Candombe Day

Candombe is an Afro-Uruguayan folkloric dance that is one of the roots of tango.

National Candombe Day

December 3 ~ Uruguay celebrates National Candombe Day to honor our African heritage and promote racial equality.

Candombe is the root of tango

Candombe is one of the roots of milonga which is one of the three tango dances (milonga, tango, valz). Candombe evolved into milonga, and milonga evolved into tango. Valz came from European waltz.

Argentine composer Juan Carlos Cáceres (Buenos Aires, 1936) is one of the contemporary masters of milonga and its predecessor candombe. His Tango Negro (Black tango) is a classic song in the form.

African Dances

Africa is a huge continent with many different cultures. During the Colonial Period, millions of people were enslaved from west Africa and central Africa, but also from north, south and even east Africa.

In the Americas, Africans are many peoples, from many places with different cultures. There is no archetypal African or African-American.

Every country and even regions in the Americas have different mixes of geography, history, Indigenous peoples, colonial powers, and Africans. Because of these variations, African culture manifests itself differently throughout the Americas, but with similarities.

Cuban rumba, Puerto Rican bomba, New York salsa, Uruguayan candombe and Argentine tango are different dances with common roots. Everyone understands the drum, even if you are not African.

Candombe and Candomblé

Uruguay is between Brazil and Argentina. Uruguayan culture is a blend of both.

African drumming and dancing can be a religious ceremony, a healing ceremony, or a party just for fun. The drum and dance traditions are slightly different for each purpose,

In the Americas, the Yoruba religion of Nigeria and Benin became the dominant African religion in Latin America. In Cuba, the Spanish called it Santería. In Haiti and New Orleans, it is called Vodou or Voodoo. In Brazil, it is Candomblé. These are all different, but share obvious roots.

There must be some connection between Candombe the Afro-Uruguayan drum and dance, and Candomblé, the Afro-Brazilian religion.

We are not saying that Candombe is religious. It is not. It is an expression of Uruguayan heritage. In a similar way, Puerto Rican bomba has lost its religious meaning. It is simply an expression of Puerto Rican heritage.

History is often a sad story, but the many ways we blend together are truly marvelous.

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