A Crash Course in Brazilian Music

Posted on 15. Apr, 2015 by in Culture, Music

Olá galera, tudo bem? Brazil is a very diverse country and also has a very diverse range of musical genres. Listening to Brazilian music can help your Portuguese learning in a number of ways. Classics like Eu Só Quero Um Xodó by Dominguinhos can help you with dialects and slang–Xodó is slang from Pernambuco, meaning a person’s love interest or sweetheart. Popular music like Te Esperando by Luan Santana can introduce you to Brazilian pop culture. Not to mention listening to spoken (or sung) Portuguese will help train your accent! Check out these genres to learn more:

SAMBA (PAGODE) – Samba is what most people think of when they think of Brazilian music. Its origins are in African music brought to Brazil several centuries ago. Many consider Pagode to be a sub-genre of Samba (Pagode introduced new instruments and new singers). Popular and influential artists include Thiaguinho and Zeca Pagodinho. The group Sambô makes Samba versions of popular songs.

SERTANEJO – Sertanejo is a very dynamic genre of Brazilian music and its American counterpart is country music. Sertanejo’s roots are in the Brazilian countryside and the rural parts of interior states like Mato Grosso and Minas Gerais. It has 3 main sub genres: Sertanejo Universitário, Sertanejo de Raiz, and Sertanejo Romântico. Paula Fernandes and Michel Teló are Sertanejo artists that have become famous internationally.

BOSSA NOVA – Brazilian Bossa Nova is a genre that emerged in the 20th century and generated many big names in the music industry. Some famous Bossa Nova singers are Caetano Veloso, João Gilberto, and Antonio Carlos Jobim. Jobim collaborated with Frank Sinatra in the mid-20th century. Bossa Nova is perfect to listen to when you feel overwhelmed with your Portuguese studies–it’s easy on the ears and very relaxing!

MPB (MÚSICA POPULAR BRASILEIRA) – MPB comes from Bossa Nova and is one of the most popular genres in Brazil. These artists generally use Brazilian instruments and write lyrics that are for social and political purposes. Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil are traditional MPB artists and popular modern MPB artists include Marisa Monte and Marcelo Camelo.

FORRÓ – Forró is a typically northeastern genre even though Brazilians from all parts of the country listen to it. It’s characterized by fast, complicated dances to accompany the music and by the use of many different instruments. Forró musicians are called “forrozeiros.” Popular artists are Falamansa and Luiz Gonzaga.

Brazilians take music very seriously. During the dictatorship, music was extremely important in spreading messages and information. Some of the most influential Brazilian musicians during this time were Chico Buarque and Gilberto Gil (Gil later became a politician). Brazilian society is even sometimes divided by types of music. Genres like Sertanejo have evolved greatly and modern Sertanejo draws a very different crowd from traditional Sertanejo. MPB (Música Popular Brasileira) is a genre mostly listened to by the upper class in Brazilian society. A great way to immerse yourself in Brazilian culture is to immerse yourself in Brazilian music. Até a próxima!

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Olá gente! – Nicole

Posted on 15. Apr, 2015 by in Uncategorized

Olá! I would like to introduce myself to all of you as a new member of Transparent Language!

My name is Nicole and I’m an American that has spent years studying Brazilian Portuguese (casei com um brasileiro – I married a Brazilian!). I’m excited to help all of you along with your Portuguese learning journey! I know all of the ups and downs, tricks, difficulties, and pleasures that come with learning Portuguese and getting to know Brazilian culture. It’s an amazing process and a high five to all of you!

Most of my time in Brazil is spent in Manaus, Amazonas, where my marido (husband) is from. He’s a true Amazonense (a person from Amazonas) and I’ve fallen in love with the entire state of Amazonas. In my future posts I’m sure I will be talking all about Manaus and Amazônia (the whole region of the Amazon).

After high school, I immediately took training to become a professora de inglês (English Teacher) and bombeira (firefighter). I’ve worked for some of the top online English schools and started teaching Portuguese to other teachers within these companies. I currently teach English for a smaller company where I’m from in rural New York.

Até a próxima pessoal!


Oi pessoal from Ester

Posted on 14. Apr, 2015 by in Brazilian Profile, Culture, Uncategorized

Photo by Kevin McGarryAs a new member of Transparent Language I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself.
Meu nome é Ester e eu nasci no Brasil (my name is Ester and I was born in Brazil),

where I lived for the first vinte e quarto (twenty four) years of my life. When I finished my graduation in Brazilian Portuguese Language and Linguistics at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais I moved to Bray, a seaside town located south of Dublin, Ireland. I’ve been living here por dois anos e meio (for two and a half years) now with my partner Kevin, who appears to have given me an Irish accent, I swear I had nothing to do with my accent changing, it’s totally his fault!

Quick pause for a cultural aspect: Brazilians usually learn American English due to the proximity and influence of the U.S. in our cultura (culture), so when I moved to Ireland people would ask me where in the U.S. I was from. I suppose this is good for Americans who travel to Brazil, they will probably be better understood by brasileiros.

I have always had a passion for teaching as well as writing. When I started my curso (course) in Uni my plan was to become a professora (teacher) and do some writing as a hobby. I ended up getting a job as an English teacher to pay the bills during my time in University, which made me improve and adapt my teaching techniques. I loved the cinco anos (five years) I worked as an English teacher as well as my one year teaching Portuguese in two different schools in Brazil. While working as an English teacher I also had the opportunity of teaching both private and group Portuguese lessons to foreigners living in Brazil for two years. We had such a great time, especially on pronunciation lessons. Tip I picked up: talk to yourself in the espelho (mirror)! I know it will probably make you feel a bit silly, however, it will help you tons, especially if you can record yourself and listen to it later on looking for erros (mistakes). Repeating the same word or sentence a thousand of times will actually make you master the sounds, giving you the ability to use them for different words and sentences naturally. This happens because your brain makes a note for the future on what to do when those letras ou sons (letters or sounds) come together. Like everything else in life, a prática leva à perfeição (practice makes perfect).

Back to my story, after I moved to Ireland I started teaching in a escola (school) in Dublin. Because the copa do mundo (world cup) 2014 was about to take place many of my students were looking to learn Portuguese so as to be able to communicate better with people during their stay in Brazil. Photo by Kevin McGarryThere were also a couple of my students who needed Portuguese for work, as Brazil’s economy has become stronger. As a Portuguese course coordinator, I started to understand where the difficulties in learning Portuguese lie, so I believe this will help me explain gramática e pronúncia (grammar and pronunciation) in an easier way.

História e cultura (history and culture) are two very important aspects of a língua (language) as they are intrinsically connected, so do expect a lot of cultural aspects from my posts. I promise the cultural aspects chosen will never be boring and will always have a point to them. I am passionate about diferenças culturais (cultural differences) and as a result I am very happy this works out in favour of my goals here: helping people understand and speak Português brasileir o (Brazilian Portuguese).