Música Popular Brasileira (mpb) - Brazilan Pop Music, Famous Singers, And The Relationship With Rio De Janeiro, Cidade Maravilhosa
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Música Popular Brasileira (mpb)  -  Brazilan Pop Music, Famous Singers, And The Relationship With Rio De Janeiro, Cidade Maravilhosa

Música Popular Brasileira [Brazilian Popular Music] is like no other genre in the history of international pop music. It is the darling of Cariocas (the residents of Rio de Janeiro, also called "cidade maravilhosa"), a source of great pride and patriotism, and it is no wonder – some of the songs, rhythms, beats and personalities it has created are unparalleled in musical history.

One of its intriguing and distinguishing characteristics is that it is a fusion and intermingling of genres that emerged before it and alongside it, continuing to develop with the alacrity and openness of the inhabitants and culture that surround it.

The complex origin of the genre is hard to pinpoint, but it certainly has its roots in the colonial period, with its fusion of indigenous and imported styles. Influences in this period were diverse and eclectic: African and indigenous, military fanfares, religious chants and hymns, and European classical music.

In the 18th and 19th Century two central styles that would pave the way to the formation of the MPB genre emerged: Iundu, an African rhythm, with a strong and sensuous beat; and Modinha, of Portuguese origin, which was slow-paced, melancholic and erudite, and mainly treated topics relating to love.

In the late 19th Century Choro, or Chorinho arose, synthesizing these forms with European ballroom melodies. In the 1920s and 1930s, the early decades of the radio, popularity and access to music exploded, and in the late 1950s, Bossa Nova began to arise - a sophisticated, experimental and jazz-infused style, which brought Brazilian music to the international stage.

In the 1960s a new phase of music arose in conjunction with the growing popularity of the television and its expansive and democratizing function.

MPB blossomed on to the stage in 1966 – thought of by many as ‘second-wave’ bossa nova - and influenced at that time most notably by samba and rock. It materialized out of great political unrest under the military dictatorship, from and amidst demonstrations, violence and censorship.

Although born of bossa nova, it was also in many ways a form of counter-culture, a rejection of its predecessor’s sophistication and inaccessibility. MPB emerged as a democratic art form, ‘popular’, accessible and unifying.

Rio was at the heart of the blossoming of this heralded national symbol, and amongst some of the seminal names in

names in Carioca MPB music

are:

Chico Buarque: Born in Rio in 1944, Chico is one of the biggest names in Brazilian music, and is also a successful novelist and playwright. Amongst his most celebrated songs are “Construção” [Construction], and João e Maria [João and Maria].

Caetano Veloso: Although born in Bahia in 1942, Caetano re-settled in Rio de Janeiro, where he remains today. He is referred to by many as the Bob Dylan of Brazil and was an influential figure in Brazilian politics throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s. Amongst his most celebrated songs are “Alegria, alegria” [Joy, joy] and “O leãozinho” [Little lion].

Maria Bethânia: Bethânia has a discreet charm and allure, and was amongst some of the most important names in the early development of MPB. Although not from Rio, born in Bahia in 1946, one of her most vibrant and beloved songs is “Rio de Janeiro (Isto É O Meu Brasil)” [Rio de Janeiro (This is my Brazil)], which eulogizes the splendor of the natural landscape of the city.

Tim Maia: Singer, songwriter, composer and conductor, Tim Maia is accredited with introducing soul to MPB music. The great artist was born in 1942 and died in 1998; with a characteristic hoarseness and melodious vivacity, he is recognized across the world as being one of the greatest icons of Brazilian music. “Primavera” [Spring] and “Gostava tanto de Você” [I liked you so much] are amongst his finest hits.

Milton Nascimento: Known by his friends as Bituca, and recognized worldwide as one of the most talented MPB musicians, Milton Nascimento has a wonderfully emotional and evocative style. He was born in 1942 and died in 1998, and was the founding father of the group of talented musicians known as Clube da Esquina [Corner Club]. Amongst some of his most celebrated compositions are “Travessia”, and “Canção Da América” [Song of America].

Today, MPB continues to grow, continually imbibing new influences, rhythms and harmonies. It reflects in many ways the people of Rio’s open, curious and dynamic nature.

The genre, beloved by cariocas of all ages and races, can be seen to have articulated a communal sentiment, consciousness and identity – the great zeitgeist of a nation.

Music, like the rest of the local culture, and the incredible natural beauty made of Rio de Janeiro not just a city, but the

cidade maravilhosa

.


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