Great Brazilian Music


MPB is a short for “Música Popular Brasileira” (translated: “Brazilian Popular Music”). And as the name suggests, it is a very varied and multifaceted genre and it is also by far the biggest genre within Brazilian music. In practice, MPB is any kind of Brazilian music, that is neither traditional folk music, nor fits into any other clearly defined genre, like for example bossa nova, rock, manguebeat or soul. Generally MPB brings together elements of various Brazilian musical styles, often mixed with different kinds of international music genres.

MPB, as it is defined today, basically began during the 1960’s, with artists like Edu Lobo, Maria Bethânia, Elis Regina, Jorge Ben, Chico Buarque and Milton Nascimento. The real explosion of creativity within Brazilian music, however, occurred during the 1970’s, when all sorts of music styles were mixed, completely new styles were invented and uninhibited creativity was allowed to blossom. Among the most taletend, most successful and most exciting MPB artists during the 1970’s were, apart from the above mentioned, also Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Djavan, Novos Baianos, Tom Zé and Gal Costa. Ever since the 1970's, Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil have steadily reinvented themselves as artists and they both remain as two of Brazil's most beloved and admired figures in Brazilian music. Although already a huge star in the 1960’s, Chico Buarque gained depth both musically and lyrically during the 1970’s, when he produced some of his most brilliant albums. Gal Costa gradually moved away from the radical experimentalism of her tropicalismo years, turning into a more conventional (but no less exciting) MPB singer. Novos Baianos splendidly mixed rock, samba, choro and Brazilian hippie culture, while Djavan’s unique mix of samba and MPB earned him a position as one of Brazil’s leading artists for three decades.

With the dramatic rise of the Brazilian rock and pop during the 1980’s, the MPB scene saw few new rising starts during that decade. But the genre again experienced a surge of new blood during the 1990’s, not the least through the appearance of Marisa Monte, who has since become arguably the most popular female artist ever in Brazilian music. In the new millennium, artists like Céu has continued to develop the genre and also further blurred the lines between MPB and other genres, both modern ones like electronica, and traditional ones like samba.

Examples of MPB

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Clariô, Gal Costa, 1974
Leãozinho, Caetano Veloso, 1977
Umbabarauma, Jorge Ben, 1976
Brasil Pandeiro, Novos Baianos, 1972
Essa moça tá diferente, Chico Buarque, 1970
Flor de Lis, Djavan, 1976
Mano Caetano, Jorge Ben and Maria Bethânia, 1972
Milagreiro, Djavan and Zélia Duncan, 2002
Maria de Verdade, Marisa Monte, 1994
Sítio do Pica-Pau Amarelo, Gilberto Gil, 1974
, Tom Zé, 1975
Vento Bravo, Edu Lobo, 1973
Zazueira, Elis Regina, 1969
Sonho, Rodrigo Maranhão, 2010
Cangote, Céu, 2009
Vilarejo, Marisa Monte, 2006
O que será, Chico Buarque, 1976
Os Alquimistas, Jorge Ben, 1975
Meia-lua inteira, Caetano Veloso, 1989
Eu também quero beijar, Pepéu Gomes, 1980
Seo Zé, Carlinhos Brown, 1996
Carnavália, Tribalistas, 2002
Tatamirô, Vinícius de Morães & Toquinho, 1972






















Caetano Veloso

Elis Regina

Novos Baianos

Chico Buarque


Marisa Monte