|Carmen Miranda, Brazilian singer (1909-1955)|
Here is how the term "Música Popular Brasileira" (MPB) is defined by Wikipedia: "It is not a distinct genre but rather a combination of original songwriting and updated versions of traditional Brazilian urban music styles like samba and samba-canção with contemporary influences, like folk, rock, pop and jazz." In other words, it does not all sound alike, and that's one of the things that makes it so interesting.
I'll start with a singer whose music and voice I have found addictive: Marisa Monte. She has a rather large catalogue of CDs, also available as downloads from iTunes and Amazon. Among my favorites are "Universo Ao Meu Redor," "Infinito Particular," and "O Que Você Quer Saber De Verdade," her most recent release.
Here are two songs from the last album: Depois and Hoje Eu Não Saio Não. I love the whole album, but I chose two that give a good idea of the range of styles she uses.
You'd think that a band with the name Los Hermanos would be from a Spanish-speaking country, but they're Brazilian and they sing in Portuguese. Two of my favorite songs by them are: Ana Julia and Todo Carnaval Tem Seu Fim
The Titãs sing what we might call classic rock, but they also recorded a ballad called Epitáfio, which is the only song of theirs I'm really familiar with. I listen to it a lot.
Another band with a more modern rock sound is the Raimundos, whose song Mulher de Fases is the theme song of the HBO Brasil series of the same name.
Elevador by André Abujamra is another ballad which has a haunting melody and lyrics that you can probably understand because he sings it slowly enough.
Aguas de Março is from a wonderful CD entitled "Elis and Tom" by Elis Regina and Antonio Carlos Jobim. The entire album is a classic that belongs in everyone's collection, even if they don't speak a word of Portuguese and don't think that they like Brazilian music. If you don't smile and start moving around at least a little bit when you hear this music, you'd better check your pulse.
Another classic from the 60's is Getz/Gilberto, which contains the famous Girl From Ipanema, but my favorite is Desafinado. This is another album that belongs in everyone's collection.
Returning to more recent recordings, Marcelo Jeneci has a sound that we might call alternative rock. Two songs from his CD Feito Pra Acabar are Copa D'água and Jardim do Éden.
Thiago Pethit has a style that's hard to pin down, but I guess it's fair to call him an independent singer/songwriter, as he has issued his latest album, "Berlim, Texas," independent of any recording company. Mapa-Mundi and Não Se Va are both outstanding.
I've also become a big fan of Tiê, whose latest album "A Coruja e o Coração" includes the following tracks: Eu Só Sei Dançar Com Você and Pra Alegrar O Meu Dia. She's another singer/songwriter whose voice and music are both immediately accessible, but whose appeal grows the more you listen.
My last three selections are all singers whose genre is officially classified as "sertanejo universitario" and who have achieved huge popularity among a very young audience in Brazil.
First, we have Michel Teló, whose YouTube video of "Ai Se Te Pego" has been viewed more than 370,000,000 times. Yes, you read that right, that's over a third of a billion times. Love it or hate it, it's got a catchy tune, repetitive lyrics (you'll learn them just from hearing them over and over so much), and he puts on a good show.
The same is true of Gusttavo Lima, whose "Balada Boa" has so many YouTube incarnations that it's difficult to know how many viewers have seen one of them, but it looks as if it's over 50,000,000.
Finally, there's Luan Santana, who has several albums out. Here's one song:
Você Não Sabe O Que É Amor.
It's easy to dismiss these last three singers as teen-age idols, but their songs are catchy and the lyrics will help you build up your skills with informal Brazilian Portuguese!
I've tried to offer a good variety of Brazilian music here, but I'm still very new to this, and I know I have just scratched the surface. I hope that you'll find something here that you enjoy, because I'm finding that listening to Brazilian music can be an effective and highly enjoyable way to get to know the sounds of the language.