This is a very small sample of our great favorites...of course, there are plenty more "new faces" in Brazilian music. All CDs donated to our site automatically become part of 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.
A note on the labels mentioned here: they are probably all gone at this point (with the exception of Putumayo) and we're not sure if the CDs are still in print under a different one.
If there is a Queen of Lapa, the musical/bohemian district of Rio...who would wear the crown? Nilze Carvalho or Teresa Cristina? Humm...very tough choice, so why not have them share it? Nilze is not only a fabulous singer, but also a master cavaquinho and bandolim player...If you're in Rio, you can also look for two other young singers: Letícia Tui and Roberta Sá.
We fell madly in love with Zélia Duncan
"Por onde andará Stephen Fry?" and "Vô Imbolá" by Zeca Baleiro. Zeca won my heart with the first one, winner of Brazil's Prêmio Sharp for Best CD and Best Song in 1998. Good-humored lyrics (try Heavy Metal do Senhor and Kid Vinil...) and great rhythms from his native state of Maranhão. After I bought his first CD I managed to find a recording of the folkloric group Bumba Meu Boi de Axixá and that too became one of my favorite dancing CDs. Thanks, Zeca, for making me discover the wonderful music of your neck of the woods!
"Pura Eu" by Via Negromonte, independent release. A gift from a friend turns out to be a little gem: a singer called Via Negromonte with a gorgeous voice and superb taste and, well, she brought in Marcos Suzano, Beto Cazes, Pedro Luis, and Sivuca...A class act, if we've ever heard one!
"Pérolas aos Povos" Rita Ribeiro, Putumayo. We're in love with lovely Rita and her infectious, joyful music. Like Zeca Baleiro, Rita comes from Maranhão and her CDs are a fusion of traditional rhythms and song forms from her native state with samba, reggae and forró. If you have a chance to catch one of her performances, don't miss it! She is charming and engaging. I find myself dancing to her songs everyday now. Some of my favorites are "Cocada" and "Banho Cheiroso."
"Aos Vivos" The American release of Chico's live recording that launched his career in Brazil in 1995. Chico needs no introduction at this point and we're really glad that his evocative (of the arid backlands of northeastern Brazil) and hauntingly beautiful songs are now available in the U.S.
"Chico César" on Putumayo. Presenting songs from his three Brazilian albums. The audio clip is Pedra de Responsa, co-written with Zeca Baleiro. Zeca's recording of this song in the CD reviewed below is beautiful, too!
Monica Salmaso has been our favorite Brazilian singer for ages and this is one of her best: "Alma Lírica Brasileira," released by Biscoito Fino in Rio. Hard to listen to right now...too much saudade in my heart!
Mônica Salmaso's "Iaiá" is also her best, a gem of a CD: impeccable song selection, brilliant arrangements, and, of course, la crème de la crème of Brazil's instrumentalists. Too bad "bestest" isn't a word, because I'd say this is one of the "bestest" CDs I've listened to of late. Kudos to this tremendously talented and intelligent singer from São Paulo. Released by Biscoito Fino in Rio.
Luciane Menezes is the artistic director of Jongo da Serrinha and also the leader of the group Pau da Braúna. A talented musician and singer, she's an intense young woman on a mission: the preservation of one of the oldest musical forms in Brazil, the jongo. As if that wasn't enough, they throw in lessons in xote, ciranda, maracatu, coco, samba-de-roda, lundu, baião, afoxé.
Maria Rita took home three Latin Grammys ® in 2004! She's the daughter of an icon (Elis Regina), on her way to well-deserved stardom...Don't miss the DVD, too! After seeing/hearing her on the beach in Rio...it's all true: she's sweet and graceful and, yes, she does sound a bit like her mom! I can also say that her fans range from teenagers to grandmas and they know her songs by heart!
She has embraced samba and become a constant presence on Rio's stages now.
Look for her recording of her mother's repertory!
Latin Grammy 2003 Nominee!!
"Seio da Bahia" by Vania Abreu. Vania is Daniela Mercury's sister and a wonderful singer in her own right. She stays away from the kind of music that made her sister famous and sings sambas from Rio, and compositions by northeasterners Ednardo and Zeca Baleiro. Her voice reminds me of Marisa Monte at times. She is "uma gracinha," too, really cute!
"Ed Motta: Manual Prático para Bailes, Festas e Afins" The master of Brazilian "funk." Ed is Tim Maia's nephew (and he looks like his uncle). A friend of mine said "I didn't know you liked this kind of music..." Well, call me eclectic if you wish, but Ed plays in my car and at home also quite a bit. He's been around a while, but may be a new face to Americans.
"Carol Saboya, Dança da Voz" This beautiful and talented young singer is the daughter of pianist/composer Antonio Adolfo from Rio de Janeiro. Carol has a gorgeous voice and she's going far, far...
You can read about Carol and listen to her on her website.
Back to Maria-Brazil.org