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Brazil Music – The Music of Brazil

The Music of Brazil

“Introduction to the music of Brazil – Brazil Music”

Brazil Music - The Music of Brazil

 About Brazilian Music

Brazil music is full of passion and sentiment. It reflects the very essence and soul of Brazil, and music in Brazil plays a big role in the lives of many Brazilians all around the country.

If you have ever walked the streets of Brazil or been to a Brazilian beach you can see how the people are full of energy and happy, the music is in their blood, in the way they walk, talk, dance, and love. Brazilians are very passionate about music and it is part of their culture.

Wherever you go in Brazil you will find people playing, singing and dancing to many different forms of music. For most Brazilians, music is more than just listening to a song. It accompanies them every day in a variety of things they do. Music helps them celebrate life and inspires happiness.

Brazil has a rich musical heritage and it plays a role both in everyday life in Brazil and in all types of celebrations, it is the result of different cultures which have created and shape a variety of unique and original Brazilian music styles.


Brazil music encompasses various regional music styles influenced by African, European and Amerindian forms. After 500 years of history, Brazilian music developed some unique and original styles such as samba, lambada, choro, bossa nova, frevo, forró, maracatu, MPB, funk carioca, sertanejo, Brazilian rock, pagode, axé, brega, and others.

Brazil Music - The Music of Brazil

When most people think of Brazil music the first thing that might come to their mind is samba. Samba is the most well-known musical style of Brazil, known for its energetic and unique rhythm that is often accompanied by dancing. It is often considered the national musical style of Brazil as it can be seen throughout the Brazilian Carnival. But, there is so much more than just samba in Brazil.

There is a variety of different types of Brazilian music that can be heard all throughout Brazil. Brazil music is not just one specific style or genre, it is very diverse and it covers a vast array of music styles.


Brazilian Music Styles

The music of Brazil is very diverse and unique. A variety of musical forms have developed in different parts of the country, many with accompanying forms of dance to go with it.

Let’s take a look at some of the different Brazilian music styles that can be found from around different regions of Brazil.


Samba is one of the most popular forms of music and dance in Brazil, with its unique rhythm that is characterized by its hip-swiveling style of dance, it is viewed as Brazil’s national musical style and a symbol of the Brazilian Carnival.

Samba derived from African roots in Brazil during the slave trade in the 16th century. It was part of religious ceremonies or prayers hat was done by African slaves in Brazil. It is believed that the modern term, “samba,” came from a variation of an African word, “semba,” and its exact original meaning is unclear.

Samba eventually evolved and today there are many different kinds of samba music and dance that consists of several forms. Read More on Samba.


Bossa nova

Bossa nova is a Brazil music style that evolved from samba. This style of music is often described as a fusion of jazz harmonies and a smoother often slower samba beat.

While Samba has its origins in the favelas, bossa nova emerged primarily from the upscale beachside neighborhoods of Rio de Janeiro. Bossa nova first became popular in the 1950s and the development of bossa nova is largely credited to a couple of artists including Johnny Alf, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Joao Gilberto.

The first well-known bossa nova song that became a worldwide hit was “The Girl From Ipanema”. The song was written in 1962, with music by Antonio Carlos Jobim and the version performed by Astrud Gilberto, along with João Gilberto and Stan Getz, from the 1964 album Getz/Gilberto. It won a Grammy for Record of the Year in 1965 and has been performed by many famous singers over the years such as Frank Sinatra and Amy Winehouse.


Música Popular Brasileira

Música Popular Brasileira (Brazilian Popular Music in English) or MPB is a genre that mixes a variety of Brazilian rhythms. Although it is not just one style or discrete genre, but rather it is a term that encompasses numerous Brazilian popular musical styles as they evolved and expanded during the decade of the 1970s and beyond.

Much of what you hear today in Brazilian music is MPB that mixes a variety of Brazilian rhythms such as Bossa Nova, folk, rock, pop, jazz, and samba. Brazilian Popular Music (MPB) first emerged as a style in 1966, as second generation to Bossa Nova. It was then influenced by other rhythms, such as rock and samba, combining elements from various cultures.

Today, MPB is a very popular music style and has matured and grown, incorporating a variety of artists. MPB boasts many successful artists, including Gilberto Gil, Chico Buarque, Caetano Veloso and Marisa Monte.



Frevo is a type of dance and music of the street Carnaval that originated from Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil over 100 years ago. The music & dance is very rhythmic with individual choreography that involves dance and acrobatic movements. Usually, the dancer wears colorful clothes and carries a type of small umbrella. There are no lyrics in this kind music.


Funk Carioca

Funk Carioca or simply called “funk” in certain parts of Brazil, is a style of music that originated from the favelas of Rio de Janeiro in the 1980s. Funk Carioca is a type of music and dance that is sort of a mixture of hip-hop, rap, samba and electronic music.

Despite its name, and although it is different from funk originating in the United States. It was influenced from Miami Bass and Freestyle of the USA and it has evolved into its own unique characteristics.

Some music of funk carioca contains sexual and explicit lyrics, and many of the dance moves look very sexual. The term baile funk is used to refer to parties or nightclubs that play funk.



Música sertaneja or Sertanejo is a type of Brazilian country music. It originally referred to music originating from Sertão, a countryside area in a semi-arid region of Northeast Brazil. It is one of the most popular music styles in Brazil, being particularly more popular throughout the interior of Brazil.

Sub-genres include Root Sertanejo, Romantic Sertanejo and Sertanejo Universitário. Sertanejo songs have been among the most played music genre on Brazilian radio the past few decades, constantly topping the Brazilian music charts.



Forro is a traditional style of music that sounds almost like a mix of polka and country-style music. It originated from the Northeastern part of Brazil in the Sertão region – which is a dry, backwoods cattle country, semi-arid region.


Southern music

Southern music (Portuguese: Música gaúcha) is a general term used for music basically from southern states of Brazil such as the Rio Grande do Sul state. Some of the most well-known musical performers of this kind are Renato Borghetti, Yamandu Costa, Jayme Caetano Braun and Luiz Marenco, and many others.


More Styles of Brazilian Music

The following list above is just a small list of types of Brazilian music. Here is a list of other kinds of Brazil music styles;

  • Ragamuffin Danceha
  • Repentism
  • Choro
  • Carimbu
  • Maxixe
  • Baio
  • Lambada
  • Lundu
  • Mangue Beat
  • Northeastern Music
  • Zouk-Lambada
  • Brazilian rock
  • Brazilian folk/folk-rock
  • Brazilian heavy metal
  • Samba-reggae
  • Capoeira music
  • Maracatu
  • Eastern Amazônia


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