In case you hadn’t noticed, the World Cup is upon us. This news will be greeted by choruses of joy from some quarters, and resigned depression from others. Yet you don’t need to admire the beautiful game to admire the beautiful culture that comes out of Brazil, the latest hosts of this footballing festival. Today’s lovingly assembled mixtape therefore celebrates the wide-ranging music Brazil’s gem of a continent has produced over the years.
Sergio Mendes – Fanfarra
We begin with an injection of pure energy from this dose of carnival music from Sergio Mendes. This song starts slowly with the rhythm gradually building throughout the first minute before a dose of pure samba is unleashed on us.
Julie London – Fly Me To The Moon
After the excitement of our opening song, we bring the energy back with a song that is not from South America, but has its fair share of Brazilian influence. Julie London’s cover of Frank Sinatra’s signature tune is a luscious gem in Brazil’s genre that fuses jazz and samba, bossa nova.
Los Kjarkas – Llorando Se Fue
This slice of Andean folk music soundtracks the less hectic side of South American life. While Brazil might immediately be associated with carnivals and crazy beach parties, here we are transported to the relaxed countryside of the Andes. Close your eyes, listen to the music and for four minutes, you will be taken to the arid Bolivian landscape.
Frank Sinatra – The Girl From Ipanema
The most famous bossa nova song takes us straight to to a beach in South Rio. Sinatra’s version, featuring Antȏnio Carlos Jobim, is the purest take of this song.
Seu Jorge – Carolina
Time to start cranking the energy up again. The best way to do this is by treating ourselves to Brazil’s leading rock musician. This is Brazil, though, and straightforward rock music would be boring; Seu Jorge therefore gives us a huge percussion, pipe, and horn section on this song.
Os Mutantes – A Minha Menina
The only give-away that this song is Brazilian is that the lyrics are in Portuguese. Beyond that it is very Western sounding, but is also one of the finest psychedelic rock songs of the last fifty years and it would therefore be folly to not include it here.
CSS – Let’s make love & listen to death from above
I feel like I’m cheating again here; there is very little that’s South American about this staple of the new rave genre. However, CSS are one of Brazil’s most successful musical exports of the last decade and should thus be celebrated.
Sergio Mendes – Mas Que Nada
Time to take ourselves very much back to central Rio for our finale. Arguably the most famous samba song ever written, there is even a version that finds Mendes swapping lyrics with The Black Eyed Peas. This song typifies that South American music and culture can be celebrated without a Lionel Messi in sight.