Brazilian Music – A Starter Kit
Where to buy records in Rio
Used shops are my first choice.
- Top Sound in Copacabana at Av. N.S. de Copacabana 1103; and Musicale in Ipanema in the gallery at R. Visconde de Pirajï¿½, 207. The record business is unbelievably volatile in Brazil. You will find not only better deals at the used CD stores, but discs otherwise unavailable. They offer the added advantage of a chance to listen to the discs before buying.
- Livraria da Travessa. In Ipanema at Rua Visconde de Pirajï¿½ 572 with a smaller store on the same street at number 462A. At the former, you can listen to excerpts from many of the discs on their listening stations, a big plus. Also see the original store downtown at Travessa do Ouvidor 11-A. Don’t miss the statue of Pixinguinha playing the saxophone just across the way.
- Letras e Expressï¿½es in Ipanema at Rua Visconde de Pirajï¿½ 276 at the corner of Rua Vinï¿½cius de Moraes. This pleasant bookstore has a small selection of CDs, as well as a cafï¿½ and Internet access upstairs.
- Saraiva Megastore – The closest thing in Rio to a real megastore. Not very close, but still not a bad place to browse if you’re downtown. Located at Rua do Ouvidor near the end of Travessa do Ouvidor, just around the corner from Livraria da Travessa.
- Shopping malls – Rio Sul, Barra Shopping, and Shopping da Gï¿½vea offer the usual gamut of shops if malls are your thing.
Where to hear quality music in Rio
Keep an eye open for free shows, listed in the Friday edition of O Globo. These often take place at cultural centers such as Centro Cultural Light or under the auspices of BNDES, the national development bank. Other good venues for free shows are the beaches – Ipanema, Copacabana, or Leme – which occasionally host concerts. Look for the magical words “de graï¿½a” or “grï¿½tis.”
Rodas de samba/choro. A roda is a jam session, a good bet for good music and good fun. Various locations. For samba and choro events in general, check out the Agenda do Samba & Choro if you can negotiate Portuguese. There are a lot of excellent recommendations on this page that you might not otherwise find in the standard media.
The marvelously crusty old Bohemian neighborhood of Lapa in general, especially for samba and choro music. Try the cozy Bar Semente at Rua Joaquim Silva 138, tucked up right under the arches, for samba, choro, and MPB (2242-5165). Other good bets are Lapases, Rua Marques Rebelo 41 at the corner of Rua da Lapa (2242-1094/2508-6774); Dama da Noite, Rua Gomes Freire 773 (2221-2072/2252-9288); on the main drag, at Avenida Mem de Sï¿½ 23 you will find the recommended Casa Cultural dos Arcos (2252-8910) – catch the excellent group Sururu na Roda on Thurdays; and farther up Sacrilï¿½gio at Avenida Mem de Sï¿½ 81 (2222-7345/3970-1461). Give Carioca da Gema next door a miss until you relish particularly nasty service. A little farther down, tucked into an antique shop, check out Rio Scenarium at Rua do Lavradio 20 (2233-3239/3852-5516).
A few other samba houses deserve mention here. Centro Cultural Carioca (2242-9642) downtown at Rua do Teatro 37 at Praï¿½a Tiradentes, just next to Teatro Joï¿½o Caetano, is an old dance hall, now simply a fine spot to hang out and listen. Extra points for the fine cachaï¿½a they serve, a Rio rarity. An unusual call but worth it if you want to check out a very local scene, is the Pagode do Negï¿½o da Aboliï¿½ï¿½o e Nï¿½zio in Botafogo located at Avenida Repï¿½rter Nestor Moreira 42. Never mind the name of the street, just tell the cab driver to take you to the Clube de Regatas Guanabara. This is not a club, but a weekly event at an athletic club. The samba here is excellent, the cover is cheap, and the company is good. Lastly, those staying in Urca might be interested in checking out the Movimento Artï¿½stico da Praia Vermelha, a sidewalk music party that starts at 9pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at Praia Vermelha, just near the Sugarloaf cable car.
Teatro Rival – This classic theater in Cinelï¿½ndia at Rua Alvaro Alvim 33 offers many star attractions.
Canecï¿½o – A hall featuring big name acts, mostly MPB.
Mistura Fina – A fine but pricey jazz club in the Lagoa area.
Vinï¿½cius Bar – At the corner of Rua Vinï¿½cius de Moraes and Rua Prudente de Moraes, this sophisticated Ipanema bar usually has bossa nova on offer.
Museu da Imagem e do Som. Watch music videos for free. Sometimes sponsors musical events, including rodas de samba.
Those seeking classical music should stay tuned to the programming for the Teatro Municipal and Sala Cecï¿½lia Meirelles.
The Feira Nordestina in Sï¿½o Cristï¿½vï¿½o is the place for forrï¿½ on Saturday nights.
SESC – Two theaters in Copacabana (Avenida Nossa Senhora de Copacabana 360 and Rua Domingos Ferreira 160) which often feature quality music at low prices.
Everywhere you go. Just keep your ears open. Check the Getting Out section for more suggestions on night tripping.