Get Into the Spirit of Rio With This Spotify Playlist

By in Avid in Rio, Music Creation

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has long been an inspiration to songwriters and musicians. Whether it’s the bossa nova or samba native to the area or American and British music inspired by the region, we’ve got a sweet, summery playlist of tunes to get you in the mood to jet down to Rio and dance on the sand.

Duran Duran – “Rio”

What better way to start things off than with the pretty boys of Duran Duran? Their rhythmically charged 1980s hit never fails to conjure images of decadence, like the lounging supermodels of its classic early-MTV-era video.


Fofucha Preparada – “Os Salientes”

Funk Carioca (aka baile funk) came to the New York dance scene in the early ’00s, thanks to renown DJ Diplo fortuitously receiving a mix CD of the stuff from a couple of Brazilian partygoers. But the wildly inventive genre, a mashing together of Miami bass, early hip hop, dancehall and just about anything else, had been blasting through the favelas of Rio de Janeiro for years. Try to sit still as you sample Fofucha Preparada’s “Os Salientes” for a taste.


CSS – “Alala”

Brazilian music is known for incorporating sounds from around the world, and São Paulo’s CSS took American indie-rock and electroclash music of the early ’00s and gave it their own energetic, ramshackle, utterly irresistible spin, singing in both English and Portuguese on this banger. The band’s name stands for Cansei de Ser Sexy, but their songs make sure you never feel “tired of being sexy.”


Os Mutantes – “A Minha Menina”

The masters of tropicalia — a brilliant synthesis of bossa nova and the psychedelic pop — were Brazil’s answer to The Beatles. They’re at their bizarre best on this raucous tune, which has been covered by young indie rockers like The Bees.


Gil Gilberto – “Toda Menina Baiana”

One of the most esteemed voices in world music, Gil Gilberto fused samba, bossa nova, salsa, and rock and folk music for a distinctly Brazilian blend that has won him fans the world over. Hear this 1979 global hit for a taste of his diverse, ever-changing style.


Stan Getz, Jao Gilberto, Astrud Gilberto – “The Girl From Ipanema”

This classic 1960s bossa nova duet still effuses luxury and sophistication with its gentle strums and Gilberto’s whispery voice.


Caetano Veloso & Gal Costa – “Que Pena”

Two of the great voices of tropicalia come together on this silky smooth tune. Veloso’s nimble acoustic guitar and Costa’s swooping, otherworldly voice are a match made in heaven.


Martinho Da Vila – “Canta Canta, Minha Gente”

The classic samba composer has recorded more than 30 LPs, with songs covered by many Brazilian artists. His sambas-enredo, such as this famous one, are used in the annual Carnival, with ornately dressed samba schools dancing choreographed dances in a parade through the streets of Rio.


Barry Manilow – “Copacabana”

Sorry, but no Rio playlist is complete without this ’70s cheese classic.


Thiaguinho and Projota – “Alma e Coração”

On the official song of the 2016 Rio Olympics, samba star Thiaguinho and rapper Projota come together on an upbeat, uplifting tune that translates to “Soul and Heart” in Portuguese. The song blends together various world genres in a way befitting of the Olympics’ official theme song.

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Billy Gil is a corporate communications specialist for Avid and has written for publications such as LAist, Noisey, xoJane, LA Weekly and OC Weekly.