Carimbó is an Afro-indigenous musical genre and dance from Pará, and is recognized as part of Brazil's intangible heritage. The term probably comes from the Bantu word curimbó, which refers to drums carved out of tree trunks with one end covered with the skin of a wild animal. It has a number of subgenres, such as carimbó pastoril (from the Ilha do Marajó region) and carimbó praieiro (from Maracanã and the coast).
Music groups use two to three curimbós. The longest ones produce the most high-pitched sound, whereas the widest ones are the most low-pitched. The players sit on the trunks and use their hands as drumsticks to play the rhythm. Other instruments are also used, such as the ganzá, reco-reco, cuíca, banjo, flauta, maracás, afoxé and pandeiro.
Although the choreography of carimbó would seem to indicate that the African batuque was the main driver behind the rise of this genre, it was also enriched by indigenous elements such as the maracá, and by choreography that imitates native animals such as the turkey, the catfish, the rooster, and the skunk.
Men and women dance separate from each other. The men participate in flirtatious flattery of the women, raising their hands, placing their hands on their hips, snapping their fingers like castanets, or shouting. The women spin around and evade the men in a charming manner.
African slaves began to perfect indigenous dances and music as they started coming into contact with them. They started by changing the pace, which went from being monotonous to vibrating like an African batuque.
The European element, on the other hand, is made clear in the singing and the involvement of wind instruments (flute, clarinet, saxophone) and string instruments (banjo, cavaquinho, guitar, viola) in the melody. Over time, the carimbó dance began to include movements from Luso-Iberian dances, such as moving the fingers to the beat of a quick rhythm as if they were castanets.
Urban carimbó evolved into a genre that later influenced a number of popular musical styles in Pará, such as calypso, lambada and brega.