Characterized by its great diversity, the origins of Brazil’s music lie in its AmerIndian, Portuguese and African roots, and today it is firmly embedded into the Brazilian way of life.
From Bossa Nova bars spilling with hypnotic rhythms to buzzing Samba clubs to nightclubs providing an electronic twist, Brazilian music has the ability to captivate and influence us all.
Rio is synonymous with the feverish intensity of the world’s largest carnival; the spectacle of thousands of performers in outlandish costumes, accompanied by samba drummers and dancers is a unique experience. Whether it’s the polyrhythm from percussion instruments at a street corner or an impromptu all night Carnaval, Rio de Janeiro refuses to stop moving to the sound of music.
Samba, a fusion of Spanish Bolero and African rhythms, was first heard in urban Rio during the early 20th century after slaves migrated from Bahia and settled in Rio. Its golden age materialised during the 1930’s soon after the emergence of Escolas de samba, which soon became the scene for song writing for Carnaval. It wasn’t long before the celebrated annual festival became inextricably linked with this lively, rhythmical form of music, which had very much developed into a symbol of national identity.
Two decades later saw the birth of Bossa Nova – literally translated as “New Wave” - which generated a new era of Brazilian music. Samba’s basic rhythm was slowed down creating a more intimate and seductive melody, and by the 1960’s it became an international success. It was hugely influenced by and influential to American Jazz and Blues; musical legends such as Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald adapted Bossa Nova classics and recorded their own versions.
Once the colonial capital, and still very much Brazil’s cultural capital, Rio de Janeiro has perhaps the most stunning physical setting of any city in the world. Lush green mountains, miles of sandy beaches, blue sea and a superb climate give Rio qualities that no other big city can match.
Our guides will show you plenty of what Rio has to offer from historic colonial-era neighbourhoods to the modernist architecture of Oscar Niemeyer. Absolute musts are to climb the Corcovado peak with its iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer, or to take the cable car to the top of the landmark Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain) for fabulous views of the city.