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Chris McGowan
Chris McGowan is a journalist and novelist with diverse interests, currently based in Brazil.

His latest work is The Brazilian Music Book, a collection of interviews with iconic Brazilian musicians. He also co-authored The Brazilian Sound: Samba, Bossa Nova and the Popular Music of Brazil (Temple University Press), which is now in its 3rd U.S. edition and has been translated into French, German, and Japanese.

McGowan has written extensively about Brazil, and been interviewed about Brazilian music and culture by the BBC, the New York Times, the Associated Press, CNN Online, AirTalk, and various NPR affiliates.

McGowan has also covered interactive media as a journalist, and is the author of Entertainment in the Cyber Zone: Exploring the Interactive Universe of Multimedia (Random House), a history of digital media, video games, and virtual worlds.

He has blogged about Brazil, politics, environmental issues and music for The Huffington Post.

McGowan is on Twitter here:
J.C. McGowan at Twitter
The Brazilian Sound at Twitter

His website is here:

Entries by Chris McGowan

Brazil's Lenine Brings His Musical Bridge to Central Park

(1) Comments | Posted July 18, 2014 | 12:18 PM


The Maurício de Nassau bridge in Recife is a replica of a bridge in Amsterdam and a reminder of when Holland ruled northeastern Brazil in the early 17th century. It is also the inspiration for "The Bridge" concert series featuring Brazilian singer-songwriter Lenine...

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Luciana Souza: A Bossa Nova Baby Makes Her Mark in the Jazz Realm

(0) Comments | Posted January 4, 2014 | 5:10 PM

In 2013, Luciana Souza gained a place among the world's top contemporary jazz singers by earning not one but two Grammy nominations, for The Book of Chet (for Best Jazz Vocal Album) and Duos III (Best Latin Jazz Album). The 47-year-old Brazilian vocalist now has a total of six Grammy...

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Brazilian Harpist Cristina Braga Explores Samba, Jazz and Love

(1) Comments | Posted November 21, 2013 | 2:18 PM

The first recordings of samba occurred nearly one hundred years ago and of bossa nova more than fifty years ago. Neither genre has ever been associated with the harp, but lately the venerable stringed instrument has expanded its presence in Brazilian popular music thanks to Cristina Braga, who is the...

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Blame It on the Bossa Nova: Jazz Samba's 50th Birthday

(7) Comments | Posted April 17, 2012 | 5:36 PM

Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd's album Jazz Samba, which launched the bossa nova craze in the United States, celebrates its 50th anniversary this month. It was a phenomenal success after its release in April 1962 and has achieved an enduring popularity. Jazz Samba was a musical milestone and, alas, an...

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The Muse of Tecnobrega Boosts Brazil's Latest Musical Export

(1) Comments | Posted November 9, 2011 | 11:44 AM

Singer Gaby Amarantos and DJ João Brasil's tecnobrega version of Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Águas de Março" (Waters of March) is either an innovative interpretation for the dance floor or a tasteless desecration of one of the greatest songs of the 20th century. Or both. The recording can be heard on...

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Spooky Secrets: A Brief History of Halloween

(1) Comments | Posted October 26, 2011 | 2:52 PM

Night falls and a fierce knocking assails your quiet home. Mischievous laughter resounds outside. You open the front door and are confronted by Osama bin Laden, Lady Gaga, Barack Obama and a green witch. They rustle bags and yell "trick or treat." You hand them candy and send them on...

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Brazil's Coffee Valley Music Festival Draws Crowds To Historic Region

(0) Comments | Posted August 10, 2011 | 3:55 PM

At Brazil's ninth annual Festival Vale do Café, musical performances took place in the most unusual places, from baronial estates to cow barns, as well as in more traditional settings such as churches and city squares. The ten-day event ran from July 22-31 in a picturesque region two hours north...

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Brazil: A World Leader In Bone Marrow Donors

(0) Comments | Posted July 8, 2011 | 5:23 PM

In 2010, the well-known Brazilian television actress Drica Moraes was diagnosed with acute leukemia and received a bone marrow transplant in São Paulo. Today she is practicing her profession again and has given many interviews to the Brazilian press about her recovery. Living in Brazil, Drica had a better chance...

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Is That All There Is? The Secrets of "Getting a Life"

(2) Comments | Posted November 19, 2010 | 7:17 AM

Joe Robinson is working to save America and he's not selling the rapture, a guru, or the dismantling of the federal government. He is an evangelical of "engaged experience" and his sermon has to do with our spare hours. We exist in a stressed out, burned out, multi-tasking world, and...

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Medieval Morality in Abu Dhabi: Brazilian Teenager Gets Six Months In Prison for Having Sex

(8) Comments | Posted August 11, 2010 | 5:32 PM

On Tuesday in Abu Dhabi, a 14-year-old Brazilian girl was sentenced to six months in prison for allegedly having had consensual sex with an adult Pakistani school bus driver, according to UPI and other news sources. The man ("MH") will receive a year in jail and both will be deported....

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Brazil's Hidden Magical Music Festival

(1) Comments | Posted August 6, 2010 | 9:39 PM

One of the best music festivals in Brazil, or the world for that matter, is one that few people know about. The Festival Vale do Café (the Coffee Valley Festival) is a ten-day celebration set in a picturesque valley two hours by car from Rio de Janeiro. This year's event...

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Rio's Carnaval: A Long-Awaited Victory, Record Heat, and a Revived Street Scene

(2) Comments | Posted February 18, 2010 | 7:37 PM

Rio de Janeiro's Carnaval of 2010 was one to remember, with record-breaking temperatures, a claim to hosting the biggest street celebrations in Brazil, a parade victory by a samba school that hadn't won in 74 years, and controversy over a pint-size, under-age drum queen.

Revelers in Rio's Carnaval ("Carnival" in...

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Rio's 2010 Carnaval Kicks Off Amidst Heat, Optimism & Controversy

(0) Comments | Posted February 15, 2010 | 4:15 PM

Rio de Janeiro's 2010 Carnaval celebration is in full swing amidst soaring temperatures and a wave of optimism as Brazil's economy thrives, its president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva enjoys remarkable popularity, and the city enjoys its status as the site of the 2016 Olympics. There is controversy over a...

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Carnaval in Rio: How to Have Fun and Not Get Mugged

(1) Comments | Posted February 12, 2010 | 2:39 PM

Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro is bigger and better than ever in 2010, with the street celebrations having surged in popularity over the last ten years and grown to rival the city's famed escolas de samba ("samba schools") as a major tourist attraction. Unfortunately, during the last decade crime also...

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Haiti: The Saintly (Zilda Arns Neumann) and the Shameful (Pat Robertson)

(2) Comments | Posted January 19, 2010 | 5:55 PM

By now, we all know that televangelist Pat Robertson proclaimed that the horrendous earthquake in Haiti was God's punishment of that nation because of a pact it made long ago with the Devil. What kind of contemporary "spiritual leader" would spew such heartless, mean-spirited, superstitious nonsense after a tragic event...

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Immersion in Pandora: The Virtual World of Avatar

(3) Comments | Posted January 15, 2010 | 9:45 AM

As a filmmaker, James Cameron is a thrill master, but not a deep thinker. The themes in his films, noble as they are, are nothing new, and his futuristic ideas are old hat compared to what's explored in the best science-fiction literature. His plots are sturdy and formulaic, designed to...

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The Importance of Being Cerrado: Brazil's Other Huge, Endangered Ecosystem

(2) Comments | Posted December 28, 2009 | 4:47 PM

Everyone knows the vital importance of the Amazon rain forest for our planet, but few are aware that right next door is another endangered ecosystem of great size and considerable importance. The Cerrado is a vast savanna that stretches across two million square kilometers in central Brazil and is about...

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Brazil's Big Blackout of 2009

(1) Comments | Posted November 11, 2009 | 4:17 PM

Brazil's Big Blackout of 2009 hit us a little after 10pm last night in Rio de Janeiro. I was online, talking on Skype with my friend Barry in Florida, when the power went off and on, off and on, and then out completely. Our home was plunged into darkness, as...

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Rio and the 2016 Summer Olympics: Reflections on Brazil and the Marvelous City

(22) Comments | Posted October 2, 2009 | 6:50 PM

Today, Brazilians partied on Copacabana beach like it was 2016. The cariocas (natives of Rio de Janeiro) samba-ed on the sand, Brazilians across the nation celebrated deliriously, and President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Lula) was overcome with tears at a televised press conference. The International Olympic Committee awarded Rio...

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A Clockwork Apocalypse: The Southern California Wildfire

(7) Comments | Posted September 6, 2009 | 8:59 PM

As of Sunday, the Station Fire north of Los Angeles had caused two deaths, destroyed 76 homes, and scorched 157,000 acres of the Angeles National Forest, which is visited by millions of hikers, trail bikers, campers, picnickers, and skiers every year. It burned right through one of the most beautiful...

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