What is Jongo?

June 21, 2024


Jongo is a traditional dance and musical genre that originated in the Afro-Brazilian communities of the state of Rio de Janeiro. It is a cultural expression that combines elements of African and Brazilian music, dance, and spirituality. Jongo is deeply rooted in the history and traditions of the African diaspora in Brazil, and it continues to be practiced and celebrated by communities throughout the country.

History of Jongo

The history of Jongo dates back to the time of slavery in Brazil, when African slaves brought their cultural traditions with them to the country. Jongo was originally a form of resistance and a way for enslaved Africans to maintain their cultural identity and connection to their homeland. Over time, Jongo evolved into a vibrant and dynamic art form that continues to be passed down through generations.

Characteristics of Jongo

Jongo is characterized by its rhythmic drumming, call-and-response singing, and energetic dance movements. The music of Jongo is typically performed on drums, tambourines, and other percussion instruments, creating a lively and infectious beat that is impossible to resist. The dance movements of Jongo are energetic and expressive, with dancers moving in sync with the music and each other.

Significance of Jongo

Jongo holds great significance for the Afro-Brazilian communities that practice it, serving as a way to celebrate their cultural heritage and connect with their ancestors. It is a form of cultural expression that is deeply rooted in the history and traditions of the African diaspora in Brazil, and it continues to be an important part of the cultural identity of these communities.

Modern-Day Jongo

In recent years, Jongo has experienced a resurgence in popularity, with more and more people becoming interested in this vibrant and dynamic art form. There are now Jongo groups and organizations dedicated to preserving and promoting the tradition, and Jongo festivals and events are held throughout Brazil and beyond. Jongo continues to be a powerful and meaningful cultural expression for Afro-Brazilian communities.

Impact of Jongo

The impact of Jongo extends beyond its cultural significance, as it also plays a role in promoting social cohesion and community empowerment. Through the practice of Jongo, communities come together to celebrate their shared heritage and strengthen their bonds with one another. Jongo serves as a powerful tool for building solidarity and resilience among Afro-Brazilian communities.

Challenges Facing Jongo

Despite its cultural importance and popularity, Jongo faces challenges in the modern world, including issues of cultural appropriation and commercialization. There is a need to ensure that Jongo remains true to its roots and is not exploited for profit or diluted in its cultural significance. Efforts are being made to protect and preserve the integrity of Jongo for future generations.

Preservation of Jongo

To ensure the preservation of Jongo for future generations, it is important to support and promote the practice of this traditional art form. This includes providing resources and funding for Jongo groups and organizations, as well as raising awareness about the cultural significance of Jongo. By working together to protect and promote Jongo, we can ensure that this important cultural tradition continues to thrive.


In conclusion, Jongo is a powerful and dynamic cultural expression that holds great significance for Afro-Brazilian communities. It is a form of resistance, celebration, and connection to the past, and it continues to be an important part of the cultural identity of these communities. By supporting and promoting Jongo, we can ensure that this vibrant tradition remains alive and thriving for generations to come.

Tatiana Cesso

As a journalist, I've made it my mission to explore and share stories that inspire, inform, and entertain. You may have stumbled upon my work in esteemed publications such as InStyle, Marie Claire, Bazaar, L’Officiel, and Vogue, among others. Having called the U.S. home since 2010, I've lived in Chicago, LA, and currently, Miami. But my heart always beats to the rhythm of Brazil. It's where I was born and raised, and my love for its culture, people, and energy knows no bounds. To share this passion, I've founded Brazilcore, a platform aimed at bridging the gap between Brazil and English speakers worldwide.