Sertanejo Music: AKA The Best Music Genre Ever


For those of you who are not familiar with música sertaneja (the country music of Brazil), all I have to say is that you are SERIOUSLY missing out.  It’s pretty much all I listen to these days.

I think it’s really a shame that in the US (or other parts of the world), this sort of music is absolutely unheard of.  Michel Telo’s “Ai se eu te pego” is one example of a sertanejo song that actually became famous around the world.  And I think it’s the only one.  Although during the World Cup, I was pleasantly surprised to see/hear that there was one commercial here in the US that actually played one of my favorite sertanejo songs in the background (Luan Santana’s “balada tcha tcherere…” which you can listen to below..)!

The closest translation to sertanejo music is American country music – but these genres are still completely different! There is just no comparison here.

You’d think that you would hear this music all over in Brazil – but in Rio, I don’t think I ever heard this music – not once. In Rio, it’s all about samba – which I love as well.  But for dancing, personally, I much prefer sertanejo to samba. Sertanejo music is found almost exclusively in the countryside of Brazil – and the beat is incredibly catchy – and it often makes you want to “sair do chão” (get up) and dance!

When I went to Ouro Preto a few months ago, basically all I heard at the “rocks” (parties) there was sertanejo.  From then on, I was hooked.

My favorite artists are Fernando & Sorocaba, Hugo Pena & Gabriel, Luan Santana and Gusttavo Lima.  There are many individual sertanejo artists, but many also work in groups- if you see two artists paired together, in Brazil, that pretty much means that the music is sertanejo.

Dá uma ouvida (take a listen) to some of my favorite songs:


How can you NOT want to dance while listening to that song?

This one too…









And one of my favorite slow songs of sertanejo….



I could go on, but I will try to restrain myself. Are you hooked yet? If so, you should be able to find everything on spotify.  Happy sertanejo listening!



Abraços and Beijos

“Abraços” (or “hugs”) is the way that many people sign off not a personal, but a professional e-mail in Brazil. This alone speaks volumes about not only the work culture, but also the way that Brazilians interact – to spell it out, work environments are more relaxed and as a whole, Brazilians are incredibly friendly and warm.


I, for one, am a huge fan of the “abraços” and I only wish that we could adopt the same signature in English.  It helps to explain why Brazilians see Americans (and often just anglophones in general) as very cold and distant…

In anglophone (and even in French) culture, this would just not fly.  For all anglophones out there, can you imagine signing off an e-mail, “Hugs,” to your boss or potential employer?  That’s how it works in Brazil.  In English, the most you will get is a “Best” or, if you are on more relaxed/closer terms with the person, “Cheers”.   Sounds incredibly cold compared to virtual hugs, doesn’t it?

The other day, I e-mailed my resume to a company in Brazil, and someone who works for the company, who has never met me before, kindly sent me an e-mail back telling me that there are no openings at the moment, but that he would register my data for future reference.  He then signed the e-mail with the common Brazilian signature, “Abraços”.  That is the kind of work environment that I want to be in. 🙂

Sometimes, in very formal (and strictly professional) e-mails, people will write “Atenciosamente” (equivalent to our “sincerely”) – but more often than not, the person will write “Abraços” – especially if you have already met him or her or had an interview.

Funnily enough, “Abraços” is actually the more distant way of signing an e-mail.   If you are on personal terms with the person, you will generally get nothing less than “Beijos” (“kisses”) – this applies to vocal conversation as well.  So if you are saying goodbye to someone on the phone, even if you have just met that person, you will almost always end the call with “Beijos”.  Same goes for text messages.

I say that we (anglophones) jump on this bandwagon and adopt the “beijos” and “abraços” to the English language – and end that work e-mail on the right note !

Beach culture in Rio

Living Like a Local

To most cariocas, the revered beach is much more than just a place to swim and soak up some rays. And if you want to blend in somewhat, there are a few things you should know about this city’s unique beach culture.

Get to know the “postos”

First things first, “postos” are used as a reference point for locating the different beaches; each beach has its own “posto.”  So if you are meeting people at the beach, they will often use postos to describe their location.

posto 9

Perhaps more importantly, all of the beaches (or postos) in Rio have their own characteristics and are frequented by different crowds.  As Frommers puts it, “beaches are to Rio what cafes are to Paris.”

While Copacabana may be the most famous beach in Rio, it is certainly not the coolest amongst cariocas or Rio residents.  Posto 9 (Ipanema beach) is the place to be and be seen…

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10 things I love about Brazilian Portuguese

I find Brazilian Portuguese to be so unique and different from any other language, even other romance languages (and for all those who think that Portuguese is the same as Spanish, well, you need to have your head examined!).  Here are some of the reasons why I love this language more than any other:

1) Its beautiful melodic, singing sound.

Picture the most beautiful song you have ever heard. That’s what I hear each time I listen to Brazilian Portuguese. To say that Brazilian Portuguese is music to my ears is no exaggeration…don’t believe me? Take a look at this video and you will see what I mean…

2) how “a gente” (direct translation: “the people”) means “we”

Example: A gente vai marcar uma parada a semana que vem? (Are we going to do something next week?)

3) the way that Brazilians use “no” multiple times in a negative sentence

Example: Eu não me importa dessas coisas, não (I don’t care about those things)

4) the unique way that Brazilians say “yes” 

5) the many palavrões (swear words).

No other language (that I have studied at least) seems to match up. Portuguese swear words are just the best – they are strong and there are so many of them!

6) The way that you can add “inho/inha” to any adjective  or noun

The use of “inho/inha” in Portuguese means that something is smaller or cuter.  For example, you can say fofo (which means “cute”) or fofinho (which means “very cute”).  It can also add a likeness to the word, meaning that that thing means something to you and there is some relationship there.  For instance, one could say casa (which means “house”) or casinha (which means “small house” or adds an affinity to the word).

7) How the word “dar” can be used with pretty much anything. 

8) The way that “beautiful” is used.

Beleza is the word for “beautiful” in Portuguese.  Brazilians will use this word to ask someone how they are doing. For instance, one might say to another, “Beleza?” (Like “Tudo bem?” this means “Is everything good?”).  The person can also respond “Beleza” (“Everything’s great.”)

9) The word “saudade,” for which there is no translation in English.

10) The use of falar (to speak)

I love the way that Brazilians use this word. When speaking with someone new for instance, if the other person wants to know more about you, they might say “Me fala” (“Speak to me”).  When answering the phone, if the receiver knows who is calling, he or she might say something like”Fala comigo, Mary” (“Speak to me, Mary”).  When you want to say “What’s up?” to someone, one might say “Fala aì!” (literally translated to “Speak there!”).

I could go on and on…but I will restrain myself and leave it at that. So tell me…what do you like about Brazilian Portuguese?

Swear like a Brazilian


For many people, palavrões (swear words) are the first thing one wants to learn when learning a new language.  Well, Brazilian Portuguese has a lot of these, so prepare yourself…

Also, note that all of these terms are quite vulgar so be careful who you use them around – you certainly wouldn’t want to say any of these words around your boss! Take a look at the swear words that are most used in Brazil – and remember – proceed with caution!

filho de puta: son of a bitch (in informal writing, this is often shortened to “fdp”)

puta que pariu: fuck (literal translation? “whore that gave birth”…yeah, i know.)

porra: fuck

puta merda: fuck (literal translation: fuck shit.)

caralho: fuck (note: “caralho” can also mean “penis”)

pra caralho: a fucking lot/muito

Example: Vamos sair pra caralho. (We’re going to fucking party.)

pra cacete: a fucking lot/muito

Example: Nossa, ta chovendo pra cacete. (Wow, it’s raining fucking hard).

merda: shit

vai tomar no cu: go fuck yourself

vai se foder: go fuck yourself

fode-se: fuck it

que se foda: fuck it!

que se foda dele/dela: fuck him/her!


How to say “awesome” in Portuguese


Want to say “awesome” or “cool” in Portuguese? Here are some commonly used words that Brazilians use…some words listed are used in Rio, while others are used in São Paulo. Also, just like in English, some words are stronger than others – take a look at these words, more or less in order of their strength/degree of coolness…(and please excuse my overuse of the word “awesome.”)


This word is not very strong.  It can mean that something is cool…but not that cool.

Example: O jogo foi bacana, mas poderia ter sido melhor (The game was cool, but it could have been better).


This is probably the most commonly spoken word. It can also mean “nice.”

Example 1: Eu adoro a cidade, é bem legal (I love the city, it’s awesome).

Example 2: A Gisele é uma garota muito legal (Gisele is a really cool/nice girl).

na moral (Rio)

Example: Esse programa é na moral (this program is cool)

“Na moral” can also mean “seriously,” as in when trying to convince someone of something.

Example: Na moral, esse programa é muito bom! (seriously, this show is really good)

Example 2: Na moral cara, não faz isso. (seriously dud, don’t do that)

Finally, “na moral” can mean “please,” as well.

Example: Pega uma água pra mim, na moral (get me a water please).

da hora (São Paulo)

Example: A comida desse restaurante é da hora. (The food at this restaurant is awesome.)

louco/doido (literally: crazy/São Paulo)

Example: Você já viu o show dessa banda? É muito louco/doido! (Have you seen this band’s show? It’s awesome!)

irado (Rio) 

Example: Você já viu esse filme? É muito irado! (Have you seen that movie? It’s awesome!)

massa (São Paulo)

Example: Então, você vem de Bahia? Que massa! (So you’re from Bahia? How cool!)

show de bola

This literally translates to “ball’s show.” I love this phrase – and trust me, using it will make you sound very Brazilian.

Example: A festa foi show de bola! (The party was sick!)


Example: Aquele é meu amigo… ele é muito maneiro. (This is my friend…he’s really cool.)


“Otimo” translates more to “great,” but can also mean “awesome.”


-Como você está? (How are you?)

-Eu estou ótimo e você? (I’m great and you?)


This word literally translates to “sinister.” It can mean that something is “sick” (as in really really awesome).

Example: Esse cantor é muito sinistro! Me amarro nas músicas dele (This singer is sick…I love his music!).


This literally translates to “too much.”

Example: Você é demais! (You are awesome!)