From the Lonely Planet guidebook
Shaped by the mixing
influences from three continents, Brazilian popular music has always
characterized by great diversity. The samba
canção (samba song), for example, is a
Spanish bolero with the cadences and
rhythms of African music. Bossa nova was
influenced by samba and North American music, particularly jazz. Tropicalismo, in the l960s and 1970s, mixed
ranging from bossa nova and Italian ballads to blues and
North American rock.
If you want to dig
Brazilian music two good places to start are the Web sites www.allbrazilianmusic.com
and http://www.slipcue.com/music/brazil/brazillist.html. The latter reviews many recordings available
Samba & Pagode
samba: every thing makes for a samba.
Clips. This most popular Brazilian rhythm originated among
The 1930s are known as the Golden Age of Samba. By then, samba canção had also evolved, performed by small groups with European melodies laid over the African percussion — as had choro, a romantic, improvised, samba- related music with a ukulele or guitar playing off against a recorder or flute.
The most famous ‘Brazilian singer of this period, perhaps of all time, was the Portuguese-born Carmen Miranda. Sample audio. Star of many musicals of the period, she was known for her fiery Latin temperament and her ‘fruity’ costumes.
Samba was pushed out
of favor by
other styles in the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s. Then
— informal, backyard-party samba,
the kind of
music that can be made by a small four-string cavaquinho guitar along with a
few beer cans and tables to bang on— emerged in
Silva invented the sambandido (gangsta samba) style, long before American gangsta rap.
By the 1990s the name pagode was being applied to more commercial, pop and rock-influenced samba. But ‘pure pagode’ pioneers such as Carvalho (who launched the 21st century on Copacabana) are still going very strong.
When bossa nova was invented in the 1950s, the democratic nature of Brazilian music was challenged. Bossa Nova was modern and intellectual and became internationally popular.The middle class stopped listening to the old interpretations of samba and other regional music like the forró of the Northeast.
Bossa nova initiated a new style of playing and singing. The more operatic, florid style of singing was replaced by a quieter, more relaxed sound; remember the soft, smooth The Girl from Ipanema, composed by the late Antonio Carlos (Tom) Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes. Audio Clips. Guitarist João Gilberto, Audio Clips bossa nova’s super-cool founding father, is still playing, although other leading figures such as guitarist and composer Baden Powell and singers Nara Leão and Elis Regina, are no longer with us. João Gilberto’s daughter, Bebel, has sparked a new wave of popularity for bossa nova rhythms with her crossover lounger/world music albums.
nova was associated with
At the end of the 1960s the movement known as tropicalismo burst onto the scene. Tropicalismo Audio Clips provoked a kind of general amnesty for all the forgotten musical traditions of the past. The leading figures — Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, Rita Lee, Maria Betania an Gal Costa (all of whom are still around, with Veloso the most consistently innovative) — believed that all musical styles were important and relevant. All the styles and traditions in Brazilian music, plus North American rock and pop, could be freely mixed. This led to innovations like the introduction of the electric guitar and the sound of electric samba. Tropicalismo had its political dimension, and figures such as Veloso and Gil spent time in jail and exile during the military dictatorship.
Música Popular Brasileira (MPB)
Paralleling, overlapping with and at times blending the aforementioned musical movements since the 1970s has been the music known as MPB (Brazilian Popular Music). This nebulous term covers a range of styles from innovative jazz- and bossa nova-influenced stuff to some pretty sickly pop.
Early MPB stars were
Chico Buarque de Hollanda
traditional samba with a more modern universal flavor, and Jorge Ben,
an original pop samba without losing the black rhythms of the
from Minas Gerais, has long been famous in
Rock Derived more from English than American rock, this
is the least Brazilian of all Brazilian music. Pronounced, of course,
it’s very popular. Groups like Kid Abelha,
Legião Urbana (who led a wave of
punk-driven bands from
Regional Music Samba, tropicalismo and bossa
all national musical forms, but wherever you go in
The Northeast has perhaps the most regional musical and dance styles. The most important is forró, a lively syncopated music centered on the accordion and the zaumba (an African drum). Though a few artists such as Luiz Gorizaga and Jackson do Pandeiro achieved national status forró was long disdained as hick by the urbane inhabitants of Brazil’s more southerly cities — as is neatly encapsulated by the title of one good compilation available internationally, Forró; Music for Maids and Taxi Drivers. Lately, however, forró has surged in popularity nationwide and at the same tim returned from electrification to its roots — accordion, zabumba, triangle — with a big helping hand from Eu, Tu, Eles (Me, You, Them). The movie features a lot of forró.
The trio electrico,
also called frevo baiano
began more as a change in technology than in music.
It started as a joke when during Carnaval
a label for the profuse samba/pop/rock/reggae/funk/Caribbean fusion
clip from the Lonely Planet guidebook does not cover Brazilian
classical music. There is a Villa Lobos Web
Site in English with a pretty good biography.
You can find sound clips from Villa Lobos on the Villa Lobos museum site
although the text is in Portuguese.
Bachianas Brasileiras on amazon.com.
the best way to appreciate Brazilian music is through film because you
can see it with the dance as well. The film Black Orpheus or Orfeu
Negro introduced bossa nova to the world through the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim and Luis Bonfa. There is also a more
modern version by Caetano Veloso.