After the past two days, my feet have been aching terribly. And yet, every moment filled with music and dance was completely worth the pain. At the beginning of our trip, I had set out on a small mission to find Brazil’s best, most iconic music. I have now realized that this task will take much more time than our trip has to offer, but the results will be worth the effort.

Music, whether expressed through vibrant dance, instrumental skill, or vocal prowess, impacts the entire human race and every single culture that exists on this planet we call home. Brazil is no exception. The Brazilian peoples’ love for dance is legendary and we were blessed to get a taste of it on Tuesday. Lead by two immaculate dancers, our group started to learn the basics of Forro, a classical dance style of Brazil.

Here’s a look at some of our dancing thanks to Professor Starr:

1 hour of lessons later

A post shared by @ profstarr on

Our entire group had a great time dancing to vibrant, allegro music and finished off the session by learning one of Brazil’s famous, modern dances to the tune of Onde Onde by Tchakabum. Seeing everyone smiling and laughing with each other was the highlight of my day.

On Wednesday, the Brazilian explorers (that’s us) were honored to learn the basics of Capoeira and its rich history and philosophy. This Brazilian martial art is accompanied by traditional instruments that each make their own unique sound.

Capoeira Instruments Left to Right
Berimbau w/baqueta

Together, the blend of physical skill and traditional rhythm create a wondrously impressive spectacle to behold. Soon enough, we were all invited to join in the dancing, martial arts, and singing. It has been a joy to really see our group become so close; Capoeira emphasizes the importance of deep bonds and community, it was truly evident that we have all become closer on this trip.

Cheyenne and Heather completing a Capoeira exercise



But the music doesn’t stop there, Brazilians love American music too. In fact, every time Elliott and I step into our host family’s car, we end up singing along to American Pop. Briana and Kayla’s host father and mother (who often take us to the college in the morning) enjoys listening to 80s Classic Rock and Brazilian Christian Rock/Praise. My host family enjoys listening to Pop artists like Michael Jackson and Brazil’s Jota Quest. Even still, many of my students in the high school enjoy listening and dancing to Brazilian ‘Popi’, Brazil’s form of modern Pop music.

The music of Brazil is almost as beautiful as the people, whom we all love to no end. Music here in Brazil serves as a cultural foundation; Brazilians are born into their music just as they are born into their culture. It is my belief that one-day music will draw all cultures closer together and join our world together in one beautiful song, a song to accompany an everlasting and beautiful community.

So, on that note, here is all the music I’ve come to love so far. Find what music you love! Djavan- Oceano Tchakabum- Onde Onde 14 Bis- Todo Azul do Mar Jota Quest- Encontrar Alguem Pericles- Melhor Eu Ir Tribalistas- Velha Infancia

Christopher Van Gorder




Categories: Brazil 2018

1 Comment

Rebekah Distaffen · May 18, 2018 at 10:06 pm

This is such a good post! I always find it interesting to learn just how similar, and different, their music is from ours”. This brought me a whole new perspective to the music I listen to, and has helped me to learn to appreciate the music better– even if I do not understand all the lyrics. Thanks for this insight!

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