16 Portuguese Podcasts from Brazil to Boost Your Language Skills and Cultural Knowledge
There is a whole range of fascinating and informative podcasts in Brazilian Portuguese on all kinds of subjects, from politics and music to literature to sexuality.
More importantly, you’ll be learning Portuguese while you listen.
Native Brazilian podcasts are great for rocketing yourself forward with your language studies.
- 1. Best for Culture: “Bacanudo”
- 2. Best for Society: “Café Brasil”
- 3. Best for History: “Escriba Café”
- 4. Best for Politics and Current Events: “Mamilos”
- 5. Best for Literature:“Caixa de Histórias”
- 6. Best for Science: “Dragões de Garagem”
- 7. Best for LGBTQ+ Topics: “Lado Bi”
- 8. Best for Comedy: “Não Ouvo”
- 9. Best for Casual Language: “Pub de Ideias”
- 10. Best for Easy Science: “Scicast”
- 11. Best for Space and Science: “Fronteiras da Ciência”
- 12. Best for Music: “Samba Rock na Veia”
- 13. Best for Slower Speed: “Todo Mundo Pod”
- 14. Best for News: “SBS Portuguese”
- 15. Best for Learners: “PortuguesePod101”
- 16. Best for Natural Dialogue: “BrazilPod”
1. Best for Culture: “Bacanudo”
Bacanudo is a fun way to say “awesome.”
This podcast is a little bit smarter than drive-time radio, but still consists of loud, fun, informal conversations among a handful of hosts about mainly cultural topics. Fortunately for Portuguese learners, many of the subjects are pretty internationally known; for example, conversations have covered live hard rock concerts by international acts, music apps, exported American TV political dramas and digital nomadism.
Journalists and other guests come on the show to talk about their areas of expertise, but (a bit like America’s popular “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast) conversations can wander off into any area of interest for those involved.
This podcast was last updated in 2017, but you can still access and listen to all previous episodes.
2. Best for Society: “Café Brasil”
If vague pop-philosophical reflections are your thing, this is a podcast to check out.
Host Luciano Pires gives little talks each week on politics, Brazilian culture and the way we live together and form a society. His goal is to enlighten listeners and introduce them to other “personal trainers” for the mind.
If this all gets to be a bit too heady, the podcasts are punctuated by some really great selections of MPB (música popular brasileira, a style of popular music birthed from samba, rock and bossa nova in the 1960s).
3. Best for History: “Escriba Café”
This rather irregularly produced but still available podcast by Christian Gurtner is great for history buffs or those curious about culture. In case you were wondering, escriba translates as “scribe.”
Each installment takes you into the life of a particular person or place and attempts to describe the sights and sensations in order to bring them alive. One episode describes early inhabitants of Easter Island, another discusses British author and Lieutenant General Lord Baden-Powell, founder of Boy Scouts of America.
This podcast is of particular value to learners who are earlier on in their Portuguese adventure and want something with clear, slow speech and uncomplicated vocabulary without a lot of slang.
4. Best for Politics and Current Events: “Mamilos”
And now, thanks to the title of this podcast, you know the invaluable Portuguese word for “nipple.”
When I asked Paulista (from São Paulo) friends for their top podcast recommendations, this was the one that everyone mentioned. Through conversations and interviews (which feel a lot like informal conversations) Juliana Wallauer and Cris Bartis cover trending topics in politics and culture.
“Trending topics” in Brazil, it turns out, are similar to what people are ranting, tweeting and blogging about globally. The podcast covers feminism, sexuality, Brazilian and international politics, health, internet free speech and many other topics. While the angle of attack carries a certain emphasis on Brazilian concerns, the episodes are generally on international topics that informed listeners from other parts of the world will already be familiar with.
The tagline for “Mamilos” is “Informação com inteligência, humor, respeito e empatia” (information with intelligence, humor, respect and empathy). As this suggests, the hosts are much more interested in digging into issues than in selling a particular viewpoint (though there’s some of that too). I’ve heard them get some things wrong, but I’ve also heard them go back and correct misinformation from a previous podcast.
5. Best for Literature:“Caixa de Histórias”
If you like to listen to smart people discussing literature, this is your podcast. The title translates as “box of stories,” since the podcast opens up with stories and somewhat dramatized readings from books, then offers discussions of the literature, often through interviews with the authors themselves.
The podcast aims to provide a new type of forum for literature appreciation and to draw in new readers. From the point of view of a Portuguese learner, this needn’t be intimidating; it can be actually easier to understand literary language, with all of its shared Latin roots with English, than more informal Portuguese. The host and the authors usually speak relatively slowly and clearly.
This podcast was last updated in 2022, but you can access and listen to previous episodes.
6. Best for Science: “Dragões de Garagem”
The title of this podcast means “garage dragons”; it’s a play on Carl Sagan’s analogy about the unfalsifiability of a belief in a god.
This podcast covers anything and everything in the science world, from biology to linguistics to physics, all at a very basic level for the science-impaired. Even if your Portuguese isn’t perfect, you should still be able to follow. The speakers talk slowly, don’t use a lot of slang and explain scientific terms in common language. Frankly, there’s some annoying background music, but you’ll probably learn to tune this out.
Some of the scientific topics come straight from the headlines. The Zika virus and gravity waves were some topics sparked by news events. Others are just timeless and fascinating corners of the scientific universe, such as the mathematics of music and the history of the study of birds.
7. Best for LGBTQ+ Topics: “Lado Bi”
This podcast is a new discovery for me, but it’s one of my favorites. The title translates as “bi side” and the podcast itself takes on all sorts of topics in the Brazilian and international LGBTQ+ communities, ones that are certainly of interest to those beyond these communities.
One podcast episode was a look at homosexuality in funk carioca, the style of music that’s a Rio-based, hyper-aggressive answer to Miami bass. This obnoxious form of hip-hop is usually seen as sexist and homophobic to say the least, so listening to the episode completely blew my mind. It gave insight into another side of funk carioca and, for that matter, into how any musical style can be reappropriated and expanded.
There are also interviews with important political personalities and writers with interesting perspectives on LGBTQ+ issues and far beyond.
This podcast was last updated in 2018, but you are still able to listen to older episodes.
8. Best for Comedy: “Não Ouvo”
This translates as “I don’t hear” and it’s the sister podcast of the famous blog Não Salvo (“I don’t save”).
It’s a wild, noisy humor podcast, and as such may be a challenge for some beginning learners.
The hosts and guests chat around a theme, but also delve into whatever is on their minds. Subjects on episodes have included travel, music, pets and childhood memories. It feels a little like listening in on aimless conversations between close friends. There are some good interludes with Brazilian music.
This podcast was last updated in 2021, but you can still listen to previously uploaded episodes.
9. Best for Casual Language: “Pub de Ideias”
For those of you wanting to perfect your drinking Portuguese, this is your podcast.
The hosts sound aim to sound like a couple of guys sitting around in a bar, chatting about whatever is in the news and on their minds. This can include international celebrity gossip, Brazilian news and social trends. While the language is very informal, they speak relatively slowly and the sound quality is good.
This was last updated in 2022, but you can still listen to previously uploaded episodes.
10. Best for Easy Science: “Scicast”
This long science podcast (episodes last nearly two hours each) sounds a bit like it’s made for children. If you don’t mind the tone, this can be a good thing for Portuguese learners.
Scientific subjects are explained in a straightforward manner and with lots of detail in what sound like scripted dialogues. Subjects vary widely, but just to give an idea, have included: botany, epidemiology, Marie Curie and even the science of humor.
11. Best for Space and Science: “Fronteiras da Ciência”
This science podcast gets quickly into the weeds of all kinds of narrow subjects, but the informal and rather unstructured conversations with guest experts are interesting if you can stay alert.
Some of the topics that I’ve heard covered include the game theory behind rock-paper-scissors, an X-ray space telescope, the science of “Star Trek,” the effect of Brazilian meat consumption on global warming (it’s not what you’d think!) and more.
12. Best for Music: “Samba Rock na Veia”
There are not, as far as I’ve been able to ascertain, any quality samba rock podcasts out there at this time (“Samba do Crioulo Doido” was a great one).
“Samba Rock na Veia” isn’t available as a podcast feed, but rather the page above links to a number of mixtapes in SoundCloud and other venues from the most mind-blowing DJs on the Paulista scene. If you’d like to learn Portuguese with Brazil’s (and the planet’s) funkiest music, this is a great place to do it.
13. Best for Slower Speed: “Todo Mundo Pod”
Todo Mundo Pod covers a variety of different topics relevant to Brazil, and is aimed at learners to help you grow your vocabulary and overall comprehension skills.
To improve your understanding, the speed of the podcast is slightly slower than usual, meaning you have a better chance of hearing exactly what is being said. This will help you follow along better, and tune your ears to the language.
You can also download PDF transcripts of each episode, so you can study even more, and really boost your comprehension.
14. Best for News: “SBS Portuguese”
The SBS Portuguese podcast brings you news from Australia and the world in Portuguese. This covers anything from sports, to cooking and society, and is a great way to stay up to date with some of the latest news while also practicing your Portuguese listening skills.
You’ll get to hear a variety of different voices, covering a huge range of topics. Each episode also varies in length, so even if you only have a few minutes to squeeze some listening practice in, you’ll be able to do so with SBS Portuguese.
15. Best for Learners: “PortuguesePod101”
If you’re looking for something more learner-oriented, PortguguesePod101 could be for you. You can listen to podcast audio lessons and video lessons that cover a variety of topics relating to the Portuguese language, and that are specifically designed to help learners at different levels improve their skills.
You can sign up to a premium plan on their website to get access to more features, however, you’re also able to access podcast episodes on platforms like Apple and Soundcloud. This includes episodes for beginner, intermediate and advanced students. Additionally, you can learn key vocabulary about important topics, while simultaneously learning important cultural details.
16. Best for Natural Dialogue: “BrazilPod”
BrazilPod is a website that allows you access to teaching materials for the study of Portuguese at the University of Texas at Austin.
There is a range of episodes available for different projects, including Conversa Brasileira which are video scenarios where different people interact with each other in Portuguese. These unscripted conversations are useful because they feature more of the elements of natural dialogue, like false starts, clarifications and more.
This is along with other projects which focus on improving both your cultural and linguistic understanding of Brazillian Portuguese.
There’s so much more out there in the Brazilian podcasting universe to be enjoyed, but I hope that this gives you Portuguese learners plenty of places to dive in.
If you come across words and aren’t sure exactly how to use them, you can use other resources to find out more about them. For example, the FluentU program lets you search its library of authentic videos using specific words or phrases, so you can watch them in a natural context used by native speakers.
The Brazilian podcast universe will continue to grow as well, so more and more great podcasts will be born and enrich the Lusophone world.
And that’s all the more motivation to keep perfecting your Portuguese.