From the Zika virus to government corruption, Brazil has generated some rotten publicity this year. But three local gigs this week remind us of the country's deep and sublime musical heritage.
First up is Rodrigo Amarante, the Rio native who took the Brazilian rock group Los Hermanos in a more indigenous direction, helmed the samba big band Orquestra Imperial, formed the supergroup Little Joy with Strokes drummer Fabrizio Moretti and collaborated with Devendra Banhart. But Thursday at the Cedar he'll probably focus on his crowning achievement, the solo disc "Cavalo," a deliciously clever mix of singer-songwriter folk and Brazilian Tropicalia. (7:30 p.m. Thu. Cedar Cultural Center, $15-$18, thecedar.org)
On Friday, Bebel Gilberto returns to the Dakota to loft the bittersweet, Brazilian-infused balladry and toe-tapping sway that goes so well with the onset of summer. The daughter of bossa nova pioneer Joao Gilberto, she learned in childhood to vocalize saudade — that explicitly Portuguese evocation of warm melancholy — and has honed it to a fine art while maturing into the essence of a modern tropical chanteuse. (7 p.m. Fri., Dakota, $40-$45, dakotacooks.com)
Then there is Tres Mundos, the musically natty trio featuring local salsa and Latin jazz mainstay Doug Little on saxophones and flute, together with the bewitching vocals and piano of Cuban Viviana Pintado and the glorious beats of Brazilian percussionist Eliezer Freites-Santos, from Buenos Aires by way of the Afro-Cuban-Brazilian musical wellspring of Bahia. Tres Mundos plays son rumba, samba and jazz with delightful cross-cultural aplomb. (7 p.m. Sat., Studio Z, $10-$15, studiozstpaul.com)
Britt Robson is a Twin Cities-based writer.