I Love Dancing is glad to be able to also offer the sensual and popular couple dance Kizomba. Kizomba is yet another popular dance & music originating from Angola. It mixes influences of traditional Semba and Zouk music from from the French Caribbean. On this basis, Kizomba music emerged as a more modern music genre with a sensual touch mixed with African rhythm. Unlike Semba, Kizomba music is characterised by a slower and usually very romantic rhythm, sung generally in Portuguese. In Europe the word «kizomba» is used for any type of music derived from zouk, even if not of Angolan origin. It was the Kimbundu name for a dance in Angola as early as 1894. The Kizomba dancing style is also known to be very sensual and flows with a music of a romantic flow.

Origin and evolution

Kizomba music was born in Angola (in Luanda) in the 80’s following the influences of traditional Semba music (the predecessor of Samba from Brazil) with Compas music from Tabou-Combo of Haiti and Zouk music from Kassav from the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe. On this basis, Kizomba music emerged as a more modern music genre with a sensual touch mixed with African rhythm. Unlike Semba, Kizomba music is characterised by a slower and usually very romantic rhythm. On this basis, Kizomba music emerged as a more modern music genre with a sensual touch mixed with African rhythm.[3] Unlike Semba, Kizomba music is characterised by a slower and usually very romantic rhythm. Given that Angola is a former Portuguese colony, Portuguese is the principal language spoken in Angola and thus, also most Kizomba songs are sung in Portuguese. However, Kizomba songs initially were sung in Kimbundu and in other National languages of Angola. The dance style Kizomba was connected to the music style of 1981, through «Bibi king of the pace» percussionist of the SOS Band, a group that merged other styles such as méringue and Angolan rhythms to styles developed by contemporary groups; developing a sound more attractive and danceable, that then began circulating in the Angolan «Kizombadas» (party’s).[3] One member of this group was Eduardo Paim that after the dissolution of SOS, moved to Portugal taking with him the timing of the Kizomba rhythm, which began garnering fans in Lusitanian lands but was mistakenly confused with a variant of Zouk. Eduardo Pain I am the precursor of Kizomba. It was a process that began in the early 80’s with groups called Afro Sound Star, and soon after, SOS. I was inspired by Afro Sound Star, which had already adopted kilapanda as a reference style, and in the mix appeared things that excited me. I gathered a lot of references that I could grab from semba and our méringue, and these references eventually gave me conditions to unwittingly develop a sound which, face it, people fell in love with. When I arrived in Portugal (with my music), I was highly criticized and they even called it zouk. But it is not zouk. It is Kizomba. Confusions between zouk and kizomba arose after many Cape Verdean emigrants arrived in France in the late 80’s, having had contact with zouk and having mixed it with a traditional Cape Verde style the coladera, creating the cola-zouk; a derivative of zouk, very similar to kizomba and typically sung in Cape Verdean Creole. It is this rhythm that was confused with kizomba, and was heard in Portugal when Eduardo Paim arrived there and released his first record with kizomba music. Currently, in Lusophone (Portuguese speaking) countries and communities around the world, due to it being difficult to distinguish between zouk, cola-zouk and Kizomba, all these styles have been called kizombas, however in a rough and generic way, one can say that Zouk is sung in French and French Créole, cola-zouk in Cape Verdean Creole and Kizomba in Portuguese or Kimbundu. However, although Kizomba was not originally a fusion of semba and zouk, a version of kizomba arose which was influenced by zouk, and is wrongly being popularised as kizomba; the name given to this version being «Kizouk» or «kizombalove». This zouk influenced kizomba is becoming very popular throughout the world.[5] Kizomba is also performed in other lusophone African countries, in Europe and in the USA. It is known for having a slow, insistent, somewhat harsh, yet sensuous rhythm; the result of electronic percussion. It is danced accompanied by a partner, very smoothly, slowly and sensuously, and with neither tightness nor rigidity. There are frequent simultaneous hip rotations coordinated between dance partners, particularly in the quieter refrains of the music.

Cultural influences

The influence of Angolan kizomba is felt in most Portuguese-speaking African countries, but also Portugal (especially in Lisbon and surrounding suburbs such as Amadora or Almada), where communities of immigrants have established clubs centered on the genre in a renewed kizomba style. Kizomba is now also quite popular among white people that come to these clubs in growing numbers. The São Tomean kizomba music is very similar to the Angolan, Juka being the most notable among the Sãotomeans, and also one of the most notable performers in the genre. In Angola most clubs are based in Luanda. Famous Angolan kizomba musicians include Neide Van-Dúnem, Don Kikas, Calo Pascoal, Irmãos Verdades and Anselmo Ralph, among many others, but Bonga is probably the best known Angolan artist, having helped popularize the style both in Angola and Portugal during the 1970s and 1980s.

Kizomba dance

Kizomba is mentioned in 1894 in the Bulletin of the American Geographical Society of New York which said «the genuine Kimbundu name is Kizomba, that is, dance.» In Angola in the 1950s the expression Kizombadas referred to a party. There was no association of the word to a dance or musical genre. However, the dance known as «Semba», «Rebita», «Kabetula», «Maringa», already existed in the 50’s and 60’s. Other dances coming from Europe like Tango were practiced by the Portuguese colonials. The style of Kizomba now emphasizes a very smooth way of dancing with influences of Tango steps, but one of the main differences is that the lower body, the hips, do forward/backwards and circle movements. People dance on the tempo, as well as on the off beat and only occasionally use syncopation steps.


Countries where Kizomba is most popular include Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, Portugal, Mozambique, Equatorial Guinea, São Tomé and Príncipe, East Timor, Brazil and the territory of Macau, Europe, and North America. Famous Angolan Kizomba singers include Bonga, André Mingas, Liceu Vieira Dias, Neide Van-Dúnem, Don Kikas, Calo Pascoal, Heavy C., Puto Portugues, Maya Cool, Matias Damasio, Rei Helder, and Irmãos Verdades.