Music and dance festivals, derived from the cultures of early African salves, have become a part of the way of life of modern Uruguay.
Music and dance festivals, derived from the cultures of early African salves, have become a part of the way of life of modern Uruguay. Each year, during the festival season, the drum beats of ancient African erupt along the streets of the capital, Montevideo.
African salves were first brought to Latin America by the Portuguese in the 17th century. They were shipped from Angola and the Congo region to Brazil, then distributed over Latin America. The Africans were mainly put to work on plantations. But unlike the salves in other parts of Latin America, those taken to Uruguay were relatively well treated. They and their descendants were soon integrated into the rural and urban communities.
In uruguay, the African and indigenous cultures have fused into what has become known as the Candombe, which takes the form of music and dance carnivals. The Africans of Uruguay represent only about 3 per cent of the country's population of 2,000,000. But their culture has strongly influenced the way of life.
Thy rhythmic drum-beat of the Candombe is heard throughout the festival season, when the African cult followers, dressed in brightly coloured clothes, take to the streets with drums, tambourines, and flags.