There are few countries in the world that boast a collection of music as impressive as Brazil. For over 75 years, the country has conceived some of the greatest musicians of our time – from João Gilberto to Clara Nunes – showing a different side of the rich Brazilian culture each time.
Although new genres are constantly emerging, heavy foreign influences from North America and Europe make it difficult for many artists to create music that is their own; that is truly Brazilian. But despite this, there are some stellar examples of contemporary Brazilian musicians staying true to their roots and creating space for real Brazilian music in the mainstream.
From the country’s mountainous peaks to its breezy coastlines, here are 10 of the freshest authentic Brazilian artists you need to hear.
Affectionately called Rosinha in their home state of Minas Gerais, these four talented musicians only came together to form Rosa Neon two years ago. With the help of famed Brazilian producer, BAKA, they released their first single ‘‘Fala Lá Pra Ela” in November 2018, followed shortly by their debut self-titled album in September 2019. With a colorful tropical pop sound and equally stimulating visual aesthetic, you are in for a treat with Rosa Neon.
It’s not possible to have a conversation about Brazilian Rap music without mentioning Drik Barbosa. Born in São Paulo, Drik (pronounced Drika) has been writing lyrics since she was 14 years old and has developed a style uniquely her own showing Brazil the power, capability and tenacity of female rappers. Her lyrical finesse and passionate take on music has resulted in multiple successful collaborations with other Brazilian artists including Gloria Groove and Karol Conká.
Born in Salvador, in Brazil’s North East, Luedji Luna is not only one of the smoothest voices in Brazilian music today, but she is doing some amazing things to empower other Afro-Brazilian artists across the country. Her music examines colonial histories and issues of personal identity within this context, helping to create a narrative for the Afro-Brazilian experience. Luedji is also involved in multiple organizations that help to elevate and create space for art made by Afro-Brazilian artists.
With his second album Átimo released in April of this year, Ian Lasserre has received critical acclaim yet again for his modern sound that draws from traditional Brazilian music. Featuring other up-and-coming Brazilian artists such as François Muleka and Flávio Tris, the album is a sumptuous ode to Samba de Roda and Baião music and lyrically inspires listeners to explore the bigger meaning of life.
Hailing from Juazeiro, the same city as the father of Bossa Nova, João Gilberto, Josyara Lélis follows suit with her guitar in hand and a voice capable of serenading anyone at any moment. Her music incorporates many styles from Brazilian Folklore to Electro, showcasing her appetite for experimenting with different sounds. Through her powerful vocals and rhythmic guitar, Josyara’s music reflects on the social, sexual, and political climates surrounding her.
Considered one of the most influential names in Rap today and an inspiration to lower income communities, Djonga has taken the Brazilian music scene by storm with his razor-sharp beats and penetrating lyrics. Growing up in the destitute neighborhood of São Lucas in Belo Horizonte, the Samba and Funk that defined his childhood is apparent in the smooth instrumentation of his music, along with his socially charged lyrics challenging the status quo.
Want to learn about the OG Brazilian acts to know? Check it out.