Flavia Coelho: Sonho Real

She is innocent and wise, a nomad and a poet, an alchemist of styles whose music is more colorful than the sum of its parts. Flavia Coelho, a girl from the slums of Rio de Janeiro who sang in the Paris métro and emerged a star, had none of the resources but all the energy and talent she needed. On Sonho Real (Dream Come True), her third album, she mixes elements of forró, ska, reggae and dub, spins … More Flavia Coelho: Sonho Real

Pauline Croze: Bossa Nova

When bossa nova swept the world, no country was more receptive than France. Marcel Camus’ Oscar-winning film Black Orpheus—music by Tom Jobim and Luiz Bonfá—channeled the Brazilian wave to new audiences. French artists translated and sang bossa nova anthems, and some composed original music in the genre. Sixty years later, the beat goes on. After three solid albums of pop/folk groove, French singer-guitarist Pauline Croze has taken on the bossa nova canon with poise … More Pauline Croze: Bossa Nova

Roberta Sá: Delírio

It’s no surprise that samba featured prominently at the Rio Olympics. But in the 100 years of Brazil’s iconic music form —the first song was registered in November 1916—samba has often struggled for respect. The singer-songwriter-novelist Chico Buarque remembers a critic who called him a sambista in a belittling way he took as an insult. When Carmen Miranda conquered Hollywood some Brazilians turned up their noses, at least in part because … More Roberta Sá: Delírio

Hellen Caroline: Meu Jeito de Ser

On the strength of Hellen Caroline’s first album in 2014, critics and Brazilian fans dubbed her “the Princess of Pagode.” The title didn’t win her a pair of glass slippers but the album helped her break the glass ceiling of a musical genre that was almost exclusively male. Pagode is breezy offshoot of samba that emerged from the neighborhood squares and backyards of Rio de Janeiro in the late 1970s, relying on the cavaquinho … More Hellen Caroline: Meu Jeito de Ser

Paula Fernandes: Amanhecer

Life is a balancing act, even for overachievers like Paula Fernandes, one of Brazil’s most accomplished and celebrated singer-songwriters. In addition to selling more than 10 million albums, she regularly appears on lists like “most beautiful” and “most Googled.” Part of her charm is the balance between a deep, seductive voice and her farm-girl innocence; part of her struggle is juggling fame and fortune with bouts of depression, about which she has spoken openly … More Paula Fernandes: Amanhecer

Diogo Nogueira: Porta-voz da Alegria

When a knee injury put an end to Diogo Nogueira’s soccer career, he went into the family business—samba. Son of a renowned sambista, Diogo grew up in the heart of Rio de Janeiro’s musical culture. Since launching his career in 2007 he has won four Latin Grammy Awards; composed for Portela, one of the leading samba schools in Rio’s annual Carnaval; and performed on Copacabana beach on New Year’s Eve … More Diogo Nogueira: Porta-voz da Alegria

Paula Fernandes: Encontros Pelo Caminho

Listening Post 4. Sertanejo—Brazilian country music—is as dominated by male voices today as American country was in the 1950s. The outstanding exception is Paula Fernandes, who has built her popularity on her sweet-and-low voice, her songwriting and her farm-fresh persona. Encontros Pelo Caminho (Encounters Along the Way), her seventh album, is a collection of collaborations … More Paula Fernandes: Encontros Pelo Caminho