Have you ever heard of pagode, a subgenre of samba? New genres of music are being developed all the time. Ideas, techniques and conventions flow freely from musician to musician and from culture to culture. It is also commonplace for a genre which is well established in one country to catch on in another: the genre may not be new itself, but to its latest audience, it is the height of innovation.
Pagode is a prime example of this phenomenon. Although this variation on samba traditions has existed in Brazil since the seventies, there is still comparatively little information about it available in English. This may change, however, as listeners who are looking for some new sounds and new flavours latch on to the fresh pastures of pagode for their latest experiences. Marisa Monte is a Brazilian musician who had cited samba as an early influence, and who has gone on to become a worldwide success; perhaps pagode will find its own international icon soon.
One of the key groups in the history of pagode is Grupo Fundo de Quintal, whose members have been active since 1978 and could perhaps be considered the forefathers of the subgenre. The decade of the nineties saw something of a flourishing in the pagode music scene, with the debuts of such key bands as Os Travessos, Molejo and Raça Negra (the latter originally formed in the eighties, but the release of its first album came in 1991).
Granted, these bands are far from household names across English-speaking countries. This could change, however. With the world shrinking as the World Wide Web and other communications revolutions link is together, it is never too late for a foreign trend to catch on abroad. From India’s Bollywood cinema to Japanese anime, entertainment from one country can flood many others, even if it may take a few decades. Pagode could well become a major force in world music in the years to come: never say never when it comes to the unpredictable world of popular music.