sao paulo live music

The spectacular parades of the samba schools take place in the Sambadrome. (Photo: Getty Images)

Culture + Style

Get to Know the Very Best of the São Paulo Music Scene

Samba, bossa, forró, chorinho, MPB (Brazilian Pop Music), rock, hip hop, symphony or jazz. São Paulo is a musical medley where you can find everything from the Brazilian edition of a famous international festival to the best symphony orchestra of Latin America.

Carnival and Samba Schools

When you think of Brazil, two topics usually come to mind: soccer and carnival. The latter is a six-day party in which cities are filled with music and dance.

In São Paulo, the spectacular parades of the samba schools take place at the Anhembi Sambadrome —an architectural work by Oscar Niemeyer— on Friday and Saturday during the week of Carnival, which is usually in February or the first few days of March.

If you’re not in the city at that time, you can have a taste of carnival by attending the rehearsals of the samba schools that, starting in October, begin to practice the show with which they’ll compete. The Escola do Vai Vai, in the Bela Vista neighborhood, is the one that has won the most titles.

Where to Listen to the Best Brazilian Music?

The Paulistano temple of samba is a small and not at all luxurious bar located in the neighborhood of Pinheiros. Ó do borogodó is the peculiar name given to this place, packed every night with locals and tourists who come to drink a beer and dance to the rhythm of the popular genre brought to the country by African immigrants.

sao paulo live music
Ó do borogodó, in the neighborhood of Pinheiros, is the Paulistano temple of samba. (Photo: Paola Quintana Vera)

On the ridge formed by Rua Direita and Rua Quintino Bocaiúva, known as “the musical corner of São Paulo” you can find an essential place for all music lovers.

The building in which it’s located, called Palacete Teresa, was home to the first instrument shop in the city, a record label and a radio station. It was restored not too long ago and now it’s home to Casa de Francisca, a beautiful and unique place where you can have lunch or dinner while enjoying a musical show.

The Ibirapuera Auditorium, in Ibirapuera Park, is one of the city’s iconic buildings, and it’s also by Niemeyer. Its varied programming includes jazz, bluegrass, MPB and many other genres.

sao paulo live music
The Ibirapuera Auditorium’s programming includes jazz, bluegrass and many other genres. (Photo: Getty Images)

Classical Music

The Municipal Theater and the Sala São Paulo are home to the Municipal Symphony Orchestra and the Symphony Orchestra of the State of São Paulo, respectively. The latter is considered the best in Latin America. Both musical sanctuaries also hold ballet and opera performances.

sao paulo live music
Listen to the Municipal Symphony Orchestra at the Municipal Theater. (Photo: Alamy)

Large Venues

The internationally renowned artists who take their shows to the city usually perform at Espaço das Américas, an area that accommodates up to 8 thousand people and that was remodeled in 2012. When the concerts are truly massive, they take place at the Allianz Park, a football stadium built for the 2014 World Cup and where Palmeiras currently plays.

Lollapalooza Brasil

sao paulo live music
The Brazilian edition of Lollapalooza takes place in São Paulo. (Photo: Getty Images)

Since 2012, the Brazilian edition of Lollapalooza, a music festival that was born in the United States and is now organized in seven cities around the globe, takes place every year in São Paulo. More than 150 thousand attendees and around 100 musical numbers meet at the Interlagos Racetrack to give their all to the shows for 3 days.

Birthplace to Rita Lee, Adoniran Barbosa, Criolo, Emicida and Maria Rita. Source of inspiration for hymns like Sampa by Caetano Veloso or Augusta, Angélica, Consolaçao by Tom Zé. São Paulo is a symphony of sounds and silences that bounce off its concrete walls.