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Brazilian with Fabiana

The many interconnected styles of Brazilian popular music emerged from different regions of the country, building on musical traditions brought to Brazil by enslaved Africans with European elements introduced by the Portuguese in colonial times. The two songs in this unit focus on the samba, the most iconic of Brazilian musical styles, which is closely associated with Brazil’s Carnival parades.

Originally from Rio Claro, near São Paulo in eastern Brazil, Fabiana started out as a flutist and pianist, learning first from her mother who played the organ. Fabiana studied voice at the prestigious University of Campinas in Brazil, then came to the US in 2001 to study at the California Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley, California. Two years later, she moved to New York and has been performing ever since with a range of artists in many Brazilian styles, including samba, bossa nova, forró, and axé, as well as jazz and rock.

Meet Fabiana!

Introduce your students to Fabiana with this “Meet Fabiana” video. Visit the video index to watch all the videos for Fabiana and the other Program Four artists.


A female dancer in colorful costume
Lesson 1: Learning “Mas Que Nada”
Students learn a samba song and the underlying samba rhythms, and are introduced to the cultural context for the genre.
A dragon Carnival float
Lesson 2: Learning “Requebra”
Students learn basic samba movements and create their own dance. They will also explore the cultural context of Carnival in Brazil.

Resources for Teachers

The following resources provide background information about the musical genre and culture. Some are intended to be shared with students; others are for teachers who may want to explore further on their own.


Samba Bossa Nova Forró Axé


Literacy Extension

Image Credits

“Carnival” by CP DC Press.
“Allegorical float of the samba school Inocentes de Belford Rocho” by imageBROKER.

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