Brazil is a very culturally rich country and particularly when it comes to music. But do not doubt that samba is within and outside Brazil its greatest reference. Here we selected ten songs and ten “velhos sambistas” (old samba musicians – most of them have passed away) which we consider songs that never got old and will always be considered samba classics! Add it to your playlist and let’s go samba!
As Rosas Não Falam – Cartola or Angenor de Oliveira is a samba legend. A authentic reference of Rio’s samba, this Brazilian singer, songwriter, musician, and poet is considered by many musicians and critics to have been one of Brazil’s best and most successful samba musicians.
A Voz do Morro – Zé Kéti or José Flores de Jesus, kicked off his music career exactly with this music in 1955. The term ‘morro’ is another word for ‘favela’, and the title of the song translates to ‘The Voice of the Favela’.
Aquarela do Brasil – Gal Costa, the sister of Caetano Velozo with 18 years old helped shape her career in MPB (Brazilian Popular Music) and tropicalia, two famous genres in Brazil that were born in the late 60’s. This song s one of Costa’s famous samba tracks.
Trem das Onze – Demônios da Garoa, initially ‘Grupo do Luar’ before a change of name in the early 1940s is a Brazilian band from Sao Paulo that has been around for over 70 years. The group has sold millions of copies of their music but this song remains one of their most emblematic.
Vou Festejar – Beth Carvalho, born Elizabeth Santos Leal de Carvalho is also one of the most popular Brazilian samba singer of all times. She is known for being behind the movement of modernising samba in the 80’s while shunning pop trends by carefully preserving sambas traditions. This song is a “samba party” where the title says “I will celebrate”.
Alguem me Avisou – Dona Ivone Lara, a nurse by profession, she worked as a social worker until she retired. In between, she composed several samba songs as well as performed during the Carnival Rio’s parades. Many well-known Brazilian artists have interpreted her songs, and this song is one (or the most) of her famous sambas.
Malandro – Elza Soares was declared the ‘Brazilian Singer of the Millennium’ in 1999, a title awarded to her by the BBC Radio. In addition to her incredible repertoire of music, she is also famous for her outgoing personality and edgy style. This song is with no doubt one her most well-known samba tracks.
Insensato Destino – Almir Guineto, a strong reference in both samba and pagode. Before embarking on his solo career, he was also the director of Salgueiro samba school in Rio. Guineto is one of the founders of the samba group Fundo de Quintal and played an important role in the samba group Originais do Samba for over 10 years. This song we think is his most strong samba reference.
Malandro é Malandro e Mané é Mané – Bezerra da Silva has being a great artist in his own right and was also known for giving potential artists from poor or criminal backgrounds an opportunity in music by recording samba tracks with them. Due to this, some people sometimes referred to his work as sambandido – a mix of samba and bandido (the word for ‘criminal’ in Portuguese) – which was a term he didn’t appreciate. Ths song is a classic of the “malandragem carioca”.
Alma Boemia – Toninho Geraes was born in Belo Horizonte and of that list and the lesser known samba singer and songwriter. Geraes has recorded more than 250 tracks, but unquestionably this song is Toninho most famous song and reference.