Samba-reggae and samba-afro were born in Salvador in the late 1980s, a fusion of hard samba rhythms with Jamaican reggae, with Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff as their main influences.
Maestro Neguinho do Samba, as the founder of the percussion school of Afro group Olodum, is considered the main creator of this genre, which utilizes a new rhythmic pattern, used in modified drums producing unique pitches and sounds.
Samba-reggae places rhythmic and melodic emphasis on modern drums such as surdos, taróis and repiques, unlike reggae, which emphasizes harmonic instruments such as the electric guitar and the bass.
Over time, samba-reggae began to branch out into new and varied formations depending on the characteristics of each Afro group. The foundation of this genre is the drum group, which is made up of a number of different drums, with players also contributing a choreographic performance. Songs belonging to this genre focus on black communities and African heritage, while its dances highlight the expressivity and aesthetic of black bodies.
The most well known Afro groups are still an active part of the Bahian Carnival, where they act as sociocultural associations and music and black culture schools.
Some examples are: Ilê Aiyê (1974) - this group's beat, called samba-afro, was created by mestre (master) Bafo in 1975, with candomblé rhythms and elements of samba duro and ijexá;
Olodum (1979) - the first drum master was Carlinhos Realce, who joined the percussion element with the swing of the dances. He was followed by Neguinho do Samba, who mixed reggae and merengue with the rhythm of samba schools;
Okanbí (1982) - the work of Jorjão Bafafé focused on the ijexá rhythm. He created an Afro-Bahian-Cuban rhythm by mixing Latin salsa with the samba beat;
Timbalada (1993) - this group bears the mark of Carlinhos Brown, composer and percussionist, famous for using eclectic and "pop" techniques with innumerous rhythms, and for using the samba-reggae beat as a base, played by modern drums known as timbaus.
Samba-reggae was the predecessor of axé-music, an Afro-pop Carnival movement that spread throughout Brazil via Carnival groups and new artists.