Samba has been for a long time the passionate soundtrack to love and revolution in South and Central America. Now the samba music world has lost iconic Brazilian samba player Nelson Sargento. Sargento died on the 27th May 2021 from the COVID-19. He died aged 96, in hospital in Rio de Janeiro as a result of the coronavirus, less than a week after being admitted to the centre. Reports have also surfaced to say Sargento was fully vaccinated against the coronavirus due to his age making him fall into a priority category for vaccination. Sargento is just one of the many beloved figureheads that have been lost this year due to the ongoing crisis of the coronavirus COVID-19 global pandemic that has taken nearly 4 million lives around the world so far. 

Sagento was born in Brazil on the 25th July 1924. From humble beginnings he went on to become one of the main players in the samba and Brazilian popular music scenes over the course of the late 20th century. Sargento was a hit composer in his time and taught at the Estação Primeira de Mangueira, an esteemed samba school in Rio. He was the creative force behind hits such as  ‘Cântico à natureza’, ‘Primavera’ and ‘Agoniza mas nao morre’.

Brazil was the birthplace for the samba movement, or samba urbano carioca as it is otherwise known, in the early 20th century. First starting amongst the Afro-Brazilian communities in places such as the city of Rio. The music created became known as ‘resistance music’ for its associations with revolutionaries of the time and the persistence of the folk movements in these areas. The music of samba is closely linked also to a specific dance style, common in Central and South America. The popular samba dance features circle-like movements that reflect the swell and energy of the beats.