks me, just something I found interesting.

The song "Lambada" by the pop group Kaoma, when released in 1989, was one of these huge hits that people started hating almost as soon as it hit the radio stations, mainly because of being overplayed everywhere.

Back then, its composition was generally misattributed to Kaoma themselves. It wasn't until much later that I heard that was actually just a cover song, not an original one. However, it's actually a bit more interesting than that.

There are, of course constantly hugely popular hits that turn out to be just cover songs by somebody else eg. from the 50's or 60's. This one doesn't go that far back, but it's still interesting.

The original version, "Llorando se Fue" was composed by the Bolivian band Los Kjarkas in 1981. It's originally in Spanish, and while the melody is (almost) the same, the tone is quite different. It uses panflutes, is a bit slower, and is overall very Andean in tone.

See it on YouTube.

This song was then covered by the Peruvian band Cuarteto Continental in 1984. They substituted the panflute with the accordion, already giving it the distinctive tone, and their version is more upbeat and syncopated.

See it on YouTube.

The song was then covered by Márcia Ferreira in 1986. This was an unauthorized version translated to Portuguese, is a bit faster, and emphasizes the syncopation, and is basically identical to the Kaoma version, which was made in 1989.

See it on YouTube.

The Kaoma version, which is by far the best known one, perhaps emphasizes the percussion, and the syncopation even more.

See it on YouTube.

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