Pimba is a Portuguese term used for a variety of popular Portuguese folk solo singers and bands whose songs are frequently driven by metaphors with sexual meanings.

Many Pimba songs use vulgar puns and jokes or address taboo topics, seemingly to gain popularity, as in the hit singles "Queres Ketchup, Maria?" ("Do You Want Ketchup, Mary?" — when spoken often sounds as "do you want me to suck you, Mary?") or "É o ECU!" ("It's the ECU!" (ECU was the first name thought for the euro) — when spoken sounds like "it's the ass!").


Pimba bands and musicians/singers are influenced by the rural areas of the country and the emigration phenomena which permeated Portuguese society throughout the 20th century. Although based in some elements of Portuguese folk music, it is basically straightforward functional pop music with minimal lyrics, heavy use of rhythm boxes and cheap synthesizers and designed to be played in dancing parties and weddings.

Pimba music and musicians/groups are seen by some to be inferior to others dedicated to more mainstream or genuinely traditional genres, although often more popular Fact|date=February 2007. They can be said to use the same themes as folklore and target the same audience, though some Pimba singers shun the title and call themselves "poetic" or "romantic artists". A parallel between Pimba and American Country music audiences can be drawn, nevertheless the lyrics of Country music are usually of a more elevated nature and its musical content is completely based on folk tradition.

Until the 1980s, the word "pimba" was merely an interjection, generally used to express the accomplishment of an action or an unexpected event. In 1993, pop rock band Ex-Votos released an album called "Cantigas do Bloqueio", with the hit single "sutilezas porno-populares" a.k.a. "...e pimba" the song talked about the a sexual fantasies of dirty man, and was so successful that popular singer Emanuel was quick to create a song with the same expression (pimba) in the refrain. This song was "Nós Pimba" (which translates to "We Pimba", meaning "we do it", sexually). In the 1990s, the word was informally coined as an adjective, to identify this kind of music, its sense being quite derogatory, synonymous with tacky. Use of the word spread to describe TV shows, radio programs and other media, fashion, etc. and eventually "pimba" acquired the general meaning of a cultural attitude that lacks intellectual content or quality and is tasteless and vulgar.

In recent years, a "pimba-pride" movement emerged, with fans and artists stating it is "the" contemporary Portuguese folk music, and arguing that music doesn't have to always be profound and elevated. Some intellectuals came to accept this view, recognizing that, in a proper context, this genre is unquestionably entertaining and amusing.Fact|date=February 2007


The so called "King of Pimba" was — and according to some still isFact|date=February 2007 — Emanuel, a musician/singer who emphasizes topics such as love and sex in his strongly satirical songs. The "Queen of Pimba" is ÁgataFact|date=February 2007, well-known in Portugal as well in the Portuguese diaspora. There is also the "Prince of Pimba", Saúl, who whilst very young performed the Pimba hit "O Bacalhau Quer Alho" ("The Codfish Wants Garlic" — "bacalhau" (codfish) is a slang word for the female sexual organs and "quer alho", when uttered fast, sounds like a Portuguese taboo word for penis - "caralho").

Another very popular Pimba artist is Quim Barreiros. He started his career before Emanuel, being one of the first, if not the actual first, documented case of PimbaFact|date=February 2007. In most of his songs, Barreiros makes extensive use of ambiguous words, often with obvious sexual suggestions. One of Quim Barreiros' biggest hits was "A Garagem da Vizinha" (The [Female] Neighbour's Garage), which is a metaphor for the female genitalia, but he is also known for hits such as "Mariazinha", where he asks a woman named Mariazinha to let him smell her "codfish".

Some female singers have shown a lot of success in this kind of music. One of them is Ruth Marlene (alternative spelling in correct Portuguese Rute Marlene). Another is Mónica Sintra, famous for songs like "Na minha cama com ela" ("In my bed with her") or "Afinal havia outra" ("After all there was another [girl] "), songs about heartbreak and cheating. Her sound, in 2006, can be described as influenced by Shakira (who directly influences her on-stage moves) and M.O.R. rock, with Latin influences. Another famous Pimba singers are Claudisabel (joinning her two names Claúdia and Isabel), Micaela and Ana Malhoa.

Leonel Nunes is widely held as the King of the "alternative" Pimba, as the remote location he hails from influences most of his work, therefore to the urban or suburban listener some of the themes depicted in Leonel's songs might seem unusual, humorous or simply too far-fetchedFact|date=February 2007.

ee also

*Quim Barreiros
*Jorge Ferreira

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