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21 Days of Musica Latina: Brazil

Editor's Note: To commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month this year, World Cafe is going on a musical tour of Latin America. Every weekday from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, we'll spotlight the music of a different Latin American country with a curated playlist of essential tracks, fresh voices and wild cards.

Let's address the elephant in the room: Yes, World Cafe is including Brazil in its Hispanic Heritage Month celebration, and yes, we know Portuguese is Brazil's official language, so Brazilians are, therefore, not Hispanic.

Take it from someone who still gets confused filling out the census: The United States has not found a sufficiently nuanced term to describe the shared cultural heritage of Latin Americans; the U.S. government under Lyndon Johnson settled on "Hispanic" when they created this commemorative celebration in 1968.

But, as I have spent the last few weeks compiling these playlists — alongside World Cafe's Latin Roots correspondent, Byron Gonzalez — the musical threads tying Latin America together are unmistakable. Rhythms from the West Indies have made their way to Central America and beyond. Argentine rock was the seed from which rock en español grew. The sounds of the Amazon rainforest have inspired musicians from Bolivia to Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and, of course, Brazil. So there's no way we could leave the birthplace of samba, bossa nova and so much more out of this monthlong celebration.

This mix includes Brazilian icons like João Gilberto, Antônio Carlos Jobim and Tim Maia. There's also younger acts who are reinterpreting those classic Brazilian rhythms like ANAVITÓRIA and São Paulo band PLUMA.

We've included a slinky cut from Pabllo Vittar's 2020 album, 111. In 2018, Vittar became the first drag queen to win a Latin Grammy for "Sua Cara," Vittar's collaboration with Major Lazer and Anitta.

Finally, one of our favorite songs on this playlist has to be "ESSA RUA É MINHA" from Indigenous hip-hop artist and activist Kaê Guajajara. She has a new album out called Zahytata.

Enjoy, and make sure you come back tomorrow to find out where World Cafe's headed next.

Copyright 2023 XPN

Miguel Perez
Miguel Perez is a radio producer for NPR's World Cafe, based out of WXPN in Philadelphia. Before that, he covered arts, music and culture for KERA in Dallas. He reported on everything from the rise of NFTs in the music industry to the enduring significance of gay and lesbian bars to the LGBTQ community in North Texas.