A who’s who of Toronto’s vibrant Brazilian music scene

This summer, skip the messy Rio Olympics and get your dose of Brazilian cool at home.


CÉU at Lee’s Palace (529 Bloor West), Friday (July 1), doors 8:30 pm. $25.50. ticketfly.com. See listing.


Brazilian singer Céu drops in for a rare Toronto show on Canada Day, touring her recent album, Tropix. Recognized as part of the vanguard of next-gen Brazilian artists, the São Paulo-based singer uniquely mixes música popular brasileira and samba influences with electronics, dub, jazz and Afrobeat. 

Her appearance is a good opportunity to take the pulse of Toronto’s own thriving Brazilian music community, which includes artists making “música atual,” or current Brazilian music, often venturing beyond bossa nova and samba or reimagining them. This summer, skip the messy Rio Olympics and get your dose of Brazilian cool at home. 

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Aline Morales

The singer with the commanding stage presence and her producer/bandmate David Arcus are at work on the follow-up to Juno-nominated debut album Flores, Tambores E Amores. She also leads the maracatu percussion group Baque de Bamba, which explores connections to Afro-Brazilian spiritual rhythms and will release an EP this summer. Catch Morales and her eclectic five-piece band at Roy Thomson Hall’s Live On The Patio on August 26. 

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Bruno Capinan

Singer/songwriter Bruno Capinan‘s personal, exploratory songs have an epic indie feel that matches his equally epic stage wear. He released Tudo Está Dito, his third album, in 2014, and has since performed and recorded in Brazil with Gilberto Gil’s son Bem Gil. He’s part of a “new music of Brazil” showcase at the Rio Olympics in August, and his next album arrives in the fall.

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Zeca Polina

Multi-instrumentalist Zeca Polina‘s self-titled debut album, recorded last year in Brazil, features psychedelic rock with touches of blues and samba-rock. Polina leads a five-piece all-Canadian band at BrazilFest on July 24 at Earlscourt Park he’s also writing new tunes, including some in English. Meanwhile, another of Polina’s existing projects transplanted to Canada (as yet unnamed) focuses on samba and forró, the rootsy couples dance music from northeastern Brazil. 

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Os Tropies 

These six non-Brazilian Toronto musicians with a love of tropicália are set to release sprawling new album The Soil in the fall. Until then, catch the psychedelic-Brazil-rock-weirdo multilingual crew (they sing in Portuguese, English and French) at Harbourfront Centre on July 8. 

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Tio Chorinho

Commonly called “the New Orleans jazz of Brazil,” choro or chorinho music (“the little cry”) is instrumental, dynamic and usually heavy on strings and syncopation. The quartet of core instruments includes mandolin, seven-string guitar, cavaquinho (a Brazilian cousin of the ukulele) and a single percussionist, usually on pandeiro, the versatile Brazilian tambourine. Seek out the debut album, Chora Brazil, by Toronto’s leading choro group, Tio Chorinho.

More always-great staples of Toronto’s Brazilian music scene

Luanda Jones

Acoustic bossa nova funk played solo or as a trio or quartet. 

Roda de Samba 

Samba music in a casual setting (lately, Yauca’s Lounge on Dovercourt) played by a top-notch band that often rocks three sets in an afternoon. 

Gord Sheard

The veteran local musician heads up the Humber music department’s Brazilian program and recorded his latest album here and in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil. 

Wagner Petrilli 

Composer, songwriter and locally based Brazilian seven-string guitar wizard. 

Mari Palhares

Co-leader of Baque de Bamba (with Morales), plays in Latin-rhythm trio Baobá with Anita Graciano and Y Josephine, and in Primitiva, an all-female group playing maracatu drums and adapting songs from across the Americas.

music@nowtoronto.com | @jrtoque

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