MPB, Musica Popular Brasileira, or Brazilian Popular Music, is an general umbrella term that includes within it a variety of musical genres, including bossa nova, samba, rock, folk, or anything Brazilian musicians might record that is accessible to a contemporary urban audience. The development of MPB begins probably with Chico Buarque’s often veiled musical critiques of the 1964-1985 military dictatorship, and Elis Regina’s gorgeous Como Nossos Pais. When the term MPB is heard, it usually conjures thoughts of artists the likes of Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, Ivan Lins, Marisa Monte, etc., but it’s a designation that is wide-raging and open ended. Usually, it refers to music that has a level of sophistication beyond pop, with a direction and scope that is not merely focused on commercial success.
Native son of Bahia from the interior town of Santo Amaro, Caetano Veloso is a national cultural icon. From a musical family, his sister, Maria Bethania, is a nationally recognized recording artist. With a background in philosophy, Caetano is known for his thoughtful lyrics. Along with Gilberto Gil, Caetano spearheaded the Tropicalia movement in the late 60s.
Carlinhos Brown is the undisputed King of Salvador's Carnival. A composer, percussionist, and artist extrodinaire, his afro-pop sound captures the essence of Bahia. From his work with his Carnival project Timbalada to songs written for numerous other artists, Brown's compositions have won best Carnival song in 1996 (Magarida Perfumada), 1997 (Rapunzel), 1998 (A Latinha), 2003 (Dandalunda), 2004 (Maimbê Dandá); 2009 (Cadê Dalila).
Born and raised in Bahia, Gilberto Gil is arguably the most important cultural figure in Brazil. Gil’s career and music have defined Brazil’s popular culture for the past fifty years. In recognition of his contribution, Gil was appointed Brazil’s Minister of Culture in 2003, a post where he served for five years before resigning to spend more time on his own music.
Singer/songwriter Jauperi got his start at the age of seventeen with the bloco afro, Olodum. Before his current solo success, he'd written hit songs for popular performers such as Ara Ketu, Netinho, and Cheiro de Amor. His Afro-pop sound is a blend of samba-reggae, jazz, and mpb.