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The Brazilian Sound: Samba, Bossa Nova and the Popular Music of Brazil [Kindle Edition]

Chris McGowan , Ricardo Pessanha
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $36.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
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Book Description

An illustrated guide to the rich music of Brazil—its history, styles, performers, instruments, and impact on musicians around the globe. From the boisterous rhythms of samba to the cool elegance of bossa nova to the hot percussion of Bahian axé music, The Brazilian Sound celebrates a world music phenomenon. This revised and expanded edition includes discussions of developments in samba and other key genres, the rise of female singer-songwriters in recent years, new works by established artists, the mixing of bossa nova with electronica, and the popularity of Brazilian funk, hip hop, tecnobrega, and sertaneja (country) music. This clearly written and lavishly illustrated encyclopedic survey features new entries and photographs, an extensive glossary of Brazilian music terms and more.

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Two new books on popular music present contrasting approaches to the diverse world of Hispanic music. Aparicio's (Spanish and American culture, Univ. of Michigan) work, aimed at an academic audience, deals with salsa and Puerto Rican culture in a feminist context. McGowan, targeting a general audience, presents a comprehensive history of popular music in Brazil. Aparicio analyzes salsa, boleros, and other popular musical forms in terms of cultural issues (race, gender, class), drawing on her own experiences, and those of typical listeners, to explore these issues. Readers may find their views on salsa altered by reading this book. A recommended choice for academic Hispanic studies collections and for music collections with a strong Hispanic emphasis. McGowan and Pessanha here update their original edition (Billboard Bks., 1991), bringing their extensive experience writing on Brazilian popular music for Billboard and other magazines to this extensive survey covering local jazz and rock as well as better-known forms. The accessible writing style and lavish use of illustrations help achieve the authors' goal of inspiring interest in this music. Updates cover recent music and musicians, provide more social analysis, and expand the discography to 1000 titles, adding much to the original edition. The best work on the topic, this is recommended for both academic and public library music collections.?James E. Ross, WLN, Seattle
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.


 "Well informed, written in plain language and smartly illustrated, The Brazilian Sound quickly became a reference book after it was published in 1991. With the recent publication of a revised and expanded edition, the good just got better...The Brazilian Sound is an informative primer, clearly designed to be useful to the curious beginner, but also substantive enough to capture and hold the attention of the initiated. This new edition retains the easy-to-read quality of the original while adding not only new artists throughout but also historical and social context to the music.... For anyone interested in exploring the vast world of Brazilian music, The Brazilian Sound will serve nicely as a smart and practical road map." --Jazziz, February 2009


"An excellent resource on some of the most popular music in Brazil.... Clearly written and offering information valuable for understanding Brazilian music in general.... Anyone interested in the evolution of Brazilian popular music and some of its most prolific artists of the past centuries will appreciate this title. Summing Up: Highly recommended." --Choice, June 2009

“[T]his book has been revised and expanded again to be bigger and better than the previous highly praised incarnations. Ten years on, the music is still evolving, with many new artists and hybridizations, and McGowan and Pessanha are certainly keeping up with the changes. Their book features new coverage of funk, rap, and hip-hop and profiles new samba artists as well as artists on the rise in electronic dance music and other genres. Now that the Internet has made it easier to find and explore once-exotic musical genres, people looking for information about all the kinds of music in Brazil will love this book. Lavishly illustrated with 175 black-and-white photos, 12 maps, and 12 figures, it covers the remarkable breadth of Brazilian music in a highly readable, lively manner. Highly recommended for all public libraries and world music collections, even those owning an earlier edition."
Library Journal

Product Details

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Readable, enjoyable summary of Brazilian music November 9, 1999
By Mom
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
An excellent book for anyone who wants to explore Brazilian music beyond the well-known classics. Helps place current and past musicians in their historical contexts; helps you understand who influenced whom, etc. The book will pay for itself just by helping you guide your ever-growing collection of Brazilian CD's (hard to stop once you get started)!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved The Interviews & Quotes March 25, 1999
By A Customer
"The Brazilian Sound" is a great read and very informative. I especially liked the quotes from the interviews the authors did with Brazilian musicians like Antonio Carlos Jobim, Milton Nascimento and Carlinhos Brown, as well as Americans such as Lyle Mays and Herbie Mann who have long been associated with Brazil's music.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bible of the Brazilian Music Scene June 1, 1998
By A Customer
Of all world music varieties, Brazilian music is among the most vital, consistent and compelling. McGowan and Pessanha nail their subject cold in this book -- the most comprehensive omnibus available on the subject of Brazilian music. From MPB to Milton, it's all here!
This encyclopedic work includes hundreds of photos, complete historical information on all styles, and extended discographies ideal for starting and growing your own world-class Brazilian CD collection.
I picked this book up on a whim -- and 100 CDs later, I'm grateful to the authors for broadening my knowledge of this exceptional music with their extraordinary book!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
The Brazilian Sound (3rd edition), by Chris McGowan & Ricardo Pessanha

Review by Reeves Medaglia-Miller, Ph.D.

"In Brazil, music is everywhere. You can find it in a complex rhythmic pattern beaten out by an old man with his fingers on a café table, in the thundering samba that echoes in the streets of Rio in the months prior to Carnaval, and in the bars where a guitar passes from hand to hand and everyone knows all the lyrics to all the classic Brazilian songs played late into the night." (McGowan & Pessanha, 2009, p. 3)

Ethnomusicology... sounds like a really dry subject, right? A bunch of music that I don't understand, explained to me using a bunch of new jargon from some language that I don't understand... right? Wrong. In the brilliant grasp of Chris McGowan and Ricardo Pessanha, the study of the many forms of Brazilian popular music is fascinating, intimate, and, yes, even exciting... as it should be.

I am a lifelong music educator and professor of Popular Culture studies at George Brown College in Toronto. I am always in search of texts that will inspire and stimulate my already world-weary students to learn about vital musical forms of which they are unaware, even as they consider important social justice issues such as racism, cultural appropriation, sexism, classism, and so on. I need look no further than The Brazilian Sound.

The Brazilian Sound steps into a time machine and tells a five-hundred year old story of race and of a musical tradition forged from the forced merger of the Brazilian indigenous culture with the culture of its Portuguese conquerors and, then, with the culture of some five million African slaves brought to South America between 1538 and 1850.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best English-language overview of Brazilian music November 10, 2002
You could fill a book with all the information I _don't_ know about Brazilian music... In fact, these guys already have! Concise, conversational, informative and very well laid out, this is an exceptionally readable book. Chapters on samba, bossa nova, tropicalia, forro and jazz include focused biographical sketches of dozens of key artists, as well as succinct historical information about the progress of Brazilian music from its European and African folk roots into its bewildering and often beautiful modern offshoots. The book's focus is nonpartisan: although there is plenty of room for aesthetic criticism within the various styles, the authors generally hold their preferences and dislikes to themselves. They do, however, give readers a good sense of which recordings might be best to check out -- an invaluable service considering how little of Brazil's vast musical output makes it to the United States. Highly recommended! Certainly the best English-language guide to Brazilian pop that you will find in print (online is a different matter), this is great for casual listeners and hardcore fans alike.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Edition Has Great Additions March 25, 1999
By A Customer
I loved the first "Brazilian Sound," which was from Billboard Books and this new revised version from Temple University Press is even better. Especially liked the in-depth musical history about samba, choro and Bahia. Plus the glossary is outstanding.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive guide to Brazilian bliss March 14, 2009
For anyone with an interest in Brazilian culture and/or music or who needs an immediate upgrade in their musical life, this book is an absolute must. It will introduce you to a host of some of the planet's best musicians and performers, most unknown north of the Amazon. The rhythms, styles and currents of Brazilian music are as diverse as any place in the world, and "The Brazilian Sound" details the origins and practices of the gamut, from bossa nova and samba, to forro, maracatu, axe, frevo, and pagode, the popular wing of samba. The 2009 edition is the best yet, expanding coverage of the pagode scene (one of my favorites) with great anecdotes and details on the Old Guard singers and modern stars like Zeca Pagodinho, and profiles of the seemingly endless crop of stellar female artists--Joyce, Marisa Monte, Vanessa da Mata, Bebel, Adriana Calcanhotta, Maria Rita. With artist interviews, great lyric excerpts (in English), details on the musical instruments (cuica to surdo to cavaquinho), coverage of all the regional musics and on-scene photos, this labor of love really does have everything you want to know about Brazilian music, which is a lot. I'm a longtime Brazilian music nut who learned a lot from this superb new edition.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Insight into Brazilian music and culture
This is a well-researched work, yet quite accessible to the lay reader. It gives insight into Brazilian music, how it is embedded in cultural values and its role in the... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Elsa Shepard
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!
I am always fascinated by the impact history has had on the arts and how all performance is both affected and affects history. Read more
Published 18 months ago by L. Brady
5.0 out of 5 stars THE Book About Brazilian Popular Music
"The Brazilian Sound" is THE book on Brazilian popular music, valuable to both neophytes and aficionados of the magnificent music of Brazil. Read more
Published on February 21, 2013 by Violonista Canhoto
4.0 out of 5 stars Good summary of Brazilian Music
This is a very good book to have but it reads more like a dictionary so I use it only for reference. Also it should have an appendix with the lyrics of songs discussed in English. Read more
Published on January 27, 2013 by Iohannes Magnus
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive
This is an impressive work, very comprehensive. If you are new to Brazilian music, this book will act as a guide before you start buying CDs, if you aren't new to Brazilian music,... Read more
Published on December 11, 2010 by Laura Bowler
5.0 out of 5 stars the brazilian sound book
great book some people that live in brazil will not admit that brazil they adopted west african culture but by the rythmes of the muisc and the costumes during the samba even look... Read more
Published on October 29, 2009 by HI
3.0 out of 5 stars The Brazilian Sound
The Brazilian Sound is good as far as it goes - a who's who list and discography of 20th century Brazilian music. Read more
Published on December 26, 2002 by Hearth Sutra
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