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Music of Brazil

Strong influences on the music of the South American country Brazil include musical forms from Africa, from India, from Portugal and from the natives of the Amazon rainforest[?] and of other parts of Brazil.

The earliest known descriptions of music in Brazil date from 1578, when Jean De Léry[?], a French Calvinist pastor, published Viagem ŕ Terra do Brasil[?] (Journey to the Land of Brazil). He described the dances and transcribed the music of the Tupi people. In 1587, Gabriel Soares de Sousa[?] wrote Tratado Descritivo do Brasil[?] about the music of several native Brazilian ethnic groups, including the Tamoios[?] and Tupinambás[?].

In 1739, Domingos Caldas Barbosa[?] wrote a series of modinhas[?] that were extremely popular; thus began Brazilian popular music.

Towards the end of the 18th century a form of comedic dance called bumba-meu-boi[?] became very popular. It was a musical retelling of the story of a resurrected ox. These dances are led by a chamador, who introduces the various characters. Instruments used include the Brazilian tambourine[?], the tamborim[?], the accordion and the acoustic guitar.

By the mid-1830s a form of dance and music called the lundu[?] had developed among slaves, and it quickly spread to the white middle-class.

In Rio de Janeiro in the 1870s a type of music called choro[?] (SHOEH-roeh) developed. Choro was usually instrumental and improvised, frequently including solos[?] by virtuosos. Originally, a choro band used two guitars and cavaquinho[?] (kah-vah-KEEN-nyoh), later picking up the bandolim[?] (ban-doe-LING), the clarinet and the flute. Famous choro musicians include Joaquim Antonio da Silva Calado Júnior[?], Valdir Azevedo[?], Jacob do Bandolim[?], Pixinguinha[?] and Chiquinha Gonzaga[?].

Antonio Carlos Jobim[?] and other 1950s composers helped develop a jazzy popular sound called bossa nova, which quickly spread across Brazil and to the rest of the world. By the late 1960s, artists like Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil added politically-charged lyrics amid the social turmoil of the time, thus beginning a genre called Tropicalia, eventually morphing into a more popular form, MPB[?] (musica popular Brasileira).

The late 1960s saw a revival of the choro, beginning in the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro. It has since gained a significant international audience.



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