Travel Guides

A Gringo’s Guide to Brazilian Music

After getting such outrageous comments on the “Gringo’s Guide to Brazilian Booty Music” video, I decided that I’d help my gringos out with a blog on all things música Brasileira.

I’m by no means an expert in this subject, but as a Brazilian, it’s inevitable that I was surrounded by drums, tambourines and booty shaking growing up. I’m sure that no matter where you live, you’ve heard some type of Brazilian music. Let me edumacate you on what your ears have already been exposed to.

You might have heard Bossa Nova classics while sipping a martini in a trendy lounge, or on the opposite end of the spectrum, Funk music that made you drop it like it was hot in the middle of a nightclub. As cheese-tastic as this sounds, our music is just as diverse as we are.

Get ready to update your iTunes after reading this blog.

Bossa Nova


If you want to listen to classic Brazilian music, this is the genre for you. Bossa Nova has poetic lyrics with calming strings of acoustic guitars, and songs are usually speaking about melancholy love and profound life. Deep.

Vinicius de Moraes – Para Viver Um Grande Amor

Bebel Gilberto – Samba da Benção

Tom Jobim – Wave

João Gilberto – Desafinado

Antônio Carlos Jobim – Brazil

Elis Regina – Águas de Março

Maria Rita – Num Corpo Só – (Elis Regina’s daughter)

Chico Buarque – Bom Tempo

Caetano Veloso – Sozinho

Toquinho – Aquarela

MPB – Musica Popular Brasileira

Lapa steps

This stye of music is exactly what it sounds like… popular Brazilian music. In any traditional Brazilian churrasco (our version of a BBQ), you’ll hear songs from this genre in the background.

 Djavan – Samurai

Marisa Monte – Bem  Que Se Quis

Gonzaguinha – O Que é, O Que é

Alcione – Garoto Maroto 

Seu Jorge – Tive Razão

Novos Baianos – Acabou Chorare

Gilberto Gil – Vamos Fugir

Lulu Santos – Como Uma Onda no Mar

Axé Musica


Axé comes from Salvador, Bahia and has influences from Afro-Caribbean styles of music, cause yes, Brazilians have more African influence than you may know. When you listen to Axé, you’ll realize this music is all about feeling the good vibes, jumping around and lettin’ loose.

Ivete Sangalo – Sorte Grande

Daniela Mercury – O Canto da Cidade

Banda Eva – Nosso Amor é Lindo 

Chiclete Com Banana – Quero Chiclete

Cláudia Leitte – Tarraxinha



Pagode is the style of music where the Samba is seen at its best. If you’re Brazilian, you know that pagodinho is all about cerveja, chope, vadiagem, which translates to drinking a crap ton of beer to disturb the peace while having a damn good time. Also the kind of music you’ll listen to at a churrasco.

Revelação – Sina

Fundo de Quintal – Pot-pourri

Jorge Aragão – O Barraco Desabou

Thiaginho -Caraca Muleke

Zeca Pagodinho – Deixa Vida me Levar



Brazilian rap is pretty much similar to rap of any other country… just in a different language.

Gabriel o Pensador – 2345meia78

Criolo – Convoque Seu Buda



Funk Carioca comes from Rio de Janeiro’s favelas. This is “get down and dirty” kind of music that has some seriously nasty lyrics and even more provocative dance moves. Parental advisory my friends.

Cidinho & Doca – Rap Das Armas

MC Créu – Dança do Créu

MC Frank – Cabelo Encolheu

MC Guime – País do Futebol



Sertanejo can be compared to American “country” music which means that it isn’t exactly my favorite…But apparently the rest of the world likes it. It’s also the most played genre on Brazilian radio. Here’s one you’ll definitely know.

Michel Teló – Ai se eu te Pego 

Henrique e Juliano – Cuida Bem Dela

Jorge e Mateus – Nocaute

Luan Santana – Tanto Faz



These are the artists and songs that are are poppin’ right now.

Anitta – Na Batida

Valesca Popozuda – Beijinho no Ombro


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  • Pollyanna Lacerda

    Very good post. Is cool to know how the brazilians outside of Brazil see our music, and is great to know that other people want to learn about it. Anitta and Valesca Popozuda is funk. We have differents types of funk: Funk ostentação, Funk Proibidão, Funk melody, funk consciente and others… I hate funk so I didn’t understand very much about it.

    Jo I wanna tell you that I’m unlike you because I born in USA but grew up in Brazil. 🙂
    Is being so great watch you guys!!!