This is a stellar playlist to kick off the Olympics, filled with some of the finest musicians not just in Brazil, but the world, and I highly recommend listening!
However, I am disappointed that none of the 30 songs chosen by The New York Times come from 3 of the genres widely considered to be the country’s most popular: sertaneja, forró, and gospel. This is like making an all-American playlist, and omitting country, bluegrass, and gospel. Furthermore, for a playlist that purports to be about the entire country, and not just Rio, it fails to include any tracks from the three southernmost states (Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, and Paraná), that combine for 30 million people, account for 15% of the country’s GDP, and have given rise to creative musicians whose songs mixing rock, country, polka, gaucho folklore, and big band, bear little resemblance to the samba and bossa nova we so often associate with Brazil.
As eyes focus on Rio, let’s remember that Brazil, like the United States, is a massive country, and behind its spectacular coastal, cosmopolitan cities, is a flyover country who’s own culture, music, and geography deserve equal consideration in our collective imagination of Latin America’s largest country.
I invite you to enjoy these tracks and the footage of Rio, but not to forget about surprisingly large cities like Caxias do Sul, Uberlândia, Araraquara, and Guarapuava, and artists like:
Gino e Geno
Teodoro e Sampaio
and Terceira Dimensão