Brazil is famous for its contagious energy. Whether it be the music, the culture or the colourful traditions, there is something about Brazilian creativity that exhibits a certain flair. We see this extraordinary ability of Brazilian people to astonish the world in many different ways. Some see it on the football pitch or in the sea on a wave, however it is undoubtable that over the course of time, Brazilian music has ignited the emotions of millions across the globe.
Reflective of the melting pot of culture that is Brazil, Brazilian music has been influenced by everything from African and European traditions to Indigenous cries and North American pop. Compositions in Brazil take the form of original and authentic Brazilian musical genres such as the famous Samba, Bossa Nova and Forró and lesser known styles such as Sertanejo, Pagode and Frevo.
Here, we have handpicked the Top 10 most beautiful Brazilian songs that will give you a taste for Brazilian musical style. From the most romantic Bossa Nova, to the liveliest Samba, add these to your playlist and enjoy the sounds of Brazil!
1)”Mas que nada” (1966) – Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66
Originally written by Jorge Ben in 1963 for his album “Samba Esquema Novo,” this beautiful composition experienced real success when it was covered by Sergio Mendes, especially in the USA. It is now famous all over the world and has been covered several more times including by “The Black Eyed Peas.”
2) “Domingos no parque” (1967) – Gilberto Gil and Os Mutantes
Born in Salvador de Bahia in 1942, Gilberto Gil became known worldwide as one of the legends of Bossa Nova. He was also Minister of Culture under the Lula government. This song tells the story of a friendship between José and João, two boys who fall in love with the same girl – Juliana. Eventually José sees João with his beloved and overcome by jealousy and grief, kills them both. An anticlimactic ending to a beautful song!
3) “Água de Beber” (1963) – Antônio Carlos Jobim
It is said that “Água de Beber” (drinking water) was written by Jobim when he was invited by then president of Brazil to Brasilia, the new capital which was under constuction. On a walk with Vinicius de Moraes close to the workplace of the president they asked a guard “que barulho de água é esse aqui?” (what is this sound of water?) to which he replied “É aqui que tem água de beber, camará.” (Here there is water to drink my friends).
4)”Carolina Bela” (1970) – Jorge Ben and Toquinho
One of the major successes of both Jorge Ben and Toquinho this song has been covered many times since its inception in 1970. The technical guitar intro is reflective of the protagonist’s mixed feelings towards “Carolina Bella.” His love for her makes him speak, lie, cry, and smile – all at the same time. The flair and technical ability required to play this song, really shows in this live version!
5)”Sorte Grande (Poeira)” (2003) – Ivete Sangalo
A lively classic “Axé” song, this one is certain to get you moving your feet. You will hear the influence of Samba – Reggae and electronic sounds, typical of this Bahian genre. Ivete Sangalo is a much loved Brazilian musician and a regular act at Carnval in Salvador. An interesting fact about this song is that it was brought to a world wide audience through the football videogame “Fifa 2005.”
6) “Ja sei namorar” (2002) – Tribalistas
A song from the album “Tribalistas.” The band is made up of Arnaldo Antunes, Marisa Monte and Carlinhos Brown. A very famous song that we never get tired of! A perfect start to a nice Brazilian day!
7) “Madagascar” (1987) – Olodum
Olodum is actually a “bloco” from the Carnival of Salvador de Bahia. It is also an NGO for the Brazilian black movement and a political activist group against discrimination. Loved dearly in Brazil and worldwide, their frantic but precise percussion has been featured with music legends such as Michael Jackson.
8) “Gostava tanto de vocé” (1973) – Tim Maia
Moving onto a piece from the Música popular Brasileira genre, this Tim Maia performance has won the hearts of many. Very popular in the 70´s Maia injected a hip and swing fuelled funk into the Brazilian music scene.
9) “Nana Banana” (1994) – Chiclete com Banana
Chiclete com Banana are another famous Axé band from Bahia, still active they tour around Brazil selling out shows throughout the country. When it comes to carnival time, expect to find between 6000 and 10, 000 people following their very own “Trio Elétrico!.”
10) “Andei Só” (2001) – Natiruts
Natiruts are Brazilian reggae band from Brasilia, they have been spreading their Brazilian twist on Jamaican roots – reggae music for over two decades now and their music is enjoyed in dancehalls and homes all over the country. They were also nominated for a Latin grammy.