, , , ,

‘Ginga’ is a Brazilian term for football flair.  Football is perhaps the strongest symbol of Brazilian identity.  Brazil has won the World Cup four times,­ more than any other country. It has produced some of the most talented players of all time, such as Didi, Sócrates and of course Pelé, the greatest of them all. The romance of Brazilian football is not just that the country is so successful, it is because of the graceful, skilful and acrobatic style of play, in tune with the musicality and contagious good spirit of their fans and the commentators shout of: “Gooooooooooooal”.

The history of Brazilian football and the development of its musical styles are completely entwined. The sport is often described as a dance, with good reason. Domingos da Guia, Brazil’s outstanding defender of the 1930s and 1940s, said “My elder brother used to say ‘Aren’t you good at dancing?’ I was and this helped my football, I swung my hips a lot, that short dribble I invented was imitating the Miudinho, that type of samba.”

Brazil also invented carnivalesque ways of supporting football. In the 1940s they became the first fans to dress up in fancy dress and football matches are now unthinkable without a soundtrack of batucada beats.

The rhythm, happiness and ingenuity that marks Brazilian football makes it perfect subject matter for music. Football has inspired almost all the great 20th century popular Brazilian artists including Chico Buarque, Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, Elis Regina and Jorge Ben. Brazilians best express their creativity through their love of football and music, most often at the same time.