Let the Rio 2016 Games begin! Here's your 90-second A-Z of Brazilian culture

Updated 29th July 2016
Let the Rio 2016 Games begin! Here's your 90-second A-Z of Brazilian culture
Written by Fiona Sinclair Scott, CNNHolly Vear, CNN
As all eyes turn to Brazil, the host of the 2016 Olympic Games, we bring you an alternative, cultural guide to the country that gave the world Gisele, Pelé and Walter Salles. Watch the video above for your A to Z of Brazil.

A is for Astrud Gilberto

It was pure luck which led bossa nova singer Astrud Gilberto to record "The Girl from Ipanema" in 1964, a record which would go on to sell millions of copies.
Following the success of the original song, Brazilian musician João Gilberto, who was collaborating with Jazz artist Stan Getz at the time, decided to record an English language version; he chose his wife Astrud because she was the only person in the recording session who spoke more than phrasebook English.

B is for Beatriz Milhazes

Acclaimed artist Beatriz Milhazes is known for her geometric shapes, technicolor palette and art works which draw from every corner of Brazilian culture; from lacework and carnival decorations, to baroque architecture and the upbeat energy of popular Brazilian music.

C is for Cinema Novo

Cinema Novo, meaning 'new cinema' in Portuguese, is a film genre which originated in Brazil in the 1960s. Cinema Novo films were stylistically innovative, politically critical, intellectual, and often focused on the subject of social equality.

D is for Design by Isay Weinfeld

One of Brazil's top architects, Isay Weinfeld is also known for his award-winning furniture designs. Ranging from the interiors of restaurants, to private homes and commercial spaces, Weinfeld's creations draw on the 1950s Brazilian modernism, and are characterized by sleek, angular lines and natural materials.

E is for Ernesto Neto

Ernesto Neto is famous for his visual art installations of large, soft, biomorphic sculptures; crocheted knits and suspended cocoons, filled with everything from aromatic spices, to candy and colorful Styrofoam balls. Innately interactive, Neto's installations are made to be walked through and touched.

F is for Francisco Costa

Having previously worked for Oscar de la Renta and Tom Ford, Francisco Costa was the Creative Director of Womenswear at Calvin Klein Collections since 2003. Recently announced to be leaving the company, Costa is credited with having revamped the classic American brand with his focus on minimalist and restrained shapes.

G is for Gisele Bündchen

Arguably one of the world's most successful supermodels, Gisele Bündchen was one of the first Brazilian models to find success abroad in the 1990s. In 2015 she was reported to be the world's highest paid model, and throughout her career has achieved the kind of fame which warrants the use of a single name moniker; Gisele.

H is for Hélio Oiticica

The late Hélio Oiticica is regarded as one of the most innovative Brazilian artists of the 20th century. Best known for being part of the Brazilian avant-garde 'Neo-Concrete' movement of the 1950s and 60s, Oiticica produced paintings and three dimensional objects which experimented with form, color and material.

I is for Inhotim

Inhotim is an outdoor art gallery and botanical garden, sprawling over thousands of acres in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, founded by former mining magnate Bernardo Paz. The botanical gardens surrounding the contemporary art museum were designed by Paz's friend, Roberto Burle Marx and the pavilions include over 500 artworks by some of the world's leading artists, including Yayoi Kusama, Hélio Oiticica, Anish Kapoor and Vik Muniz.
Inhotim: Inside Brazil's sprawling art park

J is for Joga Bonito

"Joga Bonito", the beautiful game, has become synonymous with football in Brazil after the term was used by acclaimed player Pelé. It has now entered the language as an endearing description of the game, in a country where football reigns supreme as the most popular sport ever.

K is for Kogan, Marcio

Marcio Kogan is considered one of the top contemporary architects working in Brazil today, and is known for his focus on indoor-outdoor "tropical modernism". Following an early career as a film director, where he worked with close friend Isay Wienfeld, Kogan went on to found his own studio, MK27 that continues to produce original films as well as buildings.

L is for Leminski

Poet, expert judo sensei, writer, teacher, literary critic, and translator, Paulo Leminski became known in the 1970s and 80s, for his haiku and 'concrete poems'; a style of poetry that sees words shaped to depict the subject they represent.

M is for MCs

Brazil is known for its active MC community. Some well-known names and crews include Racionais MCs, Rappin' Hood, GOG, Emicida and Flora Matos.

N is for Niemeyer

Oscar Niemeyer was a Brazilian architect who is now considered to be one of the key figures in the development of modern architecture. Known for his work with curves and reinforced concrete, some of Niemeyer's most famous buildings include the National Congress building in Brasilia, the Niterói Arts Centre in Rio, and his collaborative work on the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

O is for Olympics

Following the 2012 World Cup, Brazil will be the host of the 2016 Summer Olympics. Taking place in Rio de Janeiro in August, the event will attract over 10,500 athletes from 206 countries.

P is for Pelé

Often regarded as the greatest football player of all time, Pelé is a national hero in Brazil. Named World Player of the Century and one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century by Time magazine, Pelé is now retired and dedicates himself to being a worldwide ambassador for the sport.

Q is for Queens of the Carnival

The annual Carnival celebration engulfs Brazil in an explosion of music, samba dancing and extravagant costumes. The festivities are embodied by the Carnival Queens, or the Rainha de Bateria, chosen to dance in front of the drum section of each samba school's troupe, in bombastic outfits that can take weeks or months to craft.

R is for Roberto Burle Marx

A modernist landscape architect, the late Roberto Burle Marx became world famous for his parks and gardens. Some of his most well-known work include the mosaic pavements of the Copacabana promenade in Rio, the Aterro do Flamengo Park in Sao Paolo, and the hanging gardens of the Ministry of Education and Public Health in Rio de Janeiro.

S is for Street Art

Brazil enjoys a vibrant, but also politically and socially aware street art community. Artists include the twins Os Gêmeos, known for their giant yellow characters and commentary on Sao Paulo's social reality, Nunca, who is inspired by the indigenous culture of Brazil, and GAIS, known for his massive, colorful and modernist murals.

T is for Tudo bem, tudo bom

The most common greeting in Brazil, "tudo bem?" and "tudo bom" are used interchangeably, and literally mean, 'Everything well?' and 'Everything good?'. To pass as a local, you should answer tudo bom or simply, tudo.

U is for UNESCO World Heritage Sites

A country bursting with rich cultural and historical landmarks, Brazil figures prominently on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Some of these include the historic town of Ouro Preto, an old gold mining town, Iguaçu National Park with its famous waterfalls, and the Atlantic Rainforest on the southern coast of Brazil.

V is for Vital Brazil

Vital Brazil was a physicist, who discovered a polyvalent anti-ophidic serum used to treat bites of venomous snakes of the Crotalus, Bothrops and Elaps genera. He is considered one of the pioneers of anti-venomous serotherapy.

W is for Walter Salles

The internationally renowned film director Walter Salles is perhaps most famous for his 2004 film, "The Motorcycle Diaries", which went on to become a box-office hit in both Latin America and Europe. He has since directed the films "Dark Water", "Linha de Passe" and "On the Road".

X is for Xica da Silva

Born in 1732, Francisca da Silva de Oliveira (aka Chica da Silva) was a Brazilian woman who rose to wealth and power despite being born into slavery. Her story has inspired various films, books and plays, where her name is often changed to Xica da Silva.

Y is for Yomar Augusto

Yomar Augusto is a multimedia designer, typographic artist and graphic designer from Brazil. Raised in Brasilia and establishing his own studio in Rio de Janeiro, Augusto has since gone on to study, work and teach in the Netherlands, New York and California.

Z is for Zanini de Zanine

Designer Zanini de Zanine is the creative force behind Studio Zanini in Rio de Janeiro. Working within the fields of interior design and architecture, Zanine is known for using ecologically conscious wood, and reclaimed materials for his furniture.