It is time to give Brazil its due!
Music is Brasil’s greatest cultural gift to the world. For Brazilians music is more than entertainment—it is almost a life force, a soundtrack to life, a constant ambiance of rhythm and melody that enriches and supports people through good times and bad.
Brazil has been virtually synonymous with music since bossa nova–the powerful mix of samba, jazz and sophisticated yet romantic lyrics–took the world by storm in the late 1950’s. In the ensuing years, Brazilian music has never really stopped speaking to the world, though the world may have stopped listening. Still some cultural observers argue music has been the primary cultural export of Brazil ever since but only a few of us happened to notice.
Musicians across the globe have discovered or rediscovered the Brazilian sound. Each musician in turn becomes an entry point for his audience, increasing the popularity of and awareness to Brazilian music. So a very broad audience–ranging from baby boomers to generation X to millennials–is newly exposed or re-exposed to the Brazilian sound.
The catchphrase of one Rio-based music channel says it all: “No one can resist our music.” Gilberto Gil, the talented musician and former Minister of Culture said, “On any corner you can find the Brazilian influence in American music.” Another commentator put it more succinctly: “If there were a world cup for music, Brazil would be in the final.”