What Is MPB?
Brazilian Major MPB Figures
Recommended MPB sampler
with Os Paralamas, Carlinhos Brown, Marina, Leila Pinheiro, Luiz Melodia, Lo
Borges, Nana Caymmi, Eliane Elias, Clara Nunes, Bragada, Paulinho da Viola,
Milton Nascimento, Djavan and Elis Regina.
Canta Brazil: The Great
There are many compilations of Brazilian pop
(MPB) for beginners in US record stores, ranging from downright awful to OK.
This one has all the biggest names (Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa,
Milton Nascimento) and better-than-average selections from each. It's important
to know what you're getting: quality popular music from the 70s and 80s by the
Brazilian equivalents of Barbara Streisand and James Taylor, not the latest
Afro-Brazilian Axe dance bands or traditional folk music. A good intro to the
Brazilian singers who have stood the test of time and are cultural icons across
generations. If I had to choose between this album and the similar "Beleza
Tropical" compiled by David Byrne, I'd choose this one.
--an Amazon reviewer
Some Leading MPB Figures
Jorge Benjor (Jorge
Brazilian Music Store
What Is MPB?
In late 1960s and early 1970s, a new group of composers and
musicians came into prominence in Brazil. Their music was dubbed MPB, an
acronym that stands for "Música Popular Brasileira." It refers to a whole
generation of artists such as Edu Lobo, Geraldo Vandré, Elis Regina, Chico
Buarque, Milton Nascimento, Dori Caymmi, Simone, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil,
Maria Bethânia, Gal Costa, Alceu Valença, Geraldo Azevedo, João Bosco, Ivan
Lins, and Djavan.
can refer to Brazilian popular music in general, but it has become a
common way to refer to these performers, whose music defies easy categorization.
It is intensely eclectic, varying greatly in style from artist to artist, and
developed from a collision of bossa nova, regional folk music, protest songs,
samba, rock and roll, the Tropicália movement, and other influences. These
elements were mixed together in such a way that the final result can not be
placed into any particular genre such as bossa, samba, forró, or rock. Instead,
it is a new category, and
MPB has proven to be a convenient label for it.
An especially important characteristic of
is their keen ability to combine compelling melodies, rich harmonies, varied
rhythms, and poetic lyrics. The popular music that they created from the 1960s
through the 1980s is among the best ever produced by one generation in any
country in the world. Most of the leading MPB musicians gained national fame in
a series of music festivals that began in the mid-1960s and coincided with the
early years of a brutal military dictatorship that would rule Brazil for
Excerpted from The Brazilian Sound: Samba, Bossa Nova
and the Popular Music Of Brazil (Temple University Press,
2nd edition, 1998)
© Chris McGowan & Ricardo Pessanha, 1991 -
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