Brazil Classics Box Set

Various Artists

April 13, 2019

It’s been many years since the Brazil Classics series came out, and the musical landscape has changed considerably in that time. When these records came out, Brazilian music meant two things to many people in the North: bossa nova (“The Girl from Ipanema” rivals “Yesterday” as a song known round the world) and a smiling dancing woman with fruit on her head (Carmen Miranda).

A lot has changed since then.

The first record we put out in this series—Beleza Tropical—became a restaurant staple in the North and in Europe. Sales of that first collection exploded, well, for a compilation anyway. Three hundred and fifty thousand copies, mostly vinyl, in North America and Europe.

These records were not meant as a snapshot of Brazilian music being made at the time, instead they looked back over preceding decades to give an inkling of the riches and pleasures to be found beyond the usual clichés. It worked, compilations like these could do that in those days. It was a moment in time, when what was essentially a playlist could change people’s perceptions of music and their place in it. This music often reflected the social and political convulsions of the time. Gil, Caetano and others were jailed and sent into exile. As joyous as they often sound they are deeply serious, and the dictatorship was afraid of them. Joy, beauty and pride are potent weapons. As we go through our own present period of political turbulence, maybe these songs can serve as an example—how to maintain one’s creativity and humanity in the face of forces that seek to grind innovators down and silence voices that dispute those in power.

Brazil Classics Box Set Album Covers

LP Box Set $39.99