April 15, 2012

Bossa Nova Love

Astrud Gilberto, ''a rainha da bossa nova''
Last week was warm, beautiful and sunny, and so I played my Bossa Nova playlist. As soon as the music was on, I was nostalgic of/looking forward to the summer. Let me tell you a little bit about Bossa Nova, and why I like this music genre so much!

Bossa Nova is a subgenre of Brazilian Jazz that emerged and was most popular in the fifties and the sixties. It's kind of a mix of Brazilian Jazz and Samba.

Most people would agree that Stan Getz, Antonio Carlos Jobim (a.k.a. Tom Jobim), João Gilberto and his (ex-) wife Astrud Gilberto were some of the most influential Bossa Nova figures.

The album Getz/Gilberto features all of the artists mentioned above, and is widely considered as incarnating the ''finest hour'' of Bossa Nova. Oh, and this album won the 1965 Grammy for Best Album of the Year. Everyone was nuts about it in the U.S. and South America.

The Girl from Ipanema (1965 Grammy for Record of the Year) is on that album. Listen to Astrud's gentle voice as well as the piano and saxophone solos. A masterpiece!

Garota de Ipanema (The Girl from Ipanema)  
Oh yes, and I forgot to talk about how profoundly Portuguese-speaking Bossa Nova is. And when you listen to it enough you realize that it couldn't be English, nor any other language for that matter. Portuguese excels in conveying emotions and moods while keeping an aura of mystery around the song.
The poetry in Corcovado, fifth track on the Getz / Gilberto album, is mind-blowing. 

Corcovado (Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars)
Um cantinho um violão
Esse amor, uma canção
Prá fazer feliz a quem se ama
Muita calma prá pensar
E ter tempo prá sonhar
Da janela vê-se o Corcovado
O Redentor que lindo!
Quero a vida sempre assim
Com você perto de mim
Até o apagar da velha chama
E eu que era triste
Descrente desse mundo
Ao encontrar você eu conheci
O que é felicidade
Meu amor

It feels like it would be criminal to translate this, so I'll leave it to your imagination. You can probably guess the meaning of some of the words... And decide what you think it means!

Bossa Nova is not only beautiful music; in my mind, it is associated with beautiful memories. 

Warm summer evenings in the backyard. A soft wind, a sunset. It is dark but not quite. The air is warm but the grass is cold. Sipping a glass of wine with friends. Closing our eyes and delighting in the beauty of our favourite jazz songs. Talking about the past, the present, the future. Hoping that someday we'll be all together in Brazil, on the beaches of Ipanema, at night, closing our eyes, and listening to the same songs.


  1. The 60s... great time for music, and fashion too, of course!

    Gaby Lang,

  2. Woah, did you seriously write this post yesterday? Good timing.

    I had this phase where I was really obsessed with Indian music. So it kind of makes me sad that I could never write an Indian melody with English lyrics without it sounding stupid. And I don't speak Sanskrit so that's not an option either. All this to agree with your point that certain styles are married to their language of origin.

  3. Belo post....Devo concordar contigo, transbordamos de emoções....Adorei seu cantinho..=D Vou mandar alguns links p ti de músicas de primeira..


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