Virtual Brazil: Music

Few places on earth can claim a more vital musical tradition than Brazil, the home to a dizzying array of genres (over 100!) and brilliant artists from Caetano Veloso to Hermeto Pascual, Tom Jobim to Bebel Gilberto, Os Mutantes to Suba, and hundreds more.

Brazilian music makes a perfect soundtrack to enjoy a fine caipirinha or just about anything else. Click through these pages to take a trip through some of our favorite Brazilian sounds: smooth and sensual bossa nova, the sonic revolution of tropicalia, and gorgeous contemporary electronica that blends traditional and global influences as vast and diverse as the country itself. If you want to learn more about samba, the heart and soul of Brazil’s carnival, Joao Gilberto, Tom Jobim, Astrud Gilberto, and lyrics by poet Vinícius de Moraes burst onto the international scene. Bossa Nova was born in Rio de Janeiro’s bohemian cafes and bars, where young musicians first composed these sweet, sultry, and near-melancholy songs about love, carnival fantasies, and the beauty of Ipanema Beach.

Set your I-radios to Bossa Nova FM for a stream of classics like The Girl From Ipanema and Felicidade

You can also hear and learn more about Bossa Nova, and win CDs at Connect Brazil.

Tropicalia: Brazilian Popular Music in the Age of Aquarious

The radical social, political, and creative movements that shook the globe —from Woodstock to Vietnam War protests to Civil Rights—also rocked Brazil. In the late 60s, during the height of the country’s repressive dictatorship (1964-1985), a group of young musicians from Bahia began blending cryptic political critique, samba, bossa nova, and traditional genres with international pop and psychedelia inspired in the Beatles, Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and the Rolling Stones. The leading figure that emerged from the Tropicalia movement, like Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, have continued to play a key role in Brazil’s evolving Brazilian Popular Music (MPB) over the last 35 years.

Check out this great site for biographies, archival images, and more about the history of Tropicalia and MPB here.

For lyrics, sounds, and background on some of Tropicalia’s most inspiring musicians, check out these sites:
Caetano Veloso
Gilberto Gil
Os Mutantes
Tom Zé

Modern Beats + More Music

Bossa Chill Out

The lounge legacy of Bossa Nova lives on in the work of contemporary innovators. With captivating vocals and lush electronic ambiance, Bebel Gilberto takes her father, Joao Gilberto’s bossa to soaring new heights with her second (self-titled) album. Her first, Tanto Tempo, was a hard act to follow, but critics can’t get enough of today’s “It” girl from Ipanema.

Visit Six-Degrees to preview the album that reviewers and world music fans are raving about.

Our friends at Six Degrees/Ziriguiboom Records have assembled a vibrant sampling of cutting-edge sounds from Brazil. Maybe you’ve heard Suba’s genre-bending blend of down-tempo electronica and Brazilian beats at NY’s hippest bars and lounges. If those atmospheric riffs are still haunting you, check of the vocalist Cibelle’s debut solo album, an unforgettable sonic voyage.

We also recommend:
Trama - One of Brazil’s best indie labels, great MP3 downloads!.
Pinga - Great features on Brazilian music around the world.
Crammed - Six Degrees European affiliate.

More Brazilian Music Links

Go deeper into Brazil’s musical heritage and contemporary brilliance.

Check out a great history of Brazilian Popular Music (MPB) at The Brazilian Consulate in London’s fantastic site.

All Braziian Music: a fab virtual library featuring great articles on hundreds of Brazilian musicians

M-musica: mostly in Portuguese, with great articles in English on northeastern music.

Brazilian Music: articles and resources on lesser-known Brazilian artists.