Books About Brazilian Music in English

This is just a small selection; a lot are available in the U.S. You know where to look for them on the Web, right? Please note that all our books are now at the Sheila Thomson Collection of Brazilian Culture at Florida International University in Miami. That's the main reason why we keep these pages on the site, since we don't update them as often as we used to.

"The Berimbau, Soul of Brazilian Music" by Eric A. Galm. Whether you are a professional musician, a practitioner of capoeira, or just someone who loves Brazilian music, this engaging exploration of the instrument that has become an icon of Brazilian popular culture will entertain and enlighten you. Definitely on our list of must-haves!!

"The Brazilian Sound: Samba, Bossa Nova, and the Popular Music of Brazil" by Chris McGowan and Ricardo Pessanha. This is the new, updated edition of this llustrated, comprehensive guide to the rich musical culture of Brazil. It just keeps getting better. This is a major reference book about Brazilian music and you can get your copy from These days you can also follow Chris on Facebook.

"Samba" by Alma Guillermoprieto. New York: Vintage Books, 1991. Journalist and dancer Guillermoprieto joined the famous samba school Mangueira for a year. A story about carnaval but also an examination of the history and culture of black Brazilians.

masters.jpg (9347 bytes)"Masters of Brazilian Contemporary Song: MPB 1965-1985" by Charles A. Perrone. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1993. A scholarly (but don't be scared, it's eminently readable and fascinating!) approach to the lyrics of master songwriters Gil, Caetano, Chico Buarque, Milton Nascimento and the João Bosco/Aldir Blanc team. The book is best read to the sounds of their music, so you can put the whole picture together. But who doesn't have their songs anyway?

"WHY IS THIS COUNTRY DANCING? A ONE-MAN SAMBA TO THE BEAT OF BRAZIL" by John Krich. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993. The author travels through Brazil in search of an answer to this question. Encounters with famous and anonymous songwriters, a tour of Afro-Brazilian religions, and more.

"Música Brasileira: A History of Popular Music and the People of Brazil" by Claus Schreiner. New York: Marion Boyars Publishers Inc., 1993. Originally published in Germany in 1977, the book has been updated and translated into English. It's a wonderful compedium of Brazilian Popular Music, covering the folklore, choro and different types of samba, carnaval, instrumental groups, censorship, copyright, etc. You must add this one to your shelf like I'm doing.

"Making Simple Musical Instruments" by Bart Hopkin. Ashville, NC: Lark Books, 1995. If you want to make your own cuíca for carnaval, check this out. Bart shows how to build one from a coffee can! A friend gave this to me. The instructions are very clear, with plenty of illustrations, a list of materials and a playing guide! Try it and let me know how it works out!

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