Is hip hop popular in Brazil

Music & dance in Brazil

The musical diversity of Brazil

The rhythmic dynamic of Brazilian music comes from the indigenous people of the South American continent, who accompanied their religious rituals with a mixture of rattles, shakers and panpipes.

From the 17th century, the slaves from Africa brought the religious candomblé rituals into the country and with them the passionate drumming. The Portuguese conquerors also brought their instruments with them to Brazil, including the cavaquinho (a small guitar), bagpipes, piano, viola, harp and mandolin. The German accordion also found its way into Brazilian folk music, which you can still see for yourself today at the folk festivals in the south of the country.

The most important styles of the Brazilian musical tradition are Samba, Bossa Nova, Tropicália, Sertanejo and Choro. Some of these keywords have made Brazil world famous. They stand for musical styles that are unmistakably Brazilian.

From the beginning, rhythmic body movements also flowed into Brazilian music, especially inspired by the dances of African slaves. Dance rhythms such as the polka and the mazurka were imported from Europe and, over time, developed into the maxixe, the Brazilian form of tango.

In the 20th century, more and more new forms of Brazilian music emerged, some of which are now played worldwide.


Choro originated in the 19th century as a fusion of popular European music (waltz, polka, mazurka) with Afro-Brazilian rhythms. Choro is a happy genre of music, although the name Choro means "to cry" when translated.

The high tempo and the rhythms of the choro are reminiscent of the samba, which also became something like its legitimate successor. Famous choro artists include Joaquim Calado (1848–1880) and Pixinguinha (1897–1973).


The samba originally comes from Africa and is now the symbolic music genre of Brazil. At the beginning of the 20th century, samba was still considered the music of former slaves and African religions and was frowned upon in large parts of the Brazilian population.

The carnival in cities like São Paulo, Recife, Salvador and Rio de Janeiro gave rise to new samba songs. Today the samba is an integral part of Brazilian culture and every year it experiences its climax at the Carnival of Rio de Janeiro.

Some of the most famous artists are Cartola (1908–1980), Zeca Pagodinho and Martinho da Vila.

Bossa Nova

In 1958, the brand new sound called Bossa Nova conquered the Brazilian music scene and eventually the rest of the world. The guitarist, singer and composer Joao Gilberto (1931–2019) is considered to be the inventor of bossa nova, but he became really famous through Antônio Carlos Jobim (1927–1994) and Vinícius de Moraes (1913–1980) with their world hit »The Girl from Ipanema ”(A Garota de Ipanema).

The Bossa Nova combined acoustic bass with classical guitar, drums and piano, creating a new pop genre with elements of samba and American jazz.


With Tropicalismo (also called Tropicália) the next musical movement developed in the 1960s, at a time when Brazil was undergoing political upheaval.

The strict military dictatorship that ruled the country at that time felt threatened by the texts of Tropicalismo, which were perceived as rebellious, and two of the most famous artists - Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil - were exiled for a year.

Tropicalismo ties in directly with bossa nova, but mixes it with various other influences. Typical of the Tropicália style is the song by Caetano Veloso "Alegria, Alegria". Other important artists were Tom Zé, Chico Buarque, Gal Costa and Maria Bethânia.

MPB (Música Popular Brasileira)

MPB is modern Brazilian pop music. Pop, rock and jazz are often mixed with Brazilian elements, which leads to a unique sound. Some of the most famous artists in this genre are Tim Maia and Jorge Ben.


São Paulo is the most important metropolis for electronic dance music. Rio de Janeiro stands for innovative surprises in the field of electronic music. When you listen to Rio Funk you will understand immediately.

Hip-hop and rap

The Brazilian rap and hip-hop movement originated in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo in the 1980s. The texts mostly dealt with social inequality, crime and the police.

Some of the most famous artists are Racionais MC's, Criolo, Projota, Rashid, Felipe Ret and Emicida.


Axé music comes from northeastern Brazil and is an integral part of Salvador's street carnival. Axé has roots in African, Caribbean and Brazilian music and was inspired by different styles such as Calypso, Reggae and Marcha.

Famous Axé artists are Ivete Sangalo, Asa de Águia, Chiclete com Banana, Banda Eva, Daniela Mercury and Claudia Leite.


Sertanejo is a style of music that originated in rural Brazil in the 1920s. The music is most widespread in São Paulo, Mato Grosso, Minas Gerais and Paraná, but is played across the country.

Most of the time Sertanejo is sung by a duo. In the often sappy lyrics, it is mostly about love, similar to German folk music.

Well-known Sertanejo musicians are Luan Santana, Chitãozinho & Xororó and Zezé Di Camargo & Luciano.

Brazilian dances


The forró is a style of music and couple dance that originally comes from northeastern Brazil. In the meantime it has conquered the whole country and is considered the most popular dance for couples among Brazilians.

Forró is quite easy to learn and can be danced both slowly and quickly. Especially at the June festivals (Festas Juninas) you have the opportunity to convince the Brazilians of your forró arts.


Capoeira is a unique mix of dance and martial arts. Originally it was a self-defense technique of the slaves, but developed into a martial art that now has followers all over the world. Capoeira is accompanied by berimbau (one-sided musical bow), tambourines and drums.


The maxixe (also known as Brazilian tango or mattchiche) is a dance that originated in Rio de Janeiro in 1868, around the same time that tango spread in neighboring Argentina and Uruguay. Maxixe developed from Afro-Brazilian dances (mainly the Lundu) and from European dances (Polka).


Jongo (also known as Caxambu) is native to Angola in Africa. The dance is considered to be the forerunner of samba. Lively and spirited, Jongo is danced by a harmonious group of people who sing and play simple instruments.


Carimbó is an indigenous dance that is native to the state of Pará in northern Brazil. At Carimbó, men and women dance together in a circle to the beat of a few simple but rhythmic instruments.

Carioca funk

Carioca funk is a mixture of Miami bass and African music that creates a dark sound. The dance style is especially popular with women at funk parties (baile funks) and is reminiscent of twerking from the USA due to the pronounced hip movements.


Bumba-meu-boi is a traditional dance from the north of the country that is performed every year at the festival of the same name. The theatrical dance is very lively and is performed in a circle with many elaborate costumes.