São Paulo is the third largest city in the world and Brazil’s sprawling cultural hub. It’s a city made up of immigrants from all of the world, while also being home to Brazilians from other parts of the country. Home to many African, Caribbean, Arab, Italian, German, and Japanese immigrants and housing the largest Jewish population in Brazil, anyone can be Brazilian in Sao Paulo. Imagine Manhattan and its high rise buildings. Then imagine the urban sprawl of Los Angeles. Filled with street art and its own style of graffiti (Pichação) on almost every corner and building, Sao Paulo is also the place to be if you’re looking to buy music in Brazil.
The demand for Brazilian music has been high since the late ’90s and many records remains rare and difficult to track down. A word of warning though – if you haven’t been to Brazil since 2001 and are expecting the same type of supply and demand that you experienced 15 years ago, you will be disappointed. Although prices are probably at an all-time high right now, São Paulo is the one city in Brazil where you’ll be put in front of more records than anywhere else.
The list of record stores below is just the tip of the iceberg. There are probably over fifty other locations throughout the city that have records for sale and ‘sebos’ (second hand shops that sell old books, magazines, and records) are all over the place. None of those places are listed though because some things are best discovered on your own. If you’re local you’ll know where to go; if you’re visiting for the first time, your best bet is to visit one of these stores below, meet the owners, and hopefully either find something that you’ve been looking for, or even better, something you didn’t know you wanted.
Read more: The definitive guide to Sao Paulo’s best record shops