August’s Brazilian Music Birthdays

Rio's Marcela Mangabeira celebrates her birthday this month.

Explore our video list of August birthdays for Brazil’s music makers.

August’s Brazilian Music Birthdays include an 11-time Grammy winner, a Bossa Nova Cover Queen, and a pair of Brazilian Jazzmasters.

Airto Moreira – August 5 | Romance of Death

Widely regarded as one of Brazil’s greatest percussionists, Airto (eye-EAR-toe) Moreira began performing with the legendary Sambalanço Trio at 13.

In 1967, he joined Hermeto’s Quarteto Novo before migrating to New York’s jazz scene. Word spread quickly and soon, Airto was recruited by Miles Davis (for 1970’s Bitches Brew). Then, he joined the jazz-fusion group Weather Report and Chick Corea’s Return To Forever.

CTI records made him a solo artist in the ’70s which increased his popularity. Since then, Airto has performed on countless recordings with his wife Flora Purim, and a who’s who list of jazz stars. Airto Moreira is also recognized worldwide for his mastery of the pandeiro, Brazil’s oversized tambourine.

This song captures Airto’s unique creativity with Brazilian jazz fusion, featuring guitarist David Amaro.

Listen on: Preciso Brazilian | Brazilian Jazz | Our Streaming Station

Baden Powell – August 6 | Samba da Benção

Beloved by generations of Brazilian music fans worldwide, Baden Powell de Aquino is remembered as a gifted acoustic guitarist and composer.

His creative influence on the spectrum of Brazil’s musical styles was rare among musicians of his time and remains virtually unequaled.

Powell crafted songs specifically for the guitar, but many of his best-known tunes became hits when lyrics were added to his melodies.

The first of these was ‘Samba Triste’ which became a big hit for singer Billy Blanco in 1959. The song was included on the Stan Getz/Charlie Byrd album Jazz Samba. Likewise, ‘Canto de Ossanha’ (including Astrud Gilberto’s version in English, ‘Let Go’) became popular in the ’80s. Then, Bebel Gilberto’s 2000 cover of ‘Samba da Benção’ added to Baden Powell’s popularity.

Baden Powell’s best album? Check out Os Afro-sambas with Vinicius de Moraes. Powell’s most popular song is an even easier recommendation: ‘Consolação’.

Caetano Veloso – August 7| Queixa

No matter which hat he chooses to wear, singer, songwriter, guitarist, author, poet, and activist Caetano Veloso needs no introduction.

Especially when it comes to shaking up the status quo or fighting to persevere Brazilian culture. If you find that sentence to be contradictory, then you are closer to understanding one of Brazil’s most contrary musical personalities.

Veloso’s socially challenging start with Tropicalia in 1967. Brazil’s oppressive government forced him into exile to London, where his perspective of international influence on Brazil blossomed. His return to Brazil in ’72 began a prolific period for his songwriting and poetic lyricism, which is today studied in Brazilian schools.

In 2012, Caetano Veloso was honored by The Latin Recording Academy as Person of the Year. He has earned a pair of Grammy awards to go with his nine Latin Grammy wins.

Caetano Veloso has written countless hit songs for himself and for others, but we’ve selected an early favorite for you to enjoy today.

Listen on: Preciso Brazilian | Brazilian Jazz | Our Streaming Station

Father’s Day in Brazil – 2nd Sunday in August | Pai (Fabio Jr.)

Here’s a unique addition to our list of August’s Brazilian Music Birthdays.

Today is Father’s Day in Brazil, where it is called Dia dos Pais. This day became popular in the United States in 1910. Father’s Day in America became official in 1972.

Brazil’s Dia dos Pais dates back to 1953. That’s when a journalist for O Globo newspaper proposed the idea and it caught on soon after. At first, Father’s Day in Brazil was celebrated on August 16th, the same day as St. Joaquim’s Day, to honor the patriarch of the family. Later, the date was modified to the second Sunday of August. The change allowed children to be with their dads during the weekend.

To musically honor the day, we’ve selected Fabio’s Jr’s ‘Pai’, which was Brazil’s second-most popular song of 1979.

Leo Gandelman – August 10 | Solar

More than a decade has passed since this Rio-born saxophonist returned home to Brazil after an extended stay in the US. Leo Gandelman still remains his country’s most successful jazzman. He has been named Brazil’s “Best Instrumental Performer” for 15 consecutive years.

In addition to his 25 (and growing) albums as a solo artist (and roughly 500 other recordings), his talent as a producer is also in demand. Gandelman has guided artists like Marina Lima, Gal Costa, Joao Bosco, Martinho da Villa, and guitarist Torcuato Mariano to greater success, too.

And where there’s talent there’s also pedigree. His son Miguel (who was a standout student at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, Leo’s alma mater) is one of L.A.’s most successful sidemen. Miguel Gandelman is also Music Director for The Masked Singer on Fox.

Torcuato Mariano – August 11 | I Can’t Help It (with Ana Leuzinger)

It’s difficult not to use superlatives when it comes to Torcuato Marinao’s music.

Equally at home with electric or acoustic instruments, Torcuato’s guitar play easily erases any notion that his talent is one-dimensional. His sense of melody and improvisation is impressive and his songwriting skills transform his ideas into memorable songs.

The Argentine-born player is as comfortable with blazing rock lines as he is with an elegant Jobim Bossa. “I find it easier to express my ideas and emotions with music than with words, so I describe situations or influences using my acoustic guitar as my voice,” explains the guitarist. 

Mariano cites Jeff Beck as an early influence. He won the Sharp Prize as Best Pop Composer and that led to him becoming one of Brazil’s most sought-after guitarists. He’s played and recorded with singers Djavan, Gal Costa, and sax great Leo Gandelman, and has toured with Sergio Mendes and Ivan Lins.

Today, he is Music Director for TV Globo’s The Voice: Brasil. Happy birthday, Torcuato!

Listen on: Brazilian Jazz | Sunday Brazilian Brunch | Our Streaming Station

Toco – August 13 | Bom Motivo (with Rosalia da Souza)

Born in Sao Paulo, guitarist Toco (Tomaz DiCunto) got his start with musical and television productions during the late ’90s. Then, a move to Italy quickly helped him become a staple of Italy’s Schema label and the New Bossa sound.

He was paired first with Nicola Conte and then with Rosalia de Souza’s ‘Garota Moderna’ album. 

So, it’s no small wonder that he bridges Vinicius Cantuaria’s laid-back style with the spirit of Toquinho and Vinicius de Moraes at their best. His albums often add S-Tone’s Stefano Tirone to the mix, too. That allows Toco’s breezy acoustic guitar, emotive vocals, and classic songwriting style to flow like rain off a palm leaf.

Toco’s ‘New Bossa’ talents extend further than his voice and guitar. He has a real knack for writing pop songs with catchy hooks that encourage you to sing along. Classic, but with a contemporary feel.

Dori Caymmi – August 26| Mercador de Sirí

Soon after Bossa Nova’s wave swept across America, Dori Caymmi’s ‘Like A Lover’ became a hit for Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66. It opened the door to a career that has spanned two continents.

Dori Caymmi’s penchant for musical storytelling has reached legendary status both here and in Brazil. He’s blessed with a matched set of musical talents. Dori’s gentle melodies often recall his native Bahia and his voice is part arid cerrado, part ocean breeze, and part Brazilian rainforest.

Caymmi is the self-described gatekeeper of Brazilian music (a homage to his famous father, Dorival), and the gate swings wide to accommodate our expectations.

Brazil’s musical idiom is constantly being stretched and redefined by singers, musicians, and producers. But Dori Caymmi’s music stays the course. His songs build on tradition, punctuating his time-tested impressions with bursts of newly found perspective. Our list of August’s Brazilian Music Birthdays gives us the opportunity to remember and celebrate!

Kenia Ashby – August 26 | Serrado

A warm voice that’s instantly recognizable with the smoky warmth of a Brazilian churrasco: That’s Kenia. Her long and successful career has made her one of the best vocalists to rise from our Brazilian American community.

Kenia first appeared on trumpeter Claudio Roditi’s Red on Red album. She also sang on James Taylor’s memorable ‘Only a Dream in Rio’ recording. Since then, Kenia looked to pursue a jazzier direction, with a series of recordings that helped mark her way along the path.

Kenia’s dreamy vocals emphasize the visceral appeal of Brazilian music. She sings melodies that are easy on the ear with arrangements that paint emotional vistas. They never fail to inspire visions of Brazil as we imagine it to be.

It’s that romantic connection between pop and Bossa Nova that plays well with our sensibilities.

Claudia Villela – August 27 | Fua

When it comes to Brazilian American voices, Claudia Villela charts her own course and we’re happy to add her to our list of August’s Brazilian Music Birthdays.

Born in Rio, her musical family gifted her with creative curiosity, improvisational imagination, a five-octave range, and unique hand-me-down talent. A move to California when she was in her early ‘20s brought an opportunity to sing with the Stanford University Chorus and it opened the doors to a storied career in music.

Villela regularly performs at SFJAZZ, major jazz festivals, and venues coast to coast. She’s released six award-winning original music albums and she’s earned high praise for her work and adventurous spirit from musicians like Michael Brecker and Toots Thielemans, the media, and Brazilian jazz fans worldwide. Bela Fleck” says “She is Pure Music”.

Marcela Mangabeira – August 31 | Para Ti

These days, Marcela Mangabeira is everywhere. Many consider her to be YouTube’s Queen of Bossa Nova cover tunes. She’s dedicated her career to opening doors and winning new fans for Bossa Nova. When it comes to her special appeal as a vocalist, there’s no one better.

But few of her millions of fans know the story of how she started. In 2004, Bossa Nova legend Roberto Menescal wanted to bridge the gap between traditional Bossa Nova and modern arrangements for his record label. During his search, Menescal came across Mangabeira.

“Marcela is a rare find,” said Menescal, who was instrumental in launching the careers of Brazilian singing stars Nara Leão and Leila Pinheiro. “With her honeyed and striking voice, she will become one of the most renowned singers of this new generation of Brazilian talents,” he said.

In fact, Roberto Menescal predicted that Mangabeira would “become one of the most renowned singers of this new generation of Brazilian talents.” Based on her prolific career as a musical ambassador for Bossa Nova’s Millennial Generation, it’s not hard to see why.

August’s Brazilian Music Birthdays

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