Genre Detail

    Music assumes a significant role in Brazilian life, and Brazil's popular music is as wide as the nation itself and as diverse as its people.

    The music of Brazil encompasses various regional musical styles influenced by African, European and Amerindian forms. The remarkable aspect of Brazilian music is that so many genres are unique to the nation – bossa nova, samba, and sertanejo to name just a few. 


    MPB or Música popular Brasileira is a combination of instrumental music with singing. Some of the most famous artists in this genre include Tim Maia, Chico Buarque, and Jorge Ben.



    MPB, loosely understood as a "style", debuted in the mid-1960s, with the acronym being applied to types of non-electric music that emerged following the beginning, rise and evolution of bossa nova. MPB artists and audiences were largely connected to the intellectual and student population, causing later MPB to be known as "university music."


    Like bossa nova, MPB was an attempt to produce a "national" Brazilian music that drew from traditional styles. MPB made a considerable impact in the 1960s, thanks largely to several televised music festivals. 

    The beginning of MPB is often associated with Elis Regina's interpretation of Vinícius de Moraes and Edu Lobo's "Arrastão." In 1965, one month after celebrating her 20th birthday, Elis appeared on the nationally broadcast Festival de Música popular Brasileira and performed the song. Elis recorded Arrastão and released the song as a single, which became the biggest selling single in Brazilian music history at that time and catapulted her to stardom. This brought MPB to a national Brazilian audience and many artists have since performed in the style over the years.


    The earliest MPB borrowed elements of the bossa nova and often relied on thinly veiled criticism of social injustice and governmental repression, often based on progressive opposition to the political scene characterized by military dictatorship, concentration of land ownership, and imperialism.


    Many of the albums on Rolling Stone Brazil's list of the 100 greatest Brazilian albums fall under this style.


    Well-known MPB artists include, among many others, singers such as Elis Regina, Gal Costa, Nara Leão, Maria Bethânia, Mônica da Silva, Simone, Chico Buarque, Caetano Veloso, Roberto Carlos, Jorge Ben Jor, Milton Nascimento, Gilberto Gil, João Bosco, Ivan Lins, Djavan.



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