What We’re Playing: Brazilian Music

With influences from Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, North America, and neighboring countries in South America, Brazilian music is soulful and eclectic. There’s so many types of music that are pumping out of this vast country.

Below, we’ve compiled a list of them, and what makes them all unique. We hope you enjoy our favorite songs from Brazil. Maybe they’ll get inspire to start cooking some Brazilian food too!

Bossa Nova
Bossa Nova is a blend of samba and American jazz that was pioneered by João Gilberto. This lyrical style is accompanied by an acoustic guitar and percussion. You might even recognize a favorite, “Girl from Ipanema.” The song was written in 1962 about a beautiful woman who walked throughout the streets of Rio de Janiero to Ipanema beach every day. We recommend the version by Astrud Gilberto & Stan Getz.

One of the most popular Brazilian music genres and dance styles, samba was first brought to Brazil via the African slave trade. Over the years, it’s evolved and spread across the globe. Ijexa as similar so samba, but associated with the Afro-Brazilian religion of candomble.

Forró (pronounced with a light, guttural r) is a sensual music and dance style that originated in northeastern Brazil. It’s typically accompanied by zabumba (a bass drum), accordion, guitar, triangle, and a lyrical melody.

Chôro, the grandfather of bossa nova known as the New Orleans jazz of Brazil, is a celebration of Brazil’s folk music. The composer Heitor Villa-Lobos was heavily influenced by this style when composing his well known Chôros series.

Fernando de Noronha
© Pixabay

This Brazilian martial art originated among slaves from Angola and is accompanied by several local instruments, including berimbau (a single-stringed instrument with a hollow gourd), atabaque (and Afro-Brazilian hand drum), and pandeiro (a hand frame drum with jingles).

Afro-Brazilian fusion
Brazil has seen an incredible revival of Afro-Brazilian culture within the past two decades. Via the devastating slave trade that brought millions of people to Brazil, African culture—including music—was brought to South America. The musical styles from Africa have been well-preserved since their arrival in Brazil. Axé is a smart combination of elétrico music, afoxé, samba-reggae, and modern pop that was popular in the 1990s.

Manguebeat, or Mangue Bit
Manguebeat may be one of the most dynamic and interesting musical genres from Brazil. Born in the Northeastern region of the country, manguebeat is a cultural response to the poverty in Recife, a coastal city in Brazil.

Souk-Lambada is a sensual music and dance style which incorporates forró, merengue, samba, carimbó, and zouk from the French Caribbean.



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