Brazilian Music

Music is integral to culture in Brazil. The people of the country live and breath the rhythms of the country, and every night is an opportunity to cut loose and enjoy the irresistible sounds of Brazilian music.
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An artist impression of Carlos Jobim

The music of Brazil has many influences, namely of African, European and Amerindian origin. Over the course of history, however, the styles have become utterly unique and now Brazil boasts some of the most notable musical genres in the world, including samba, lambada, choro, bossa nova and more.

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The most famous of these, of course, is samba. The image of Brazilians shaking their bodies feverishly to incessant drumming that’s so ingrained in the popular imagination is derived from the fact that samba is so inseparable from Brazilian culture. No doubt this is largely to do with Carnival’s worldwide popularity.

Samba is most easily enjoyed at its source: Rio de Janeiro. The city is the place to enjoy the music in its purist form, where the music has grown since its first recording in 1917 ("Pelo Telefone").
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Other notable genres include choro and bossa nova. Choro (a lament) is an instrumental genre that has its roots in the 19th century. Again, Rio de Janeiro was the city where it all kicked off. Although it later became overtaken by samba and bossa nova, choro was for a long time Brazil’s most popular musical style. Traditionally played by three musicians informally and at parties, it began to decline when radio took over.

Bossa nova, on the other hand, continues to enjoy great success in Brazil. Drawing on influences from samba and jazz, it became popular in the late 1950s in Brazil and known by the rest of the world when "The Girl from Ipanema" was released in the 60s. It remains popular to this day.
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Michel TeloA less famous genre, especially on the international stage, is forró. Forró is a traditional folk dance which uses three main instruments: accordion, zabumba (a bass drum) and a metal triangle. The new Brazilian star Michel Teló incorporates some forró influence in his music and the world hit "Ai se eu te pego".
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=> More about Michel Telo, his life and his music
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More modern genres have predictably developed, but remain mixes of more traditional styles with western influence. Samba/reggae, for example, gained popularity in the 1980s while Brazilian rock often shows influence from tropical styles. (A great band to check out for an example is Os Mutantes).

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=> Heavy metal also took hold in Brazil, and their most famous export in this scene is Sepultura.
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