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Music in Brazil. Ted Goertzel Rutgers University at Camden Brazil as presented in the Lonely Planet Guide Book. Brazilians are among the most musical people on the planet Wherever you go you will find people playing music, singing and dancing

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music in brazil

Music in Brazil

Ted Goertzel

Rutgers University at Camden

brazil as presented in the lonely planet guide book
Brazil as presented in the Lonely Planet Guide Book
  • Brazilians are among the most musical people on the planet
  • Wherever you go you will find people playing music, singing and dancing
  • Brazilian music is a collective community act and celebrations or festas are virtually inseparable from dancing
samba soccer and national identity
Samba, Soccer and National Identity
  • Samba and soccer were central in building national pride around the benefits of a racially blended society
  • Brazilian music is diverse, shaped by influences from Africa, native Brazilian cultures, North America and Europe
  • National pride comes from world-wide appreciation of Brazilian music and soccer playing
  • Originated among black Bahians in Rio de Janeiro
  • First performed at Rio Carnival in 1917
  • Roots go back to African rhythms, particularly the Angolan tam-tam
  • The 1930s were the “golden age” of Samba
  • Samba became a national music thanks to radio, which was centered in Rio

'Jazz Samba Encore' is a more muted affair than its predecessors 'Jazz Samba' and 'Big Band'. Although featuring both men, the emphasis is more on Luiz Bonfa than Antonio Carlos Jobim, and Bonfa's songs 'lack' Jobim's pop instincts, favouring a restrained, more groove-based effect, which can be quietly intoxicating, Getz's melancholy sax contributing to the mood. Even more upbeat songs like 'So Danco Samba', despite its title, are more of a late night shuffle than a beach monster.

So Danco Samba (I Only Dance Samba)

from the preface by translator john charles chasteen to the mystery of samba by hermano vianna
From the preface by translator John Charles Chasteen to The Mystery of Samba by Hermano Vianna

“How did Brazil become the “Kingdom of Samba” only a few decades after abolishing slavery in 1888? Anthropologist Hermano Vianna shows that samba traditions were invented through complex cultural mediations. This postmodern approach sets Vianna’s work apart from most writing on samba.


“The ‘discovery’ of samba by the young Brazilian intellectuals of the 1920s [in Rio] provides examples of ‘the invention of tradition’ [Hobsbawm] or the ‘fabrication of authenticity’ [Peterson].”


North Zone: Working Class, Industrial Suburbs

Central Business District

Pão de Azucar, Botafogo Beach Corcovado

Interactive Map

Southern Zone: luxury beach front neighborhoods plus favelas

Rocinha favela


Gilberto Freyre, Anthropologist

Sérgio Buarque de Holanda, Historian

One evening in 1926, a group of young intellectuals, including these three and classical composer and pianist Luciano Gallet and journalist Pedro Dantas Prudente de Morais went out for a night of guitar movement and a drop of cachaça with three samba players...

Heitor Villa-Lobos, Classical Composer


Heitor Villa-Lobos,

A Floresta de Amazonas,

Abertura and

Suite I, Dance I


Patrício Teixiera

The first record (pelo telefone) was registered as a Samba by Donga in 1916, the first Samba schools started around 1928, but it was derived from other musical forms and there is dispute about what is or is not a Samba.


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


At the end of the 1960s the movement known as tropicalismo burst onto the scene. Tropicalismo 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 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.

Caetano Veloso, Onde o Rio e Mais Baiano


Chegou a hora, chegou chegouMeu corpo treme e ginga qual pandeiroA hora é boa e o samba começouE fez convite ao tango pra parceiroChegou a hora, chegou chegouMeu corpo treme e ginga qual pandeiroA hora é boa e o samba começouE fez convite ao tango pra parceiroHombre yo non sei porque te quieroE te tengo amor sinceroDiz la muchacha del plataPéro nel Brazil és diferenteYo te quiero simplesmente teu amor me desacataHabla castellano no fandandoArgentino canta tangoOra lento, ora ligeiroEu canto e danço sempre que possaUm sambinha cheio de bossaSou do Rio de Janeiro(bis)

O Samba e o Tango "Chegou a Hora"

(Samba de Amado Régis)