-mba Etymology

The use of the term timba in popular language and songs points to a close semantic relation between the words timba and rumba Discussing the origins of tumba, Leon relates the word to “a series of terms of Afroamerican origin like tumba, macumba, tambo, and others meaning collective partying, with the general meaning of group, meeting.” This seems to suggest an identity of words such as tumba, timba and rumba, meaning both drum and the occasion where drumming and dancing takes place. The hypothesis seems to be corroborated by folklorist Rogelio Martinez-Fure, who “suggests that mba, the root of the word rumba, now refers to dance and is found throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. According to him, it represents similar festive dance events and has similar accents in the dancing, e.g., on flirtation, chase of the female, or bumping the pelvis area.” This might confirm a semantic connection between words such as rumba and timba and names of other Afro-Latin American dances like Cuban mambo, Puerto Rican bomba, Colombian cumbia, Brazilian samba, Argentinian and Uruguayan candombe and Peruvia malambo.

–Vincenzo Perna, Timba: The Sound of the Cuban Crisis (2005)

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