Death of Brazilian singer shines spotlight on mainstream’s cultural disconnect

Bruce Douglas – The Guardian, 7/10/2015

With his chiselled jawline, immaculately groomed stubble and smile that could shift toothpaste by the ton, João Gabriel is immediately mobbed as he descends the stage into the crowd halfway through his set at Rio de Janeiro’s Lapa 40° club.

Unruffled, Gabriel’s grin never flickers or dims. The 29-year old singer has been doing this since he was nine, traipsing from bar to bar with his father.

It’s not samba, bossa-nova or baile funk that’s driving the crowd wild, however: Gabriel is a star of sertanejo, a kind of accordion-infused country pop, that is phenomenally successful in Brazil, if rather less so outside.

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