40 Years Off Key

    40 Years
Off Key

    That’s Bossa Nova
    It’s Quite Natural

    How did bossa nova start? It would be naïve to contend that it
    had but one moment of birth. Some say the start of the movement was the LP Canção de
    Amor Demais by Elizeth Cardoso. Or was it "Desafinado" by Tom Jobim and
    Newton Mendonça and its line "That is bossa nova, it is very natural"?
    One defining relationship started when João Gilberto first met Antônio Carlos (Tom)
    Jobim, in Ipanema. Jobim, Vinícius, João Gilberto, Menescal, Elis, Nara Leão, Maysa,
    Baden Powel, Sylvinha Telles, Carlos Lyra, Bôscoli, Bonfá, Castro Neves, all the players
    are here to celebrate the 40th anniversary of bossa nova.
    By Kirsten Weinoldt

    Revolution Rev.o.lu.tion: The action by a celestial body of going
    around in an orbit or elliptical course.
    2.: a fundamental change in political organization; esp. the overthrow or
    renunciation of one government or ruler and the substitution of another by the governed.
    3.: activity or movement designed to effect fundamental changes in the
    socioeconomic situation.
    4.: a fundamental change in the way of thinking about or visualizing something.

    Those are just some of the ways in which the dictionary defines revolution. And bossa
    nova was nothing short of a revolution when it was sown and germinated in 1958. And as
    with any revolution in history, this one was welcomed with a mixed reaction, ranging from
    shock and dismay to excited enthusiasm and inspiration.

    MPB (Música Popular Brasileira—Brazilian Popular Music) great, Caetano Veloso,
    speaks of his introduction to the new style (bossa nova means new style),
    remembering with fondness how he as a 16-year-old would sit across the street from a bar
    in Santo Amaro, his hometown, in Bahia state, and listen to the record of fellow Baiano,
    João Gilberto, singing "Chega de Saudade," in English known as "No More
    Blues." The flipside of that single was "Bim Bom" written by João himself.
    For young Caetano, this record was a revelation, possibly one of the inspirations for his
    own career that would later be legendary.

    Revolutions generally happen as a result of the oppression and deep dissatisfaction of
    a people. This particular event could hardly be said to have sprung from oppression, but
    rather a desire to break with tradition—and a rich tradition it was—Brazilian
    popular music. And it was that rich heritage that laid the groundwork for the revolution.
    Before getting into the style known as bossa nova and its players, it would be
    prudent to look at those who made the great leap possible.

    Caetano Veloso, in his recent show, Fina Estampa, talks about the phenomenon and
    its father, João Gilberto, but goes on to mention a great, beloved singer who came
    before—Orlando Silva. In the show he performs a song made famous by Orlando Silva,
    "Lábios que eu Beijei" (Lips that I Kissed), one of the songs that inspired
    João Gilberto to sire the new style. Calling it "the missing link" between bossa
    nova and what came before, Caetano also performed João Gilberto’s 1950 "Você
    Esteve com Meu Bem" (You Were with My Sweetheart). In it you can hear a hint of the
    beat that was to become so famous only a few years later.

    In 1940’s Brazil samba canção was the rage. But there were already
    people who were changing the sound of Brazilian music. Carioca (from Rio) pianist
    and singer, Johnny Alf—real name Alfredo José da Silva—was born in sambista
    great Noel Rosa’s own neighborhood of Vila Isabel. He was breaking new ground with his
    jazz inspired piano playing and singing. Ahead of his time, he was also the subject of
    acidic criticism at the time. One critic after hearing him at one of the clubs in Rio, in
    which he performed, remarked, "This fellow plays a kind of music nobody
    understands." His syncopated playing must, indeed, have sounded out of place in early
    50’s Rio. But there were other people upon whom Alf made a lasting and inspiring
    impression. He had a couple of hits, "Rapaz de Bem" (Nice Guy) and "Eu e a
    Brisa" (I and the Breeze), that were covered by other artists. Unable to make a
    decent living, however, he accepted work in São Paulo and left Rio until 1962—an act
    that took him out of the loop of the bossa nova mainstream that was about to spring
    up.

    American Frank Sinatra with his velvet voice was loved all over the world, including
    Brazil. The Brazilian answer to Sinatra, however, was found in the embodiment of Dick
    Farney, who sang those American ballads and made a success of himself in New York. Radio
    announcer, Luís Serrano got the brilliant idea of combining the two heartthrob singers.
    Thus, on February 3rd, 1949, in a basement in Tijuca, bairro
    (neighborhood) of Rio, was born the Sinatra-Farney fan club.

    It was said that Dick Farney was more American than Brazilian, singing the repertoires
    of Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole, until he followed the suggestion of composer Orlando
    Belandi that he use the same romantic style to sing samba-canto in Portuguese. In
    this fashion, Dick Farney became a symbol and opened avenues for those who were yet to
    come as bossa nova singers.

    Another pre-bossa nova musician, who influenced later players, was Billy Blanco,
    whose brief partnership with Tom Jobim produced "Tereza da Praia" (Tereza from
    the Beach), which was performed by Dick Farney and Lúcio Alves. The latter—a rival
    of Farney’s, was one of Brazil’s great singers. It was said that his voice "appeared
    to come from a dormant volcano." Lúcio was only 14 when he founded the group
    Namorados da Lua (Boyfriends of the Moon), in 1941. He very cleverly adapted his style to
    singing samba in the way of Bing Crosby. He dissolved the group in ’47 and founded
    another, Os Anaw6kx do Inferno (The Angels of Hell). His odd style did not become popular in
    Rio, where he was virtually unknown.

    Then, in 1950, young João Gilberto arrived from his home state of Bahia at the
    invitation of Os Garotos da Lua (The Moonboys), thereby throwing his voice into the ring
    of the vocal group war. Os Garotos did not sing in English. They were Brazilian and sang
    in Portuguese. With the arrival of João Gilberto, the group began to annoy the other
    groups. However, João Gilberto did not easily conform to the rules of the group. He also
    had the idea that he would do well on his own. Therefore, when his failure to show up for
    rehearsals and shows resulted in his subsequent firing, it probably did not upset him very
    much. The eccentric Senhor Gilberto next allied himself to another eccentric João
    (Donato), and the two prepared the way for bossa nova together.

    The group Os Cariocas with their nationalistic music, had their first success with
    "Adeus América" (Farewell, America) by Geraldo Jacques, in which they mock such
    American "institutions" as boogie woogie, swing, rock, singing "Que isso
    não está mais pra mim. Eu quero um samba feito só pra mim," That this is not
    for me anymore. I want a samba made just for me.

    "That night, as I heard that slow and syncopated samba, the musician hiding in
    me took control of my body. I became part of that wonderful energy of the trio, when a cuíca
    came from within me, and I had the courage to imitate its sound, at the right time and in
    the right pitch. Later, the musicians told me I must be Brazilian to understand that exact
    moment."

    Luciane Simonds, expatriate Brazilian, after a recent concert with Eliane Elias.

    The Birth of
    Bossa Nova

    It would be naïve to contend that bossa nova had but one moment of birth after
    conception and gestation. Almir Chediak, who has given so much to lovers of Brazilian
    music with his Songbooks, collections of music on CD and in books, representative
    of a great many of MPB’s greatest, has also issued a CD-ROM called Song Book about bossa
    nova. On it, he challenges the user to answer questions and then provides the answers.
    About the birth of bossa nova he depicts 5 possibilities with pictures to click on,
    then with text, animation, "live" performances by several artists, and sound
    tracks of famous songs, he answers the questions posed by himself.

    One of them, which countless others see as the start of bossa nova, is the LP Canção
    de Amor Demais (Song of Too Much Love), by Elizeth Cardoso. On it she sings Tom Jobim
    and Vinícius de Moraes’ "Chega de Saudade" (Enough Longing) almost
    simultaneously made famous by the guitarist who accompanied her, João Gilberto.

    Another of the possibilities mentioned was a phone call from Tom Jobim to the artistic
    director of record company, Odeon, Aloysio de Oliveira. Tom Jobim had heard mention of a
    "Baiano singer with a different style," whom he wanted to invite to his
    house. That precipitated the first meeting between two of the geniuses of bossa nova.

    Yet another option on the CD-ROM is this, on the liner notes of the LP entitled Chega
    de Saudade, Tom Jobim, in fact, gave name to the new movement. He called João
    Gilberto "O Baiano bossa-nova de 27 anos" (The new-style,
    27-year-old Bahian), thereby coining a name that would send shock waves into the world.

    A fourth "click" introduces the song "Desafinado" (Off-key) by Tom
    Jobim and Newton Mendonça and its line "Isso é Bossa Nova, isso é muito
    natural" (That is bossa nova, it is very natural). A delightful animation
    shows a hapless singer being bombarded with tomatoes as he sings "Off Key" off
    key.

    Last, but not least, is mentioned a conversation that took place at Casa Villarino, a
    bar, in 1956. Critic and historian Lúcio Rangel introduced Tom Jobim to Vinícius de
    Moraes, who was looking for a musical partnership for his play Orfeu da Conceição."
    Tom Jobim was a little embarrassed but finally dared ask the question if there were any
    money in the project. The play did not produce great remuneration, but a divine and
    immortal partnership was born.

    The mid 50’s had brought with them a desire for renovation. Popular music had for some
    time, to a great degree, come from outside Brazil. A movement for creating music inside
    the country—a music all-Brazilian, albeit with foreign influences, was brewing among
    a group of young people in the Zona Sul in Rio—a talented group of musicians and
    singers—born into the bourgeoisie of Ipanema and Copacabana. These people were eager
    to create their own jeito, their own way: "Revolution with beauty," a
    phrase used by the triumvirate of Tom Jobim, Vinícius de Moraes, and Carlos Lyra.

    Tom Jobim did not like what people were saying, that bossa nova was inspired by
    jazz. He said of the subject that his work was inspired by the harmonies of Villa-Lobos,
    Chopin, and other classics. Others said that what he and his pals did was simply samba.
    Then, producer and lyricist Aloysio de Oliveira created quite a stir when he arrived from
    the U.S. and stated that "Foi a Noite" (It was the Night), by Jobim and Newton
    Mendonça and "Menina" (Girl), by Carlos Lyra, recorded by Sylvinha Telles, were
    not samba, not samba-canção, nor ballads. "I have seen that something new is
    being born," he said.

    João Gilberto was intrigued by the modern style employed by Tito Madi, who had great
    success with "Chove Lá Fora" (It’s Raining Outside). They struck up a
    friendship, which led to many creative moments between the two.

    But one defining relationship during this time, of course, started when João Gilberto
    first set foot in the apartment belonging to Antônio Carlos (Tom) Jobim, in Ipanema. Tom
    was astonished to hear the beat utilized by the Baiano singer and immediately
    thought of "Chega de Saudade," already recorded by Elizeth Cardoso, as a vehicle
    for João. As history has shown, his instincts were exactly right.

    At that time, São Paulo was the important market for music. The director of Odeon
    Records, Osvaldo Gurzoni, however, showed somewhat less enthusiasm than Tom Jobim had. In
    fact, when presented with the record, he is said to have had a fit and broken it. Thus, he
    too, has his place in the history of bossa nova. One can only be grateful it was
    the finished product and not the master tape he heard. "Chega de Saudade" went
    on to break all record sales in Brazil and around the world.

    Osvaldo Gurzoni was not the only one who vociferously expressed his dislike for the new
    style. Antônio Maria, author of sambas-canções like "Ninguém Me Ama"
    (Nobody Loves Me), was one of the first. Nobody, however, was as virulent as music critic
    José Ramos Tinhorão, for whom bossa nova never went beyond "an assembly of
    North American music, a servile adaptation of cool jazz." One can only wonder if at
    some time later, Mr. Tinhorão felt as if he were standing on the track of an oncoming
    train with a picket, protesting the noise.

    Brazil had for a long time had a national obsession with the accordion and has, over
    the years, produced many great players. João Gilberto changed that picture forever. The
    sound and beat of his guitar became the manner in which the new musicians of Brazil wanted
    to express themselves. And scores of hopeful young people flocked to learn "the new
    beat" from Carlos Lyra and Roberto Menescal at their music academy. Another tradition
    was born then, as well, that of getting together in small, intimate groups at someone’s
    house to sing and play. Such a place was the so-called bunker of Nara Leão, the muse of bossa
    nova.

    I remember that day clearly—the day that changed my life forever. It was during
    school vacation. Copenhagen was warm and sunny that day, when this teenager strolled up my
    hometown’s famous Walking Street. And there, on the right, in that little movie theater,
    now long gone, I saw the poster of two black people with the morros (hills) of Rio
    in the background. The pictures were too intriguing to pass by, and I bought a ticket for Orfeu
    Negro. I didn’t know the writer, director, score composer, or actors. But it began my
    love affair with Brazil at the same time that it opened the world of bossa nova to
    me.

    Kirsten Weinoldt

    The "Places" of
    Bossa Nova

    Aforementioned Casa Villarino was on the corner of Avenida Calógeras and Avenida
    Presidente Wilson in the center of Rio. It was not just the birthplace of the partnership
    between Tom Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes, but also a creative haven for the bohemians in
    Rio—a place in which were written some of the most wonderful sambas-canções,
    the most passionate poems, and some of the most interesting radio programs of the time.
    Casa Villarino was frequented by such luminaries as the poets Carlos Drummond de Andrade
    and Paulo Mendes Campos, the composers Ary Barroso, Dorival Caymmi, and Fernando Lobo and
    the singers Dolores Duran and Aracy de Almeida.

    Another place with significance in the history of bossa nova, which nurtured the
    growing movement, was the nightclub of the Hotel Plaza at Avenida Prado Júnior. A small
    space, it lent itself perfectly to the get-togethers of greatly talented people, where
    they had the opportunity to play the sounds that were becoming increasingly popular. Not
    surprisingly, it was João Gilberto who brought fame to the Plaza when he performed with
    drummer Milton Banana. Tom Jobim went there to see the Baiano guitarist. But
    perhaps the most famous and wide reaching result stemming from the Plaza was the work done
    by Tom Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes, which led to the birth of bossa nova.

    "Beco das Garrafas" (Bottle Alley) is another term that should not be
    forgotten. In fact, journalist Ruy Castro, author of the book Chega de Saudade, is
    quoted as saying that "the Beco das Garrafas was to bossa nova what Milton’s
    Playhouse on 118th Street in Harlem was to Be-Bop," the jazz style created
    by, among others, Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. Beco das Garrafas got its name from
    the action of the neighbors upon hearing the Carioca bohemians playing their music
    into the wee hours. They threw bottles out the windows at the hapless musicians to get
    them to quiet down. It was a blind alley between Duvivier and Rodolfo Dantos Streets, but
    some time before the start of the 60’s, writer Sérgio Porto baptized it Beco das
    Garrafas.

    Located in Beco das Garrafas were the clubs Little Club, Bottle’s Bar, Baccara, and Ma
    Griffe. The first two presented shows with the duo Miéle and Bôscoli. Then came
    performers like Elis Regina, Paulo Moura, Baden Powell, and many others. Later emerged
    groups like Luizinho Eça’s Tamba Trio, Bossa Três led by Luiz Carlos Vinhas, and the
    sextet of Sérgio Mendes. Discovered in Rome and brought to Brazil, American dancer Lenny
    Dale put his own spin on bossa nova for a while in Beco das Garrafas and almost
    transformed it into another Broadway show. At Bottle’s, his crazy choreography created a
    stir. Waving his arms like the rotors of a helicopter, he appeared on stage. Likewise, he
    made an entrance with a live duck to sing "O Pato" (The Duck). He also invented
    a bossa nova dance filled with lots of swinging and swaying.

    Bossa nova has changed not only the culture but also the geography of Brazil.
    There used to be a little hangout called Bar Veloso on Rua Montenegro. The bar is now
    called Bar Garota de Ipanema and the street is called Rua Vinícius de Moraes. It is
    commonly believed and accepted that Tom Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes composed the song of
    the same name, in English known as The Girl from Ipanema, in this bar. The story, however,
    is not accurate. The famous pair frequented Bar Veloso to drink and chat and gather
    inspiration. And indeed, it was there that in 1962 the green eyes of Heloísa Menezes
    inspired the creative duo to write a song and dedicate it to Helô, as she was generally
    called. But it was in Tom Jobim’s new house on Rua Barão da Torre that the music began.
    The song was, originally, named "Menina que Passa" (Girl Who Walks By) and the
    lyrics were quite different.

    The Bunker of
    Nara Leão.

    Some call the apartment, where 14-year-old Nara Leão lived with her parents, the
    actual beginning of bossa nova, because it was a place in which, supported by her
    parents, Nara’s friends gathered at all times and tried out their compositions. Her circle
    consisted of people like Roberto Menescal, Carlos Lyra, Ronaldo Bôscoli, Chico Feitosa,
    Luís Carlos Vinhas, the brothers Castro Neves, and Dori Caymmi, son of Dorival Caymmi.

    In Rua Nascimento Silva, 107, Tom Jobim stayed up all hours of the night to compose
    music for Vinícius de Moraes’ play Orfeu da Conceição. The architect who
    designed Brazil’s new capital Brasília, Oscar Niemeyer, also designed the set for the
    play. The play was a success and a cultural event in 1956 Brazil.

    It could be said that bossa nova had officially arrived, when the president’s
    preferred pianist, Bené Nunes, also called the Godfather of bossa nova, invited to
    a party at his apartment in the last week of 1959. Invited was the Turma da Bossa (Bossa
    Gang), which consisted of Tom Jobim, João Gilberto, Ary Barroso, Luiz Bonfá, Ronaldo
    Bôscoli, Carlinhos Lyra, Roberto Menescal, Sylvinha Telles, Nara Leão, Oscar Castro
    Neves, Luizinho Eça, Luís Carlos Vinhas, Chico Feitosa, Sérgio Ricardo, Alayde Costa,
    Nana Caymmi, and others. This happened as the magazine O Cruzeiro presented a
    10-page spread on the new wave of music. Ronaldo Bôscoli said of the style, "bossa
    nova is a state of the spirit."

    Created in the Marvelous City, Cidade Maravilhosa (Rio), it didn’t take long before it
    arrived in São Paulo. In the beginning of the 60’s, the movement made its appearance on
    television, in clubs, theaters, and student hangouts. In spite of the initial reception of
    "Chega de Saudade," bossa nova was there to stay.

    Flux and reflux. I cannot help thinking about the cool Scandinavian sound of the
    fifties. Recordings with Gullin, Domnerus, Bilberg, and Bent Hallberg that became quite an
    influence in America, from east to west with its lush, warm and lyrical sounds and with so
    much tristeza (Portuguese: sadness). And then these very sounds fell on us again,
    less than a decade later through the masteries of Jobim, Gilberto, Carlos Lyra, Johnny
    Alf, Sidney Miller, etc., who themselves had listened to Chet Baker, Mulligan, Modern Jazz
    Quartet, The Miles Davis-Gil Evans collaborations. So the scene was clean and ready for
    the arrival of the bossa nova in Europe, caught in a turmoil of hard bop and
    avant-garde. The wave was on its way to be, it certainly saved Getz’ career, and bossa
    nova musicians went on tours all over Europe.

    Finn Nielsen, writer and music critic, Copenhagen, Denmark

    Bossa Nova
    Outside Brazil

    On November 21, 1962, New York’s Carnegie Hall became the stage for a much advertised
    show. Thousands got tickets, and at least 1000 people were left in the rain outside. It
    was a show, in which Murphy played a central part, i.e. the Murphy with the law, in that
    everything that could go wrong, did. Nothing worked right. And yet, it turned out to be a
    thundering success.

    "Batida Diferente" (Different Beat) sent the audience flying. Tom Jobim on
    the piano got messed up on the lyrics of "Samba de uma Nota Só" (One Note
    Samba), but people loved it. On "Corcovado" things got complicated, and he
    stopped, then started again and sang it both in Portuguese and English to everybody’s
    delight. Carlinhos Lyra sang his "Influência do Jazz," a tribute to the North
    American art form. João Gilberto thrilled the audience, among whom were Peggy Lee, Miles
    Davis, and Dizzy Gillespie, with "Samba da Minha Terra" (Samba From My Land),
    "Corcovado," and "Desafinado" (Off Key) with Tom Jobim on piano.
    Agostinho dos Santos sang Luiz Bonfá’s hauntingly beautiful "Manhã de
    Carnaval" (Morning of Carnaval) with Bonfá on guitar.

    It was a new beginning for bossa nova and its artists. USA’s First Lady,
    Jacqueline Kennedy, received the artists in the White House. Many of them signed recording
    and touring contracts in New York. A new era, in which North American artists jumped on
    the bossa nova bandwagon, began. Of supreme importance was tenor player, Stan Getz,
    whose velvety sound seemed perfect for bossa nova. He went on to record a series of
    Brazilian albums with people like João and Astrud Gilberto, and Tom Jobim, who always
    remained known in this country as Antônio Carlos Jobim. "Old Blue Eyes" himself
    recorded one of his best records in partnership with Tom Jobim.

    USA’s and Europe’s gain also became Brazil’s loss, in a way, in that both João
    Gilberto and Tom Jobim ended up living many years outside Brazil. Sérgio Mendes also a
    became a household name in the U.S. and Europe.

    Jobim along with Lennon/McCartney became the most recorded composer on the planet. His
    songs "Garota de Ipanema," "Samba de Uma Nota Só,"
    "Corcovado," "Meditação," "Insensatez," and
    "Wave" were sung and made famous by Astrud Gilberto, Frank Sinatra, Sarah
    Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat "King" Cole, and Peggy Lee. "Desafinado"
    recorded by Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd sold over a million copies.

    Bossa Nova Baby

    Bossa Nova and I were born some thirty-five years ago in New York City. I on the
    East Side, bossa nova on the West. Actually, the musical genre had about a
    four-year head start on me in Brazil, yet it wasn’t until the November 1962 concert at
    Carnegie Hall that America was introduced to the soft, understated sounds of what Jobim
    referred to as "samba distilled." Yet, even as a small child sitting in front of
    my family’s Motorola stereo, I had thought bossa nova was American jazz music and
    only years later discovered it came from Brazil. What I mean to say is that this music
    felt so natural (so New York!)—so universal—that there was no trace of anything
    "foreign" in it. Many years later, I certainly appreciate the subtle
    differences, yet for me bossa nova was, and continues to be, pure and timeless
    music.

    Being a contemporary with bossa nova, I’ve always had a keen interest in its
    development and spread throughout the world. Much has changed in Brazilian music since
    that time, yet there’s always been a sort of timelessness and universality expressed by bossa
    nova, which I cherish. The subtle rhythm continues to tickle gently like a soft feather
    brushing across your cheek. It has attracted an international following (which, indeed,
    has kept it alive) and has relied on the cross-pollinating influences of non-Brazilian
    greats such as Stan Getz, Ella Fitzgerald, and Frank Sinatra.

    Bossa Nova both draws upon and contributes to the body of work we call jazz and
    doing so is a true partner in the musical experience: one that shows the importance of an
    unselfish give-and-take.

    So, is bossa nova Brazilian? In origin, perhaps, but as it has circled the
    world, it has become so much more. Bossa Nova is the origin of integrated world
    music—one sure to be recognized from Manhattan to Manaus, Paris to Parsippany, Tokyo
    to Toledo. Thanks, Joe, Mr. Bim*, for nurturing your distilled spirit — and sharing
    it with us.

    Gabriel Ben-Yosef, a bossa nova baby, is editor of Bossa Magazine and can be
    reached at editor@BossaMag.com on the Internet.

    * Refers to an incident at which Tom Jobim arrived in New York and was greeted in that
    manner by a customs agent who was not familiar with the famous name and its pronunciation.

    THE PLAYERS
    Jobim

    Antônio Carlos Brasileiro de Almeida Jobim was born on January 25th, 1927
    in Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro. The family moved to Ipanema—a place that inspired much of
    Jobim’s music. He started studying the piano at 13. By 1956, he worked as a pianist and
    had already written music in partnership with Billy Blanco, Dolores Duran, and Newton
    Mendonça. It was at this time that he met Vinícius de Moraes, and their creative
    relationship started. "With Vinícius, I could write as much as three songs a
    day," said Tom Jobim.

    In the 60’s, he began his international career starting with the Carnegie Hall concert.
    That led to the recording with Frank Sinatra. This move toward the exterior, however, made
    him the target of hard criticism in Brazil. They said he was making "American
    music," and that he had sold out. His recordings gathered dust in the stores in
    Brazil, while they were torn off the shelves outside. "In Brazil, success is a
    personal affront," complained Jobim.

    Another great source of bitterness for Jobim was the destruction of nature,
    particularly in Amazônia. He took his worry about the environment into the studio with
    "Matita Perê," "Urubu," and "Passarim." In the 80’s, he
    regained his prestige in his homeland and was often the subject of frequent tributes.

    With his wife, Tereza, he had the children Elizabeth and Paulo, who is also a musician
    and father of Daniel Jobim. From his marriage to Ana Lontra, he had the children Mario
    Luíza Helena and João Francisco Lontra Jobim, who was killed in 1998 at 18, when he was
    driving a car his mother had given him as a present a week earlier.

    In ’92, he was the theme of the samba school Mangueira’s Carnaval performance. In ’94,
    Tom Jobim was diagnosed with bladder cancer. In spite of surgery to remove the tumor,
    Jobim did not recover and died in New York on December 8th of that year. Brazil
    and the world had lost one of the greatest composers to ever hit the scene.

    Vinícius

    Vinícius de Moraes, "O Poetinha" The Little Poet, was one of the most
    endearing characters in MPB and Brazilian literature. His career in music was a curious
    one. In 1933, still quite young, Vinícius recorded a marchinha (a little march),
    "Loura ou Morena" (Blond or Dark). But soon he abandoned his artistic life for
    the Foreign Service, including a stint at the Brazilian consulate in Los Angeles. Until
    the beginning of the 50’s, Vinícius’ Foreign Service restricted his artistic expressions
    to articles for newspapers about movies and poetry.

    In 1956, after he had returned to Brazil, Vinícius sought a partner for Orfeu da
    Conceição, his Brazilian version of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. At first
    he rejected the suggestion of Vadico, ex-partner of Noel Rosa, and agreed to talk to Tom
    Jobim. Vinícius de Moraes was known for his bon vivant lifestyle (wine, woman, and song).
    Retired from the Foreign Service by the military regime, he spent the rest of his days
    enjoying his life to the fullest.

    Menescal

    Roberto Batalha Menescal was born in Vitória, Espírito Santo, on October 25th,
    1937. Studied piano from childhood and later switched to accordion and harmonica. Finally,
    he opted for the guitar. Having studied with some excellent teachers, he later founded a
    musical academy with Carlos Lyra in Copacabana in the mid-fifties. In 1958, his first song
    was recorded by Alaíde Costa. He participated in the show Samba Session, considered one
    of the forerunners of bossa nova. In 1961, he wrote the classic "O
    Barquinho" (The Little Boat), inspired by his own love for and adventures at sea. The
    following year he sang in public—for the first and last time—at the concert at
    Carnegie Hall.

    Menescal went on to become producer and director of PolyGram Records. He produced a
    great many collections of Brazilian music for the Japanese market. He collaborated with
    Almir Chediak on the CD-ROM about bossa nova. His son, Márcio, has followed in his
    father’s footsteps becoming involved in the production of music.

    Elis

    Elis Regina, Gaúcha (woman from Rio Grande do Sul state), was born in Porto
    Alegre. At 19, she arrived in Rio in 1964. It didn’t take long for the sprite Regina,
    nicknamed "Pimentinha" (the little pepper), to become a success. After a show in
    Beco das Garrafas, in Rio, the doors were opened for her. In 1965, after a season at the
    Paramount Theater in São Paulo, she was put in charge of the program O Fino da Bossa,
    on TV Record.

    In the 70’s, when she was married to maestro César Camargo Mariano, Elis established
    herself as one of the most important names of MPB and made some outstanding recordings.
    She was also instrumental in discovering new talents, such as Renato Teixeira, João
    Bosco, and Aldir Blanc. Sadly, she died of a heart attack brought on by a mixture of
    alcohol and cocaine, in January of 1981.

    Nara

    Nara Lofego Leão was 14 years old in 1956 when she started taking guitar lessons from
    two fellows in Copacabana, Carlos Lyra and Roberto Menescal. They say that bossa nova
    was practically born in the family’s apartment, facing the sea, where she organized
    get-togethers with her teachers and friends. One of those was Ronaldo Bôscoli, who ended
    up moving in as her boyfriend.

    Toward the end of the decade, Nara was considered the muse of bossa nova and
    engaged in a career as a singer. Perhaps her greatest merit was discovering or
    re-discovering great talents, new and old, such as Cartola and Carlos Cachaça, she
    recorded Zé Kéti and João do Vale. She helped launch Maria Bethânia’s career and
    recorded Chico Buarque’s first success "A Banda" (The Band).

    She had famous fights with Bôscoli and Elis Regina. She was married to the filmmaker,
    Cacá Diegues, with whom she had the daughter, Isabel. In the 70’s, she recorded LP’s with
    music by João Donato and Erasmo Carlos. In 1991, she died of cancer at the age of 49.

    João

    João Gilberto was born in Juazeiro, Bahia, in 1931. He lived in his hometown until the
    age of 18. Until then, practically his only contact with the outside world was radio, on
    which he listened to his idol, Orlando Silva. He also listened to the American recordings
    coming from the loud speakers on the main square in Juazeiro.

    After his tumultuous relationship with Os Garotos da Lua mentioned earlier, he went on
    working toward his solo career. For the next seven years, he traveled between Rio, São
    Paulo, Rio Grande do Sul, and Bahia encountering the same problems dealing with adapting
    to the rules of others. After the success of "Chega de Saudade," he became an
    overnight success, practically. He married Astrud and together they recorded in the U.S.
    with Stan Getz. After they broke up, he married Miúcha, sister of Chico Buarque, with
    whom he had the daughter Bebel.

    In the 70’s, after he returned to Brazil, he performed with Gilberto Gil, Caetano
    Veloso, and Gal Costa, for whom he approached God-status. In the 90’s, his reputation for
    being difficult has only grown, but recently, in 1998, he made a successful tour of the
    United States, which received rave reviews both from the audiences and critics.

    Maysa

    Maysa Figueira Monjardim, known as "O Furacão da MPB" (The Hurricane of
    MPB), was famous for her large, green eyes. The poet Manuel Bandeira called them dois
    oceanos não pacíficos (two not pacific oceans). At 18, she married impresario André
    Matarazzo, 38. They had everything required to live a comfortable and tranquil lifestyle,
    but her father recognized her uncommon talent and insisted on making her a star.

    He succeeded in setting up an audition with Columbia, which resulted almost immediately
    in a contract. Maysa was pregnant with her son, Jayme, and chose to spend time with him,
    but not for long. Eventually, it came to a choice between her marriage and artistic
    career. The latter won out.

    The tearful and most personal voice of the singer—who also composed— was a
    sensation, and with the arrival of the new style, she considered switching to bossa
    nova. Finally, in 1961, involved in a relationship with Ronaldo Bôscoli, she took the
    plunge and went on tour in South America singing bossa nova. Her life was a mixture
    of turbulent love affairs and whiskey, and in 1977, she was killed in an automobile
    accident on the Rio-Niterói Bridge.

    Baden

    Baden Powell was already an established guitarist at the outset of bossa nova,
    but the movement gave him the opportunity to play with other musicians of high caliber. He
    worked in partnership with Vinícius de Moraes on several occasions, which produced works
    such as "Canto de Ossanha", "Samba da Benção" (Blessing Samba),
    "Berimbau" (an instrument used widely in the martial arts form of capoeira),
    and "Apelo" (Appeal).

    In the 80’s, after having lived in Paris for several years, he returned to Brazil.
    Unfortunately, he never had the recognition he so richly deserved and got in Europe, and
    he is now living in Germany.

    Sylvinha

    Sylvinha Telles began her love affair with bossa nova almost a decade before the
    genre officially existed. In 1952, when she was 19, she was the girlfriend of João
    Gilberto and attempted a career as a singer. The affair did not last, but the musical
    influence stayed. In 1955, she started going out with guitarist Candinho, whom she later
    married. At the same time she began performing in small clubs, but soon attracted wider
    attention.

    In 1957, her LP Carícia (Caress), a precursor of bossa nova, launched
    her on the road to fame. In fact, it resulted in a TV program not unlike I Love Lucy,
    in which she performed with her husband. She separated from Candinho and later married
    Aloysio de Oliveira, formerly of Bando da Lua, the group which accompanied Carmen Miranda
    to the U.S.. In the 60’s, her career hit some snags due to alcohol. She died in a car
    accident in 1966.

    Lyra

    Carlos Lyra was born in Rio de Janeiro on May 11th, 1936 into a middle class
    family with a penchant for music. His parents and uncles played instruments, and Carlos
    himself started on the road to being a musician at the age of 7. His first performances
    with the guitar took place at the Colégio Santo Inácio, where he went to school.

    At secondary school in Copacabana, he met Roberto Menescal, with whom he later founded
    his musical academy. This academy was, in truth, an apartment in which the two gave
    lessons to young hopefuls, but it also became a meeting place of people like Edu Lobo,
    Nara Leão, Ronaldo Bôscoli, and Marcos Valle.

    In 1955, while he was studying architecture and playing electric guitar with the
    pianist, Bené Nunes, he began composing. In ’56, he won at the Festival da Canção on TV
    Rio with the song "Menina" (Girl) later recorded by Sylvinha Telles. In 1960, he
    composed the music for the play A Mais-Valia Vai Acabar, Seu Edgar (The Surplus
    Value Will End, Mr. Edgar) by Oduvaldo Vianna Filho. The following year, he met Vinícius
    with whom he composed the musical Pobre Menina Rica (Poor Rich Girl) and Primavera
    (Spring).

    One of his great contributions to bossa nova, was "Influência do
    Jazz," from 1962, which, in a vibrant rhythm he theorizes about how the genre was
    created, mixing samba, jazz, Afro Cuban rhythms and more. Carlos Lyra says today that bossa
    nova is over. "It was the Brazilian popular music between 1956 and 1965," he
    says. In 1994 he issued his first album with unpublished songs in 20 years. He has never
    liked the pressure from producers to record something he did not consider quality and has
    always spoken up for the rights of composers to write what they believe: "I don’t
    have to write any nonsense."

    Bôscoli

    Ronaldo Bôscoli was born in Rio on October 27th, 1929. His was a family of
    artists, composer Chiquinha Gonzaga and actors Jardel Jércolis and Jardel Filho. His road
    to musician, however, went by way of journalism. His first job as a reporter was in the
    50’s when he wrote about musical events in the magazine Manchete, moving on later
    to the newspaper Última Hora.

    He established himself as an influential figure in bossa nova, being both a
    producer of musical shows and manager. He also composed and distinguished himself with the
    composition "Sente," (Feel) on the LP Oh, Norma, recorded in 1957 by
    Norma Benguel. He also performed in pocket shows with invited guests.

    Along with Carlos Lyra he composed "Lobo Bobo" (Silly Wolf) in 1959,
    "Saudade Fez um Samba" (Longing Made a Samba), and many others. But the most
    steady of his partnerships was with Roberto Menescal, whom he met in ’56 and with whom he
    composed the famous "O Barquinho."

    He was known as a relentless music critic but also for his great sense of humor. He was
    also a great ladies’ man, having had affairs with many of the leading ladies of bossa
    nova, Nara Leão, Maysa, and Elis Regina. He never shied away from speaking openly of
    his affairs. "It wasn’t just the women everybody knew, but all the prettiest women
    around," he is known to have said. He and Elis had a son, João Marcelo, who also has
    a musical career. From about the 70’s, he worked with Roberto Carlos as a musical director
    until his death in 1993.

    Mendonça

    Newton Mendonça wrote the lyrics for two of the most famous bossa nova songs,
    "Desafinado" (Off Key), and "Samba de Uma Nota Só" (One Note Samba).
    Unfortunately, he was never to reap the fruits of the roaring worldwide success both of
    these songs received. In May of 1959, a couple of months after João Gilberto’s historic
    recording, he suffered a cardiac infarction. A year and a half later, a massive heart
    attack killed him at the age of 33. One of the great Carioca bohemians, Mendonça
    spent his nights playing piano in the clubs of Copacabana like Mogambo, the Carrousel, the
    Posto 5, and Ma Griffe in Beco das Garrafas. And there was always whiskey, women, and
    conversation with friends that went well into dawn, creating many problems with his wife.

    Cardiac problems ran in the family of Mendonça, and after the first infarction, he was
    told by the doctors to stop drinking, smoking and fooling around. He was also advised to
    stop working for six months. He did not follow a single one of those pieces of advice and
    continued his lifestyle as musician of the night.

    Bonfá

    Luiz Bonfá was born in Rio in 1922 and made a living as a guitarist in the early 50’s.
    Respected by his colleagues, he was the subject of an homage by João Gilberto in the tune
    "Um Abraço no Bonfá" (A Hug on Bonfá). His beautiful song from Vinícius de
    Moraes’ Orfeu Negro, "Manhã de Carnaval," is one of those classics most
    people know, even if perhaps they don’t know its origin. He was another Brazilian musician
    who made a great success of himself in the United States with songs such as "Gentle
    Rain," "Menina Flor," and "Ruth’s Waltz."

    In the 70’s, he and Jobim, who were great friends, engaged in a controversy about who
    had composed which harmony. The fight escalated until there was a break in their
    relationship. They later re-united with the help of music critic, Roberto Muggiati, who
    was an unconditional fan of both.

    After music, Bonfá has another great passion, antique cars—at one point, he owned
    about 20, most of them from the 30’s—and he is a member of the Veteran Car Club.

    Castro-Neves

    Oscar Castro-Neves was born in Rio on May 15th, 1940. Since the age of 6, he
    played cavaquinho and guitar. When he was 14, he formed a musical group with his
    brothers Mário on piano, Leo on drums, and Ico on bass. In 1960, the LP Bossa Nova
    Mesmo, included two of his songs, "Menina Feia" (Ugly Girl) and "Chora
    sua Tristeza" (Cry Your Sadness). In 1964, he accompanied Vinícius and Quarteto em
    Cy in the club Zum-Zum and presented his song "Onde Está Você?" (Where Are
    You?) in the show O Fino da Bossa. That song became a great success for Alaíde Costa.

    Oscar participated in the 1962 bossa nova show at Carnegie Hall. After that, he
    returned many times to the United States, and since 1966 has lived in this country where
    he divides his time between producing CDs, arranging movie scores, and acting as
    representative of Brazilian musicians for American projects. From time to time, he goes to
    Brazil. In 1975 he participated in writing the soundtrack for the soap opera Gabriela
    and in 1993, he was in the annual Free Jazz Festival in Brazil.

    The Mark They
    Left Behind

    Most of us have probably played the philosophical game, "If a tree falls in the
    woods, and nobody is there, does it make a sound?" It’s easy to give biographical
    data on the people who created bossa nova, but does it tell us what they came to
    mean to us and to the generations that were to follow? Gilberto Gil said in a recent
    interview, asked about the death a while earlier of Tim Maia, "Life is like that,
    isn’t it? People create, leave their marks, and die. But those marks are fundamental for
    the development of a generation. In that is the renewal."

    And indeed, the masters of bossa nova, some of whom are no longer with us, live
    on, not only in their recordings, but also in the legacies carried on by present and
    future standard-bearers.

    Tom Jobim, as seen by others.

    Tom, for me, is my university. The best music courses that I took were to hear what Tom
    played and the things he said as well as the arrangements he made for my things.

    Carlos Lyra

    Tom Jobim was accused, many times, of plagiarism. In a chronicle, Antônio Maria
    denounced five such (perceived) instances. Sérgio Cabral in his biography, touches on
    this event, which caused great controversy in the Carioca community, but leaves the
    conclusion up to the reader. Carlos Lyra says of the subject, "Sure, there were
    times, but Tom was generally the first one to point out the similarities between his new
    song and one written by someone else. For instance, I remember when he showed me his new
    song, I think it was "Discussão," (Discussion) written because he adored
    "Você e Eu" (You and I). He said, "This is the influence of Carlinhos
    Lyra, I took it all from "Você e Eu." I can’t hear the similarity, but
    obviously, he did."

    Edu Lobo says, "With Tom, it was like this, the closer you got to his work, the
    more you’d become able to enjoy it, to play it, and you’d start to see the dimensions. Tom
    is the best popular composer I know. In his day, he had no equal, anywhere in the world. I
    had the pleasure of telling him that several times. One of those times he asked me,
    "And what about Michel Legrand?" I told him that Michel Legrand didn’t come
    close to him. But I thought it was funny him asking that because it was almost like he was
    a little kid."

    Edu Lobo says furthermore, "For me Tom was always a kind of model, an objective,
    something like that. I think it was that way for everyone in my generation. My thing is to
    make my music come as close as possible to that model, that harmonic and melodic rigor. I
    think he was very important in the sense of attracting people to that music, such that
    they wouldn’t be drawn to some other kind of music.

    "Tom was one of the funniest people I ever knew. In the middle of a conversation,
    he’d start telling a story about buzzards. There were some people who didn’t get his humor
    at all. We’d record, and as soon as the track was laid down, it was straight back to the
    jokes, just non-stop silliness. Puns, plays on words. He was a pun specialist, from the
    worst to the best, he was very funny. There was a story about him and Chico (Buarque)
    fighting over reading dictionaries. They had every dictionary in the world."

    Chico Buarque about his first partnership with Tom Jobim on the beautiful song
    "Retrato em Branco e Preto" (Portrait in White and Black): "…the funny
    thing is that back there in the beginning, I don’t know if this is just my impression or
    if it was really so, but I had the impression that he was sort of lending me a hand,
    giving me a break, he insisted that I do the lyrics, but comparing this to other times
    later, when there was already a strong friendship between us, it was more difficult to
    write lyrics for Tom, because he interfered all the time. But this time he didn’t. He was
    like, "It’s great." Like he was going out of his way or even patronizing me a
    little.

    "In the song, "Piano na Mangueira" I was very careful to fit the lyrics
    to his music. And then he’d go and change it when he sang it. Sometimes, I’d actually get
    pissed off, but in reality, he turned it around and musicalized the lyrics."

    Meu maestro soberano foi Antônio Brasileiro (my supreme maestro was Antônio
    Brasileiro), as Tom Jobim was often called, is a line from Chico Buarque’s song
    "Paratodos" (For Everybody) from the CD of the same name—in tribute to Tom
    Jobim.

    About João Gilberto.

    Carlos Lyra about the claim that "Chega de Saudade" was composed, not as a bossa
    nova, but as a choro:* "It’s obvious that it was changed, for sure. I
    don’t know if it was a choro, but it was evidently something Tom had already done.
    What João Gilberto did was put a samba into an outline of syncopated rhythm, an absolute
    economy of chords—he played few chords. Today, he plays more."

    Chico Buarque about "Chega de Saudade" and the reaction to it: "It was a
    sense of general estrangement, so much so that there was a break between the generations,
    between those who didn’t like what was going on, older people, who had a hard time
    accepting that first moment of the bossa nova, including Tom’s music and the voice
    and guitar and the vocal style of João Gilberto."

    * A musical style that emerged in Rio about 1870—played mostly in instrumental
    form. Origin is (perhaps) the Portuguese word choro—the act of crying—but
    could be an African expression—no one is really sure.

    About Vinícius de Moraes

    Chico Buarque: "Vinícius had the power to fascinate people who were a little
    envious, in the good sense of the word, of the kind of life he led. In a certain way I
    think my father wanted to be like him."

    Carlos Drummond de Andrade: "Vinícius was a great poet who lived his own
    poetry."

    The Influence of
    the Movement

    The people responsible for marketing various products in Brazil did not waste a minute
    hopping on the bandwagon of bossa nova. It was not long before consumer products
    from clothes to refrigerators bore the name of the suddenly "hot" style.

    Carnaval got its own marchinha named Garota Bossa Nova. Filmmaker of
    Cinema Novo (the name of the Brazilian movies produced at that time, whose leading
    filmmaker was Gláuber Rocha), Leon Hirszman, directed "Garota de Ipanema" with
    the actress Márcia Rodrigues and a soundtrack full of bossa nova songs. And if
    someone wore a garish outfit, people would comment, "bossa nova, huh?"

    Not even politics were excepted. The UDN (União Democrática Nacional—National
    Democratic Union), a former Brazilian party, trying to renew their image, became "A bossa
    nova da UDN." Knowing that the party no longer exists, one can only assume the
    strategy didn’t work.

    Humorist Juca Chaves, who was in no way considered part of "the gang," got
    some mileage out of the movement with "Presidente Bossa Nova," a satire on the
    popular Juscelino Kubitschek. It is almost a foregone conclusion that the song was
    prohibited by the presidential censors, which only made it more popular.

    Bossa Nova Discography

    Canção de Amor Demais—Elizeth Cardoso—on Festa, 1958
    Chega de Saudade—João Gilberto—on Odeon, 1958
    Orfeu do Carnaval—Agostinho dos Santos and others—on Fontana, 1959
    Bossa Nova—Carlos Lyra—on Phillips, 1960
    Alayde Canta Suavemente—Alayde Costa—on RCA, 1960
    O Amor, o Sorriso e a Flor—João Gilberto—on Odeon, 1961
    Bossa Nova—Roberto Menescal—on Imperial, 1962
    A Bossa dos Cariocas—Os Cariocas—on Phillips, 1962
    Tamba Trio—Tamba Trio—on Phillips, 1962
    Big Band Bossa Nova—Oscar Castro Neves—on Audio Fidelity, 1962
    Getz/Gilberto—João Gilberto, Stan Getz, Astrud Gilberto—on Verve, 1963
    Vinícius e Odete Lara—Vinícius and Odete Lara—on Elenco, 1963
    Bossa, Balanço e Balada—Sylvia Telles—on Elenco, 1963
    Samba Esquema Novo—Jorge Ben—on Phillips, 1963
    A Bossa Muito Moderna de Donato—João Donato—on Polydor, 1963
    Baden Powell à Vontade—Baden Powell—on Elenco, 1964
    Pobre Menina Rica—Carlos Lyra and Dulce Nunes—on CBS, 1964
    Zimbo Trio—Zimbo Trio—on RGE, 1964
    Entre Nós—Walter Wanderley—on Phillips, 1964
    Opinião de Nara—Nara Leão—on Phillips, 1964
    Luiz Eça & Cordas—Luiz Eça—on Phillips, 1965
    Dom Um—Dom Um Romão—on Phillips, 1965
    Manfredo Fest Trio—Manfredo Fest—on RGE, 1965
    Samba Eu Canto Assim—Elis Regina—on Phillips, 1965
    Dois na Bossa—Elis Regina and Jair Rodrigues—on Phillips, 1965
    Milton Banana Trio—Milton Banana Trio—on Odeon, 1965
    Francis Albert Sinatra & Antônio Carlos Jobim—Francis Albert Sinatra
    & Antônio Carlos Jobim—on Reprise, 1966
    The Gentle Rain—Luiz Bonfá—on Mercury, 1967
    Beach Samba—Astrud Gilberto—on Verve, 1967

    The Songs

    Chega de Saudade

    the one that started it all

    Tom Jobim/Vinícius de Moraes

    Vai minha tristeza
    E diz a ela
    Que sem ela não pode ser
    Diz-lhe numa prece
    Que ela regresse 
    Porque eu não posso mais sofrer
    Chega de saudade
    A realidade
    É que sem ela não há paz
    Não há beleza
    É só tristeza
    E a melancolia
    Que não sai de mim
    Não sai de mim, não sai.

    Mas se ela voltar, se ela voltar
    Que coisa linda, que coisa louca
    Pois há menos peixinhos a nadar no mar
    Do que os beijinhos
    Que eu darei na sua boca

    Dentro dos meus braços
    Os abraços
    Hão de ser milhões de abraços
    Apertado assim
    Colado assim
    Calado assim
    Abraços e beijinhos
    E carinhos sem ter fim
    Que é prá acabar com esse negócio
    De viver longe de mim
    Vamos deixar desse negócio
    De você viver sem mim

    No More Blues

    Go my sadness
    And tell her
    That without her it cannot be
    Plead with her
    To come back
    Because I can’t suffer anymore
    No more blues
    The reality
    Is that without her there is no peace
    There is no beauty
    It is just sadness
    And melancholy
    Which does not leave me
    Does not leave me, does not leave.

    But if she returns, if she returns
    What a beautiful thing, what a crazy thing
    For there are fewer fish swimming in the sea
    Than kisses
    I will put on her mouth

    In my arms
    The hugs
    There will be millions of hugs
    Tight like this
    Close like this
    Quiet like this
    Hugs and kisses
    And affection without end
    To put a stop to this business
    To live far from me
    Let’s leave behind this business
    Of you living without me.

     

    Insensatez

    Tom Jobim/Vinícius de Moraes

    A insensatez que você fez
    Coração mais sem cuidado
    Fez chorar de dor
    O seu amor
    Um amor tão delicado
    Ah, porque você foi fraco assim
    Assim tão desalmado
    Ah, meu coração quem nunca amou
    Não merece ser amado

    Vai meu coração ouve a razão
    Usa só sinceridade
    Quem semeia vento, diz a razão
    Colhe sempre tempestade
    Vai, meu coração pede perdão
    Perdão apaixonado
    Vai porque quem não
    Pede perdão
    Não é nunca perdoado

    How Insensitive

    English lyrics by Gene Lees

    How insensitive I must have seemed
    When she told me that she loved me
    How unmoved and cold
    I must have seemed
    When she told me so sincerely
    Why? She must have asked
    Did I just turn and stare in icy silence?
    What was I to say
    What can you say
    When a love affair is over
    Now she’s gone away
    And I’m alone
    With a memory of her last look
    Vague and drawn and sad
    I see it still
    All her heartbreak in that last look
    How, she must have asked
    Could I just turn and stare and icy silence
    What was I to do
    What can you do
    When a love affair is over. 

     

    A Felicidade

    Tom Jobim/Vinícius de Moraes

    Tristeza não fim
    Felicidade sim

    A felicidade é como a pluma
    Que o vento vai levando pelo ar
    Voa tão leve mas tem a vida breve
    Precisa que haja vento sem parar
    A felicidade do pobre parece
    A grande ilusão do carnaval
    A gente trabalha o ano inteiro
    Por um momento de sonho
    prá fazer a fantasia
    De rei ou de pirata ou jardineira
    E tudo se acabar na quarta-feira

    Tristeza não tem fim, felicidade sim

    A felicidade é como a gota de orvalho
    numa pétala de flor
    Brilha tranqüila, depois de leve oscila
    E cai como uma lágrima de amor
    A minha felicidade está sonhando
    Nos olhos da minha namorada
    É como esta noite passando, passando
    Em busca da madrugada
    Falem baixo por favor
    Pra que ela acorde alegre como o dia
    Oferecendo beiaw6kx de amor

    A felicidade é uma coisa louca
    E tão delicada também
    Tem flores e amores de todas as cores
    Tem ninhos de passarinhos
    Tudo bom ela tem
    Pois é por ela ser assim tão delicada
    Que eu trato dela sempre muito bem

    The Happiness

    English lyrics by Arto Lindsay

    Sadness has no end,
    but happiness does.

    Happiness is like a feather
    The wind carries through the air
    Its flight is light but its life is short
    It needs to feel a breeze that never stops
    The happiness of a poor man is like
    The great illusion of carnival
    We work all year long
    For one moment in a dream,
    to play the part
    Of a king, a pirate or a gardener
    Then everything is over on Ash Wednesday

    Happiness is like a drop of dew
    on a petal.
    It shines peacefully and swings gently
    Then falls like of tear shed for love
    My happiness lies dreaming
    In the eyes of my girlfriend
    It’s like a night that passes by
    Looking for dawn.
    Speak quietly, please
    So she’ll wake as happy as the day
    And offer me kisses of love

    Happiness is a crazy thing
    And so delicate, too.
    Flowers and love of all colors
    It’s made of, and bird’s nests
    and everything nice
    Because she is so very delicate
    I always treat her well.

    The title of the next song is an example of the humor of Tom Jobim. The new style of
    music had by some critics been called "music for off-key singers" because of the
    odd sounding harmonies and intervals. This inspired Jobim to make fun of those critics and
    write the song. The best known part of the song is the refrain, and often the verse is not
    sung at all. But in a version by Tom Jobim himself, he sings the verse and purposely
    sounds off key—something that is bound to have upset the critics. However, the first
    time João Gilberto heard it, he is said to have shouted, "That’s mine."

    Desafinado

    Tom Jobim/Newton Mendonça

    Se você disser que eu desafino amor
    Saiba que isto em mim provoca imensa dor
    Só privilegiados têm ouvido igual ao seu
    Eu possuo apenas o que Deus me deu
    Se você insiste em classificar
    Meu comportamento de antimusical
    Eu, mesmo mentindo devo argumentar
    Que isto é bossa nova
    Que isto é muito natural

    O que você não sabe, nem sequer pressente
    É que os desafinados também têm um coração
    Fotografei você na minha Rolleiflex
    Revelou-se a sua enorme ingratidão

    Só não poderá falar assim do meu amor
    Este é o maior que você pode encontrar, viu
    Você com a sua música esqueceu o principal
    Que no peito dos desafinados
    No fundo do peito bate calado
    Que no peito dos desafinados
    Também bate um coração

    Off Key

    English lyrics by Gene Lees

    If you say my singing is off key, my love
    You will hurt my feelings
    Don’t you see, my love
    I wish I had an ear like yours
    A voice that would behave
    All I have is feeling and the voice God gave

    You insist my music goes against the rules
    Yes, but rules were only made for lovesick fools
    I wrote this little song for you, but you don’t care
    It’s a crooked song
    Ah, but all my heart is there

    The thing that you would see
    If you would play your part
    Is even if I’m out of tune I have a gentle heart
    I took your picture with my trusty Rollei-Flex
    Ah, but all I have developed is a complex
    Possibly in vain I hope you weaken, oh my love
    And forget the rigid rules
    That undermine my dream of
    A life of love and music
    With someone who understands
    That even though I may be out of tune
    When I attempt to say how much I love you
    All that matters is the message that I bring
    Which is my dear one, I love you.

    Everybody has heard and felt the sweet notes of this next song, in English entitled
    "Quiet Nights" and made famous outside Brazil by Astrud Gilberto on the album Getz
    Au Go-Go. But many people probably don’t know that Tom Jobim originally wrote the
    lyrics with this first line, "Um cigarro, um violão" (A cigarette, a guitar).
    Jobim, who smoked three packs a day, wanted to start the song in that manner. But João
    Gilberto, who had stopped years earlier, disagreed vehemently, "Tomzinho (little
    Tom), this thing with a cigarette and a guitar…. Cigarettes are a bad thing. How
    about um cantinho… (A little corner)." And that’s how João Gilberto got his way
    with what was to become a famous and beloved song.

    Corcovado

    Tom Jobim

    Um cantinho, um violão
    Este 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 a felicidade
    Meu amor

    Quiet Nights

    English lyrics by Gene Lees

    Quiet nights of quiet stars
    Quiet chords from my guitar
    Floating on the silence that surrounds us
    Quiet thoughts and quiet dreams
    Quiet walks by quiet streams
    And a window looking on the mountains
    and the sea. How lovely

    This is where I want to be
    Here with you so close to me
    Until the final flicker of life’s embers
    I who was lost and lonely
    Believing life was only
    A bitter tragic joke
    Have found with you
    The meaning of existence, oh my love

     

    Garota de Ipanema

    Tom Jobim/Vinícius de Moraes

    Olha que coisa mais linda
    Mais cheia de graça
    É ela menina
    Que vem e que passa
    Num doce balanço, caminho do mar

    Moça do corpo dourado
    Do sol de Ipanema
    O seu balanço é mais que um poema
    É a coisa mail linda que eu já vi passar
    Ah, porque estou tão sozinho
    Ah, porque tudo é tão triste
    Ah, a beleza que existe
    A beleza que não é só minha
    Que também passa sozinha

    Ah, se ela soubesse
    Que quando ela passa
    O mundo sorrindo se enche de graça
    E fica mais lindo
    Por causa do amor

    Girl from Ipanema

    English lyrics by Norman Gimbel

    Tall and tan and young and lovely
    The girl from Ipanema goes walking
    And when she passes, each one she passes
    goes "A-a-a-h"
    When she walks she’s like a samba

    When she walks, she’s like a samba
    That swings so cool and sways so gentle
    That when she passes, each one she passes
    goes "A-a-a-h"
    Oh, but I watch her so sadly
    How can I tell her I love her
    Yes, I would give my heart gladly
    But each day as she walks to the sea
    She looks straight ahead, not at me

    Tall and tan and young and lovely
    The girl from Ipanema goes walking
    And when she passes, I smile, but she
    doesn’t see. She just doesn’t see
    No, she just doesn’t see

     

    Meditação

    Tom Jobim/Newton Mendonça

    Quem acreditou
    No amor, no sorriso, na flor
    Então sonhou, sonhou…
    E perdeu a paz
    O amor, o sorriso e a flor
    Se transformam depressa demais

    Quem, no coração
    Abrigou a tristeza de ver
    Tudo isto se perder
    E, na solidão
    Procurou um caminho e seguiu
    Já descrente de um dia feliz

    Quem chorou, chorou
    E tanto que seu pranto já secou

    Quem depois voltou
    Ao amor, ao sorriso e à flor
    Então tudo encontrou
    Pois, a própria dor
    Revelou o caminho do amor
    E a tristeza acabou

    Meditation

    English lyrics by Norman Gimbel

    In my loneliness
    When you’re gone and I’m all by myself
    And I need your caress
    I just think of you
    And the thought of you holding me near
    Makes my loneliness soon disappear

    Though you’re far away
    I have only to close my eyes
    And you are back to stay
    I just close my eyes
    And the sadness that missing you brings
    Soon is gone and this heart of mine sings

    Yes I love you so
    And that for me is all I need to know

    I will wait for you
    Till the sun falls from out of the sky
    For what else can I do
    I will wait for you
    Meditating how sweet life will be
    When you come back to me

     

    Samba de uma Nota Só

    Tom Jobim/Newton Mendonça

    Eis aqui este sambinha
    Feito numa nota só
    Outras notas vão entrar
    Mas a base é uma só
    Esta outra é consequência
    Do que acabo de dizer
    Como eu sou a consequência
    Inevitável de você

    Quanta gente existe por aí
    Que fala tanto
    e não diz nada
    Ou quase nada
    Já me utilizei de toda a escala
    E no final não sobrou nada
    Não deu em nada

    E voltei prá minha nota
    Como eu volto prá você
    Vou cantar com a minha nota
    Como eu gosto de você
    E quem quer todas as notas
    Ré mi fá sol la si dó
    Fica sempre sem nenhuma
    Fique numa nota só

    One Note Samba

    English lyrics by Tom Jobim

    This is just a little samba
    Built upon a single note
    Other notes are bound to follow
    But the root is still that note
    Now this new one is the consequence
    Of the one we’ve just been through
    As I’m bound to be the unavoidable
    consequence of you

    There’s so many people who can
    talk and talk and talk
    And just say nothing
    Or nearly nothing
    I have used up all the scale I know
    And at the end I’ve come to nothing
    Or nearly nothing

    So I came back to my first note
    As I must come back to you
    I will pour into that one note
    All the love I feel for you
    Anyone who wants the whole show
    Re mi fa sol la si do
    He will find himself with no show 
    Better play the note you know

     

    Samba do Avião

    Tom Jobim

    Minha alma canta
    Vejo o Rio de Janeiro
    Estou morrendo de saudade
    Rio, teu mar, praias sem fim
    Rio, você foi feito pra mim

    Cristo Redentor
    Braços abertos sobre a Guanabara
    Este samba é só porque
    Rio, eu gosto de você
    A morena vai sambar
    Seu corpo todo balançar
    Rio de sol, de céu, de mar
    Dentro de mais um minuto
    estaremos no Galeão
    Rio de Janeiro
    Rio de Janeiro
    Rio de Janeiro
    Rio de Janeiro

    Cristo Redentor
    Braços abertos sobre a Guanabara
    Este samba é só porque
    Rio, eu gosto de você
    A morena vai sambar
    Seu corpo todo balançar
    Aperte o cinto, vamos chegar
    Água brilhando, olha a pista chegando
    E vamos nós
    Aterrar

    Song of the Jet

    English lyrics by Gene Lees

    How my heart is singing
    I see Rio de Janeiro
    My lonely longing days are ending
    Rio, my love, there by the sea
    Rio, my love, waiting for me

    See the cable cars
    That sway above the bay of Guanabara
    Tiny sailboats far below dance
    the samba as they go
    Shining Rio, there you lie
    City of sand and sea and sky
    Mountains of green rising so high
    Four minutes more we’ll be there
    at the airport in Galeão
    Rio de Janeiro,
    Rio de Janeiro,
    Rio de Janeiro,
    Rio de Janeiro

    Statue of the Savior
    with open arms above the yellow sea shore
    Sugar Loaf in majesty climbing from the silver sea
    Dark-eyed girls who smile at me
    City of love and mystery
    Fasten seat belts
    No smoking please
    Now we’re descending and everything rushing
    And now the wheels
    Touch the ground.

    It would be easy to continue for page after page of songs that still make the heart
    flutter and brings on images of gentle breezes as one stands on Copacabana Beach at the
    point where Pão de Açucar is visible and Ipanema beckons at the other end. There is a
    fragrance and a feeling in Rio that says bossa nova, that says Tom Jobim and
    Vinícius de Moraes, that says "come to me and drink in my intoxicating spirit."
    Being very subjective, I’d have to say that São Paulo could never have inspired bossa
    nova. It arrived at the Bay of Guanabara on the wings of a divine Baiano, who
    changed our vision forever.

    Sources.

    I will be eternally grateful to Almir Chediak, who with his partner Roberto Menescal
    produced the CD-ROM Song Book of Bossa Nova as well as the newspaper Estado de
    S. Paulo whose wonderful Website for the whole year of 1998 has carried a special
    feature about the 40 years of bossa nova. They can be visited at www.estado.com.br
    It provides links to, among other things, The Tom Jobim Website, which again provides more
    links and all the information, in Portuguese and English, you could ever want about Mr.
    Jobim. Log on—and be prepared to spend the day.

    Kirsten Weinoldt was born in Denmark and came to the U.S. in 1969. She
    fell in love with Brazil after seeing Black Orpheus many years ago and has lived
    immersed in Brazilian culture ever since. E-mail: kwracing@erols.com

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