Sandra Portella: Banho de Fé

Samba isn’t just Brazil’s most iconic cultural symbol, it’s also a useful lens. From its roots in Africa to its emergence in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, from attracting the most talented artists to inspiring pulsing love stories, from bringing together people of different classes and races to channeling (through Carnival) every aspect of Brazilian history, it reflects and radiates countless facets of the nation’s identity and soul. On Banho de Fé (Shower of Faith) … More Sandra Portella: Banho de Fé

Diogo Nogueira: Munduê

The samba artist Diogo Nogueira has reached new heights and greater depth with his fifth solo studio album: It’s the first collection for which he wrote or co-wrote all the songs (with A-list partners, including Hamilton de Holanda and Dona Ivone Lara) and it also establishes him as a scholar. Nogueira’s family history (father a leading sambista) and the observances of the samba centennial in 2016 fueled his desire to explore the genre’s roots in Afro-Brazilian … More Diogo Nogueira: Munduê

Denise Studart: Joia Rara

Though the songs on Joia Rara (Rare Jewel) have the feel of classics, the album’s 10 tracks are actually new compositions on a debut album. In her smooth, sweet voice, Denise Studart animates the works of composer Sandor Buys—samba and other Brazilian styles—in a seamless bonding of fresh and déjà vu. Peço licença (An Offer of Samba) has an Afro-samba swing, accentuated by percussion and seven-string guitar: “My samba is for anyone who’d like … More Denise Studart: Joia Rara

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

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