Tag: Erika Ender

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Erica Ender is Panamanian, not Portuguese. She is included here to help contrast Latin American and Portuguese music, because she has operated in both cultures. Erika is fluent in Portuguese and has a Brazilian mother. Her Spanish work includes Despacito, the Internet Age's biggest ever viral musical hit.

Why Portuguese stress patterns sound natural to English-speakers

Compare Erika Ender singing Despacito in Spanish to Ana Moura singing Ninharia in Portuguese. How easily can you spot the key words and how many can you spot? If you are a native or fluent English speaker you may find your ear picks up the clues more easily in Portuguese.

Erika Ender singing in the syllable-time language Spanish
Ana Moura singing in the Portuguese of Portugal, a stress-timed language

You can find out more about these two compelling songs at Erika Ender sings Despacito and Ana Moura sings Ninharia. Here we'll focus on a key difference in the sound patterns of the two languages, which applies as much or more in spoken Spanish or Portuguese as it does in song.

Stress and rhythm in languages

One welcome thing about the Portuguese of Portugal - if you are coming from a language like English, German or Russian, is that the stress pattern tends to sound natural. This is because European Portuguese, like English, German and Russian, is stress-timed.

By contrast, all the Latin-based languages of Europe apart from Portuguese - Italian, French, Romanian, Spanish and Catalan are syllable-timed. As, to a large extent, is Brazilian Portuguese. Many other languages are too - Hindi in India, Yoruba in Nigeria and Welsh in the UK.

For English speakers, this similarity in stress pattern between English and the Portuguese of Portugal is useful if you are trying to understand a song. The words the singer seems to be emphasising - say coraSOWng (coração - heart), SHOOva (chuva - rain) or desTEENoo (destino - destiny), really are the important ones for the meaning.

Meanwhile the syllables they mumble, or sometimes

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Emanuel the Pimba king shows his sensitive side to Erika Ender

Pimba is what the Portuguese do to recover from the travails of life - and their famous but sometimes emotionally draining forms of music. Like the supposedly untranslatable Saudade Pimba too is untranslatable. Or maybe not. It means hitting on or having sex, and is a recently coined slang term roughly equivalent to the English bang.

And Emanuel is the man who invented it, and the popular musical form going by the name. His breakthrough 1995 hit has the refrain Nós pimba Nós pimba ("We Pimba! We Pimba!). These words were put to a very basic tune with a dull base line, but perky accordian music. The main appeal was in the words, and the vigorous dance moves that accompanied them.

Emanuel - "Pimba Pimba"

Emanuel - "Pimba Pimba" (Bang Bang)

Much of Emanuel's early work, like Pimba itself and the dualing singing style Desgarrada, can be difficult to understand or translate. Both rely on verbal jokes and a shared Portuguese sense of humour. Britain once had something similar - and likewise hugely popular, in the Carry On films of Sid James and Kenneth Williams. Their comedy relied on double entendres and innuendo, which made them innaccessible to audiences outside a shared British popular culture.

Emanuel though is something more modern - not a throwback to an endangered cultural unity, but a modern artist and entrepreneur who has gone on to become a pan-European dance phenomenon. After producing musically dull but - for the Portuguese, hilariously funny Pimba albums, he moved on to producing musically interesting, culturally promiscuous dance hits.

Here though we want to look at another collaboration that

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