When you go to a concert in Rio de Janeiro or Salvador, half the crowd is singing and clapping — everyone is part of the music, said Ty Hammes, founder of the Boulder-based samba reggae act, Sambadende.
“There’s a blending between the musicians and the crowd,” said Hammes, whose band is playing on June 20 at the St. Julian in Boulder during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
For such a large country, it’s not easy to paint Brazilian music with a broad brush — different regions have distinct styles and sounds. But one thing the entire country has in common is what music means for Brazilian culture.
“One of the roles of music in Brazil is identity. Brazilian people have a lot of pride and regardless of what part of brazil economically they are in they have a lot of pride, and a lot of that comes from the music. It creates a sense of identity. To be Brazilian is to know Brazilian music.”
Brazil has the largest music industry in Latin America and one of the largest markets in the world. While traditional Brazilian music is based in samba and bossa nova, you’ll find Coldplay, Amy Winehouse and Lana Del Rey on the top albums of iTunes Brazil. But, along with those familiar names might be some that American listeners might not recognize like Marisa Monte and Rodrigo Amarante, who range from traditional pop to indie-rock.
Based on our critic’s favorites, who is topping the charts and suggestions from Hammes, we put together a list of the contemporary and classical music of Brazil ahead of the World Cup.
Rodrigo Amarante – Singing in both Portuguese and English, Rodrigo Amarante’s gentle indie singer songwriter sound would fit in any Wes Anderson movie. His latest album, “Cavalo” is defined by his vintage-sounding vocals and Strokes-esque melodies. Amarante has collaborated with Marisa Monte, Devendra Banhart, members of the Strokes.
Seu Jorge – Speaking of Wes Anderson movies, if you’ve seen “The Life Aquatic” you’re familiar with Brazil’s Seu Jorge. For the film’s soundtrack, Jorge provided 14 stripped-down Portuguese covers of David Bowie songs. Trained in samba, Jorge has released seven albums since 2001, performed at the 2012 summer Olympics and has collaborated with Beck, Talib Kweli and others.
Marisa Monte – Having sold 10 million albums worldwide, Marisa Monte isn’t exactly what you’d call unknown, but there may still be some American audiences unfamiliar with the singer. Through 10 albums, Monte has recorded styles ranging from traditional samba, folk and musica popular brasileira, which is post-bossa nova urban pop music in Brazil. She has collaborated with David Byrne, Seu Jorge and Laurie Anderson.
Carlinhos Brown – Originally known as the founder of the popular group, Timbalada, Carlinhos Brown has had a successful solo career as a musician and producer. Brown’s style ranges from Tropicalia, reggae and traditional Salvadoran percussion. He has also been nominated for an Academy Award for his musical contributions to the film “Rio.”