Great Brazilian Music

The Music of Southern Brazil

Brazil’s southern region is the part of the country that is most influenced by European culture, with its cities and communities largely founded by Italian, German, Ucranian, Portuguese and Spanish immigrants. The European heritage is clearly reflected in the region's folk music. Guitar and accordeon are traditionally the two dominating instruments in the Southern Brazilian music and dance styles, such as fandango, cana-verde, chimarrita, chote, malambo, maçanico, chamamê, milonga, ratoeira, ranchoeira, vira and vanera.

Several of these music styles are very much inspired by Iberian guitar music. This is especially true for the Brazilian fandango, which is very similar to the its Iberian cousin. Brazilian fandango can be presented both with and without vocals and in its instrumental form it strongly resembles classical Iberian guitar music, with its technically very skilled guitarists.

The geographic proximity to the Spanish speaking countries of Argentina and Uruguay has also left its mark on the music of southern Brazil – especially the popular music of the southernmost of all Brazilian states; Rio Grande do Sul.

Through the intense cultural exchange between southern Brazil and Argentina and Uruguay, the originally Argentine music and dances of malambo, chamamê and milonga were adapted and incorporated into the south Brazilian folk music tradition at a very early stage. Malambo consists of flamenco-like guitar music backed up by foot-stomping, while chamamê is performed on accordion and guitar and has distinct similarities with Argentine tango music. While Argentinean milonga is very much characterized by fiery elegance, the Brazilian version is much more danceable and can be described as a mix between tango and forró, with guitar and accordion as the two main backing instruments.

The rancheira is a lively, local form of the European dance/music style of mazurka, while the vanera has its roots in the famous Cuban habanera, which was introduced in southern Brazil during the 19th century, where it was speeded up to better suit the musical tastes of the south Brazilian dancing crowds of the time.

Examples of tropicalist music

Click to listen:
Chimarrão, Vitor Ramil, 2010
Milonga de los morenos, Vitor Ramil and Caetano Veloso, 2010

Obrigado Patrão Velho, Os Oliveiras








Building in Blumenau, southern Brazil.

Folk dance from the state of Rio Grande do Sul.

Folk dance from the state of Rio Grande do Sul.