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!