Everyone has heard about samba and bossa nova, but Brazil has much more to offer beyond that. I decided to do a list of artists of all kinds to help you become familiar with the Brazilian musical culture and for those who don’t like samba or bossa nova to discover other genres that perhaps pleases them. The list has traditional and modern artists.
The artists are divided by musical style; they are from different decades and there is no preference order.
The axé is a musical genre of Bahia that arose during the carnival and mixes rhythms such as forró, maracatu, etc.
Ivete Sangalo – Probably the most charismatic singer of this list, with songs that stick in the head and full of energy.
Daniela Mercury – responsible for the popularization of this kind of music in Brazil.
Netinho – one of the most important representatives of the genre.
Bossa nova is a rhythm that mixes samba and jazz, emerged in Rio de Janeiro in the 50s.
Tom Jobim – Considered the greatest exponent of Brazilian music, he was one of the composers of the famous song “Girl from Ipanema“.
Vinicius de Moraes – besides a great composer, he was also a great poet and playwright. In partnership with Tom Jobim he created the famous song “Girl from Ipanema“.
João Gilberto – great composer, who presented the Brazilian music to the world, considered one of the greatest artists in the history of Brazilian music.
MPB means “Brazilian Popular Music“, emerged as a counter point to the Bossa Nova, they sought to value the original Brazilian music. Today, it covers a wide range of artists from different genres.
Elis Regina – famous by her impressive interpretations, the greatest icon of MPB.
Chico Buarque – great composer, known for the great performances on stage.
Gilberto Gil – innovative singer, blends various musical genres such as reggae, samba and forró.
Tim Maia – singer known for controversial statements, hoarse voice and soul style.
Zelia Duncan – talented singer who sings many different rhythms.
Milton Nascimento – known for great compositions and partnerships with Brazilian and foreign artists.
Djavan – singer known for simple, but touching compositions.
Caetano Veloso – one of the most influential artists of Brazilian music, known for the reinterpretation and poetry in his songs.
Arnaldo Antunes – great composer known for the alternative style.
Roberto Carlos – favorite singer of all mothers and grandmothers of Brazil, known for the rock songs from the 60s and romantic music produced after the 70s.
Marisa Monte – one of the best known and award-winning singers, both in Brazil and abroad.
Seu Jorge – supertalented singer and actor. Loved by all foreigners I know.
Jorge Ben Jor – one of the most important voices of the Brazilian music, his style doesn’t follow any particular genre, instead he mixes several different styles.
Ana Carolina – singer of the younger MPB generation with a powerful voice.
Toquinho – singer-songwriter with several famous compositions.
Adriana Calcanhoto– singer-songwriter of different styles.
Maria Rita – daughter of Elis Regina, is considered as one of the great interpreters of Brazil today.
Mallu Magalhães – one of the youngest singers of this list, but already recognized as a great singer-songwriter.
Céu – talented singer with various musical influences such as samba, jazz and R&B.
Tulipa Ruiz – is one of the great composers of the new MPB generation.
Erasmo Carlos – one of the most successful composers in Brazil.
Dorival Caymmi – one of the most important names in Brazilian music of the twentieth century.
Lenine – the singer navigates between rock and MPB, one of the most important Brazilian composers.
Maria Gadú – success of critic and audience, a talented singer of the new MPB generation.
Ney Matogrosso – with a distinctive voice, the singer cannot be put in any particular musical style.
Zé Ramalho – singer who mixes very well Brazilian styles with rock, blues and folk.
Vanessa da Mata – awarded singer of the new MPB generation.
Lulu Santos – a big hits composer with songs that please everyone.
Kid Abelha – one of the most successful pop bands in the 80s.
Sandy – she began to sing still as a child with her brother, and today is known for her perfect vocal technique and beautiful compositions.
Wanessa – went through different rhythms in her career, but became really successful with the pop-dance songs.
Jota Quest – is one of the most played pop-rock bands from Brazil.
Silva – pop singer best quality.
Marcelo D2 – singer known for mixing samba and rap.
Racionais Mc’s – band known for denouncing social problems.
Negra Li – singer with a beautiful voice that goes beyond rap.
Rappin ‘Hood – one of the most respected rappers in Brazil.
Criolo – one of the best Brazilian rappers that diversifies with different rhythms.
Projota – is one of the promises of the Brazilian rap.
Emicida – one of the most talented rappers that emerged in Brazil in the last decade.
Legião Urbana – the most successful rock band in Brazil, the band was headed by the singer Renato Russo, talented songwriter.
Raul Seixas – was one of the pioneers of the Brazilian rock, known for psychedelic style and for mixing rock and baião.
Note: The baião is a Northeast Brazilian rhythmic formula that became the basis of a wide range of music, such as, the forró.
Titãs – one of the biggest Brazilian rock bands, known for the post-punk style.
Barão Vermelho – Banda started by Cazuza, later leaded by the singer Roberto Frejat.
Cazuza – singer known for great lyrics that are still successful.
Cássia Eller – performer known for hoarsely voice and energy on stage.
Los Hermanos – alternative rock band with great lyrics.
Pato Fu – Alternative rock band with many experimentalism.
Arnaldo Baptista – original member of the “Os Mutantes”, known for the progressive rock style.
Paralamas do Sucesso – one of the most popular Brazilian rock bands, famous for the ska and pop-rock styles.
Sepultura – the most successful metal band in Brazil.
Camisa de Vênus – punk-rock band that was very successful in the 80s.
O Rappa – band known for style that mixes rap and rock, with many lyrics that denounce social problems.
Ira – one of the most important rock bands of São Paulo in the 80s.
Capital Inicial – band formed in the early ’80s, going from punk to pop-rock.
Rita Lee – one of the most influential singers in Brazil, known as “the Queen of Rock”.
Tihuana – rock band with various influences, including Latin music.
Angra – one of the most influential metal bands of Brazilian history.
Nando Reis – former member of the band Titãs, is one of the most sought after composers in Brazil.
Pitty – currently the only prominent women in the Brazilian rock.
Malta – the newest rock band in this list became famous after winning a television program.
Skank – the band went through various styles of rock, but was known for pop-rock and ska styles.
RPM – one of the most successful rock bands in the 80’s.
Nação Zumbi – rock band that makes several experiments with other genres.
Engenheiros do Hawaii – rock band known for ironic lyrics and criticism.
Bikini Cavadão – another rock band of great success that originated in the 80s.
Musical style derived from African dances, became the symbol of the Brazilian music.
Cartola – considered by many as the greatest Brazilian “sambista”.
Paulinho da Viola – one of the most respected “sambistas” from Brazil, also known by the “choro” songs.
Note: Choro (“cry”),is an instrumental Brazilian popular music genre which originated in 19th century Rio de Janeiro.
Elza Soares – one of the most respected samba singers.
José Bezerra da Silva – singer who used the samba to denounce social problems.
Beth Carvalho – known for great interpretations and for having sponsored several talented singers.
Zeca Pagodinho – charismatic and talented singer, a national unanimity.
Diogo Nogueira – one of the most talented “sambistas” of the new generation.
Alexandre Pires – singer known for the romantic lyrics.
Nelson Cavaquinho – one of the most traditional samba composers, with more tragic themes, such as death and hopelessness.
Carlinhos Brown – controversial singer and cultural activist.
Olodum – group that innovated mixing reggae and samba.
When foreigners ask me what is “Sertanejo”, I answer: Brazilian country.
Daniel – singer who mixes the traditional sertanejo and romantic songs.
Chitãozinho & Xororó – one of the most traditional sertanejo duos of Brazil.
Sérgio Reis – one of the oldest and most respected singers of sertanejo music.
Victor & Leo – one of the most successful duos in the current Brazilian market.
Jorge & Matheus – the most successful duo nowadays in Brazil.
César Menotti & Fabiano – another sertanejo duo that is very successful today.
Michel Teló – no matter where you live in the world, you’ve probably heard this song:
Paula Fernandes – one of the most successful singers of Brazil, she mixes pop and sertanejo music.
Fernando & Sorocaba – one of the most influential duos of the new sertanejo generation.
Tonico & Tinoco – duo that represents the traditional sertanejo.
Other musical styles
Luiz Gonzaga – is the most important artist of Northeastern music, known as “the King of Baião”.
Natiruts – is the biggest reggae band in Brazil.
Tribo de Jah – another precursor of the reggae in Brazil.
Chimarruts – famous band that mixes reggae and pop.
Aviões do Forró – one of the most played bands of “electronic forró” in Brazil.
Pixinguinha – made various types of music, but is best known for “choro” music.
Otto – singer with various influences, one of the precursors of the so-called manguebeat.
Note: The manguebeat was cultural movement that focused on music, mixing regional rhythms of Brazilian Northeast, such as maracatu, frevo, coco and forró, with rock, hip hop, funk and electronic music.
Do you know Brazilian music? Which of these is your favorite?