Music: Five Gifted Brazilian Musicians Who Made Their Mark in the United States

In a previous post we highlighted some Brazilians who are currently making waves in the US. But long before they came on the scene, a generation of Brazilian musicians exported their Samba and Bossa Nova musical stylings to America, and had the whole country swaying to their sweet tropical rhythms.

Here are the top five “movers and shakers” who became Brazil’s musical ambassadors to the world.

Tom Jobim

Of course we have to start with the greatest. Antônio Carlos “Tom” Jobim’s classic Bossa Nova stylings were picked up by Frank Sinatra and broadcast to the rest of the world. Through Jobim’s influence, other Brazilian singers were introduced to an American audience.

And while he may be most famous for “Girl from Ipanema”, we are partial to this performance of “Chega de Saudade”.

João Gilberto

Bossa Nova pioneer, and oft-collaborator with with Tom Jobim, João Gilberto left a mark on the American music scene through collaborations with saxophonist Stan Getz.

Here is Gilberto singing Desafinado.

Astrud Gilberto

Not only did João Gilberto contribute his music to Stan Getz, he also apparently contributed his wife, Astrud, whose first ever recording was on a collaboration album with Gilberto and Getz.

Astrud later paired up with Getz and the two did several recordings together. Here she is singing Corcovado (in English) with Getz playing in the background. Her musical styling, together with her delightful Brazilian accent and Getz brilliant sax playing in the background, make this one of our favorite videos of all time.

Elis Regina

Elis Regina was one of Brazil’s most beloved artists. Known for her powerful voice, Elis Regina made a name in the US as a jazz singer.

Here she is singing Bossa Nova classic “Aguas de Março” (Waters of March).

Sérgio Mendes

Bossa Nova is not the only style Brazil has exported to the US. Sérgio Mendes, with the help of Herb Alpert (of Tijuana Brass fame) brought some traditional samba to the American music scene.

Here he is, playing his signature piece “Mas Que Nada”.


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