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Thanks, Dad! The Brazilian Music You Introduced Me to Has Become Inspiration and Joy

The article's author and her dadThe year was 1965… and in the midst of the new British pop sounds breaking ground in the U.S., during a time when a large percentage of our youth were being transported deep into Southeast Asia within that peninsula of Vietnam, a new wave began to sweep across the continents like an unexpected breeze.

This music darted all the way across the Pacific from the distant shores of Rio de Janeiro to the warm vivacious shores of Hawaii, where I grew up.

The fresh sound hit our shores like a towering, 36-26-32 in an elegant black Chanel bikini. The sound was upbeat, charming, provocative and enchanting to the ear. The romantic song with its sexy rhythm was about a young, beautiful bronze tanned woman walking along the shores of Ipanema, oblivious of the man who was hopelessly in love with her. It was the hit song, “Garota de Ipanema.”

This new wave, obviously, a form of jazz, descended upon us like 2000 degrees of hot pink and would become familiar to many as Bossa Nova, an avant-garde form created from the deep roots of Brazilian folk music. The fusion of Brazilian beats and earlier Latin forms, guided by North American influence, would emerge as the contemporary form.

A photogenic memory of my Dad brought these familiar sounds to my thoughts. Haunting, in a way, that this music emerged some half a century ago. His name was Artemio, a soft-spoken man who was very relaxed in nature on top of his outgoing zest for life. Beneath his warm, pretty smile was a man that held a discriminating taste for classy cars, beautiful women and smooth jazz.

He listened avidly to the Brazilian sounds of Getz, Gilberto, and Jobim. On days off, his passion for the ocean swept him off to beautiful secluded beaches to go scuba diving. Friday evenings held him a place at the poker table with neighborhood buddies, who playfully teased him about his popularity around the women. They called him, “International playboy.”

Out of Faustina’s and Escolastico’s four sons, Dad turned out to be the Casanova of the family. What more can I say about this man…?, five times at the altar of matrimony, and five children by the harem, but that he was quite a charmer, and well-liked by many for his playful humor and light-hearted ways.

This was dad’s philosophy. “It is one wrong for a man to mess around. But, for a woman to submit to such an act would be more than terrible.” He would make these critical statements that would puzzle those around him. He once told his wife #3, that, if he didn’t marry, he had thoughts of joining the priesthood. She laughed in his face and told him that, if he did, all the nuns would have come up pregnant!

Dad also used a brand of philosophy on aging gracefully. He said, “Don’t worry all the time for worry never solves problems. It will age you faster than anything.” He told that to his gray-haired mom.

For the longest time, Dad looked incredibly young for his age. Perhaps, these are some of the mysteries of the provocative people who have lived colorful lives. This very charismatic man lived up to his attractive name, up until the age of sixty, passing away on February 21, 2007 at the age of 69.

As I sit here now, listening to the music of my dad, I think about how it has become a true source of inspiration and constant joy for me. For this, I am thankful to him for introducing this music to me as a very young child.

At the age of eight, my sister and I would listen to the lyrics of Astrud singing her English version of, “Girl from Ipanema,” then tried to imitate her. All we knew, as young, as we were, is that she possessed the most beautiful voice we had ever heard. Interesting part about it, is that no one could ever imitate Astrud’s vocals, so light and natural, the way she carried it, that seemed almost effortless.

I believe each person is gifted with a particular talent. Some of us are blessed with great jobs. Others, good looks, nice cars, and beautiful families. For Astrud, it was a lovely voice, that innate chord for singing that would assume it’s way into Bossa Nova.

She, and her husband at the time, João Gilberto, had a tranquil way of singing that was distinctive very attractive. They vocalized the Bossa Nova so passionately, and soothingly with the gestures of romantic melancholy.

The personal style of the Portuguese dialect carried an air of sophistication that would soon gain world-wide appeal. This subtly rich music became instantly identified by those in or out of the music industry, drawing envy, and nerving competition by already active players in the field. For, they became instantly aware of its strong influence upon the music industry.

There was no mistake about the likelihood of this fine imported music making its mark upon this world. It is that Latin-American influence. This one, coming out of Brazil. It is an inherited distinctiveness of the central and southwestern European ethnicities, including Cuba, that has always spoken sensually to the world, whether in music, or dance.

It has every reason to be what it is. A culture rich in the history of musical rhythms,

As, we do of wars.

This native Romance language, when expressed in its articulate, smooth as vermouth softness, carried a certain nuance that would release the charm of producing some of the most beautiful songs ever heard. There was a modern edge to the Gilberto’s singing that was so huge and powerful, unlike any other. That something … to be so great, it would contain the potential of sending record profits soaring high up in through the roof.

Bossa Nova lends itself to a host of romantic emotions, from the melancholy of unrequited love down to the just, quiet ways of solitude. 

In such tracks as, “Berimbau,” the genre is carried by a soul rhythm that is an experimental arrangement of African melodies, joined by smooth vocals. Astrud rendered this song, with a solemnest in her vocals, of a simple young woman, traveling on a late afternoon train passing through rustic land, looking out at the serene sky in deep thought. Staring just staring .

Where as, Sergio Mendes Brazil 66 went into Berimbau with a native Afro chant. Astrud outdid herself in tracks like, “Insensatez..” Sung so movingly, as though the lyrics were written especially for her to perform. She possessed a cunning feministic style and poise for singing that assumed the Bossa Nova to no end.

The bi-lingual tracks of the Bossa are pleasant to listen to. However, the Portuguese tracks are exclusive. In the track, “Desafinado” João takes the lyrics incomparably when he enters the song in the gentle, provocative Portuguese dialect, all the way up to the way he concludes it, humming nonchalantly in that swag Brazilian rhythm. A gesture, that reflected the true passion in his life, the music.

João became inventive in accentuating the softness of his vocals into the body of the rhythm. It was his experimental approach that rendered a great part of the music.

This had something to do with the certain way he used soft vocals in relation to his nylon stringed guitar. In discovering this, he found that when vocalizing in non-vibrato mode, the pace of vocals could be controlled as juxtaposed to the guitar.

Shortly thereafter, the young João quickly began to incorporate contemporary rhythms within a complex range of various features. styles, whereby he soon determined the modern tempos. The thoughtful musician stumbled upon this concept while playing the guitar during his days in Limbo when he lived out the Bohemian lifestyle.

By experimenting his technique with selected sounds of various samba and jazz styles, João created his own.  

His reinvention was great! It was not noisy. But, refined… rich in detail, a signature of the man. Jobim also demonstrated this non-vibrato form in the smooth track, “Lamento,” as compared to the deeper, more macho vocals used in “Passarim,”

The music can raise its sound, but the vocals don’t have to. João shared this approach with various singers and musicians. This feature became eminent through João’s career as vocalist & jazz guitarist.

Perceived, as somewhat languorous and arrogant, João would show up late for work, or not at all. Feeling like he was too good to play in the small clubs, instead coasted with his guitar and harmonized quietly to himself.

He was going to be a musician, regardless of what his father felt, who could not recognize the potential in his son. Perhaps, his father should have been institutionalized, instead of João. The thing about João is that he was a quiet and methodical young man, just searching for himself. He was gifted from the start. It was just a matter of time, before his creative potential would come up to the surface. It was a shame that his father could not understand that.

This young musician from Bahia was reaching for stars and by a clear stroke of destiny, would get to touch them. Thanks to his friend, Luis Telles who took him in, João was then, able to transcend his artistic abilities and eventually pave his way.

The beautiful part about the Arts, is when the cultural exchange of thoughts and ideas take place. That, is when the world becomes a livelier place to live in. It becomes full of innovative challenges, enriched in intellectual renewal, bringing about exciting change and as a result, a more harmonious world.

One American guitarist by the name of Charlie Byrd embarked on such a journey. The musician was asked to travel overseas to tour parts of Latin America with a team of other instrumentalists. Upon returning to the States, Byrd brought back a sample recording of the Bossa Nova.

He played the imported jazz for his friend, Stan Getz, the tenor sax player out of New York. Getz was so thrilled by the new wave of sound, that he pursued, and mastered the Brazilian style of music. By a stroke of destiny, through his collaborative skills, along with his fluidity of the brass instrument, mastered the new sound.

He played into the compositions on the original recording of “Jazz Samba,” His sense of style, and cues on tenor sax layed right into the Bossa Nova, blending in perfectly. In this outstanding performance on sax, he played, with the likes of a snake charmer, harmonizing to a Cobra.

Getz’s fusion of sax tempos placed a hypnotic Samba-like trance upon the listener. His sense of style behind the tenor sax could entice a large audience to his fancy. Oh…, how he embraced the flavor of Bossa Nova with sheer passion. Stan’s sax voice played into the Samba and Bossa Nova rhythms so well, that he was considered a Carioca.

For some reason of destiny, this New Yorker had a pure feel for Brazilian jazz and winded up having one of the most meaningful affairs with the jazz scene. One, that would soon set the stage for a turning point in his music career.

In late Winter of 1962, the hallways of the All Souls Unitarian church in Washington, DC. were oddly filled with the sounds of Bossa Nova. For within that building, Charlie Byrd and co-designer, Stan Getz were recording the tracks for “Jazz Samba”. Released that spring, it featured some of the finest sounds coming out of Brazil.

…such, ambient tracks as,, Jobim & Newton Menorca’s ” “Samba de Uma Nota Só,” and Jobim & Moraes’s “O Grande Amor.” Mainly, it introduced Getz’s new love; the jazz harmonies of Brazil. In 1963, the album received a Grammy award for Best Jazz Performance.

However, what placed Getz’s career on a gold pedestal, was when he and the Gilberto’s cut a record in 1964 titled, Getz/Gilberto. The recorded album featured songs written by Jobim and other brilliant Brazilian composers, with record sales exceeding well over a million copies. By 1965, it was bestowed the Grammy for “Best Album of the Year.”

There are those who have never really listened to Bossa Nova during its Hey Day, and suddenly became mesmerized by the initial sounds of it, despite the Portuguese lyrics. One listener said he was hooked on Bossa Nova, that, although he did not comprehend a word of the language, he loved the way it sounded.

On the other hand, there were those who have listened to 60’s Bossa Nova for years because it made them feel great. The feeling is quite similar to receiving generous doses of endorphins.

Still, others in this century continue singing to the popular songs of it from the Port of Spain to the Orient of Japan. Each person has their own way of enjoying their favorite music.

There is a simple approach in listening to Bossa Nova. First of all, by placing all troubles aside, and retreating to a quiet place. In this mode, I am driving in that cozy privacy of my white Monte Carlo. In this solitude, I begin to take in the scenic tour of landscapes along the interstate, glancing far off into the distance of rolling green hillsides, beautiful homes and familiar trees along the way.

As the tenor sax hits a crescendo in the track “Triste Samba,” I glance up into the azure lavender horizon of sunset, in all it’s profusion of infinitely glorious pink cirrus clouds. Wispy, irregular, totally awesome cloud formations in the sky, as though, Salvador Dali snatched the paintbrush out of the hands of Michelangelo and designed a contemporary one.

The powerful Latin rhythm of Baden Powell’s composition casually lures me into my exclusive little world of the Bossa pipe dreams…

I begin to imagine tranquilly attractive far away places, … as in the private shores of the French Riviera to the afterglows of burning red and topaz sunsets in Morocco, to the beautiful descending daylight of Madrid and Barcelona, casting beautiful shadows off the splendor of the Alhambra to the none so iridescent skyline view of downtown Toronto at dusk, reflecting ominous pink and golds on the waters of Lake Ontario.

Thus, the symphony of Latin American instruments fill my soul, transporting me all the way across to the region of my dad’s favorite music; southwest of the Atlantic to Barra da Tijuca, along the west coast of Brazil, then all the way up to Corcovado to the panoramic view of Rio de Janeiro by twilight.

Eventually, the best of my Bossa pipe dreams takes me on one final destination by a sharp left, across masses of deep Pacific waters up to the wide open shorelines of the islands I call home: the islands of Hawaii, a volcanic land filled with wonders of a paradise like no other. The airmade exotic by the scent of ocean, mighty Kona winds, and the potent scent of Gardenias, enchanting Orchids, Plumerias and Tuberose. In ten or fifteen years time, there is no forgetting this place.

Aside from these, I would have to say that the best memory is in the small town of Ewa, located on the Leeward side of the island, where my fondest recollection brings me to the front entrance of grandmothers home, where the familiar sight of huge ceramic planters of bougainvilleas line the fence in every vibrant shade. In addition to her jungle, were various hues of purple orchids, fuchsias of queen flower, tea leaf and tropical fern plants of many types.

Her garden got its name from my uncle Tony. One day, he noticed his mothers obsession with plants. “It looks like a jungle.” He said

In my a recollection of dad, I can clearly picture him taking the family for a spin around the island in a midnight blue 1967 Thunderbird, windward to the magnificent Koolau mountain range, where the sculpture of the green vertical slopes never ceases to take my breath away. Awesome in the way that this mountain hovers straight up and down. It’s unbelievable to be looking all the way up at the sharp vertical angle of Koolau, towering over the island at a peak of grand proportions.

Now as I listen to the soothing beginning of Baden Powell de Aquino’s ” O Grande Amor,”I look up into the panoramic view of wispy clouds once more, with a certain sense of melancholy attached to a streak of cloud resting diagonally iridescent stratus. Back to that alley, that corner of my world, where sometimes the breath I inhale becomes bittersweet. I look up at the afternoon sky again, suspended in that tranquility between the jazz tempos and the wispy clouds, that stifles my gloominess, and everything goes sublime.

Suddenly, my thoughts are fixated on a vertical cloud, that stretches far up high into the sky, leaving me with a renewed sense of calmness for the present.

In Bossa Nova, the passion became the power. On that note, it brings us back to the composers, Jobim and de Moraes. These two highly creative men were able to explore the new signature sound to its full extent, and in turn wrote some of the most smooth and romantic scores ever composed for the world of Bossa Nova. The highly creative, popular style of music could enter thru one door, and always come out the same route.

In other words, the music did not step out of the boundaries of it’s style. In the Bossa Nova movement, there were scores of Samba harmonies coming out of Brazil. However, Jobim and Moraes were the ones cranking it out like two workaholics at a mint press. Along with the right collaboration, they were able to show the mile for an inch, immersed so well in the music, they were able to advance Bossa Nova to great heights. All in the name of Bossa Nova.

Perhaps, we should pay homage to the fact that Antonio Carlos Jobim made more solid contributions to the music than any other composer at the time. After all, he was the one who had many plans about the music, and nurtured it to its mesmerized final note. His instinctive ideas about the music was what brought Bossa Nova to where it is today, an exclusive style. Jobim understood about all aspects involved in writing, producing, and performing the music, making him the sole intellect and politician behind the music.

Bossa Nova had grown to be a very classy style of music, abstract, attractive, chic, whose compositions have come about from some of the most originally romantic or enchanting settings, subjects and moods. The settings were always lovely to a point of breath-taking.   Many of the lovely compositions were written by Antonio Carlos Jobim, with the collaboration of co-composer Vinicius de Moraes.

Other Brazilian composers and musicians out of Brazil, such as Luiz Bonfá, Baden Powell de Aquino, Caetano Veloso, and Chico Buarque also made substantial contributions to this music.

To some extent, Bossa Nova was the marvelous outcome of collaboration amongst some of the most gifted and talented musicians, singers, and songwriters in the field. They each brought something to the table. The individuals, who kept their end of the bargain would in time become the forefathers of Bossa Nova. That challenge, is why all of the tracks are so authentic in its own respect.

In the Arts, it is understood that art has a natural flow. On one occasion, I was taking in a public art show competition, when a middle-aged woman who was standing beside me opened conversation. She began by saying, “Isn’t it amazing …” I thought she was speaking about the painting in front of us.

Then she continued, “I mean, look at all of this. There is no mistaking about how all of these works came to be here under one roof, at the same time.” She was insightful by her comment. The timing of the Arts is an awesome mystery all its own. This coming together of art beneath one umbrella at the same time is a volcanic eruption of the creative flow.

Those tiny, ticking mechanisms inside our watches become vitally important in any collaboration. The truly wonderful occurrence about the emergence of Bossa Nova was due to the aspect of impeccable timing. The fact that they all met at some point down the road, made it possible for the birth of an entirely new sound to emerge.

Jobim’s encounter with the flower vendor to the time that elapsed between João’s drifting years, while experimenting with rhythms on his guitar was an example of that timing. Jobim meeting Moraes. João meeting Jobim. The actual girl taking off for her walks along the seashores of Ipanema, while young Antonio and his friend sat and watched.

All in the timing. There is definitely a reason for things happening. Astrud was meant to be at her friends house on that specific day and time, or she would not have been introduced to João.

Then, there was Charlie Byrd taking off to the jazz fest, that in turn led Getz to check out the current music scene in Brazil. Throughout all this coming and going, it is a wonder how the events unfolded. The safe arrivals. The time and place of the original recordings. Everything went smooth as a secret attaché case going into the proper hands at a busy airport.

I fell in love from the moment I first heard the track, “Samba Triste.” Inhaling the elements was so grand to me. The sound gave me the feeling of being on a cliff, where the strong winds would brush up against my face. One afternoon, in listening to this track, I became totally mesmerized by the melancholic depths of the tenor sax, and the soulful strum of the Latin guitar, joined by the gentle persuasive rhythm of maracas.

Here, I began to reflect upon my own personal views of life in relation to the sadness of others. I thought of people and places, laughter and smiles of faces not seen in ages, of people I can no longer speak to, for they are dead. Suddenly, life begins to look like a dusty picture frame, or an out-dated floor tile, where the man who designed it, all the way up to the manufacturers of the lovely squares are all deceased.

I miss the cities and beaches from where I came. Funny I should say that, when my last affair back home left me feeling rather odd. There I stood on the the sandy shore, across the salty turquoise waters, as a tourist to my homeland. What a strange feeling.

The mighty Kona winds barraging me in face and tangling my hair up in knots, as I stood there alone, just thinking of how all these familiar surroundings are now foreign to me.

Glancing over my shoulder at my two boys splashing in the water, I thought about all those youthful years growing up, of all the excitement I lived down… of all the good friends I used to know. It was a great past, … my life that is. Looking out across the ocean of my paradise, I arrived at the conclusion that life is actually bittersweet.

It is a bowl of ripe and green mangoes.

Today, I’m listening to the Bossa Nova and those two little boys who once splashed in the waters of Hanauma Bay are now being pursued by beautiful young women. As the half happy. ..half melancholic jazz Samba flows, I begin to think of how good life has been to me. Nice house, beautiful family and of course memories of my cheerful, handsome father.

One evening, I could not help but contemplate for a moment about this former French actress, who appeared in numerous films of the 1960’s. A Godiva, type goddess with flowing blond hair that gingerly pranced about during the time of the Bossa Nova era. Her complete collection of photo shoots displayed a certain type of air and charm, that was evident in the youth of that time.

Brigitte Bardot was one of the provocative people. Perhaps, one of the most attractive blonde actresses ever to grace the silver screen. However, the cool French actress yearned for privacy, in escaping the public eye. She once sought refuge in the quaint town of Buzios with Brazilian boyfriend, where her bronze now sits.

Today, she is 76 years old.

Ahhh… Aging, the sad affair. The natural virus, born of air. If, we breath enough years of it, we might get lucky and experience that side of life. Imagine with me… how life can seem especially bittersweet for the terribly glamorous lives once led.

Amazingly enough, at a time when life became filled with a string of bittersweet feelings, along came a Jobim song, offering me solace in the form of fifty or so lines of metaphoric descriptions. Rich in wisdom, he casually depicts this mature affair with life. In it, he sings a host of subjects that is layed out as living is to life, and life is to death, and joy is to the end.

The song, “Águas de Março,” released in 1972, was a song of reflection. It was the most elegant piece of songwriting ever accomplished. Again, precious drops of brilliant songwriting, accomplished by none other than Bossa Nova’s best, Tom Jobim.

A highly methodical piece of writing to add to his array of compositions, spoke of a journey within a journey; the one lived and the one in progress. The metaphor of March, used as a point of flow as in the annual rainfall in Brazil, marking the end of summer and the beginning of autumn reflected a true part of his creative manner.

Quite, the elegant song writer, with the ability to take a simple concept of nature; a stick, a stone, a sliver of glass and turn it into the most wonderful pieces of music, when weaved into the emotion of mankind. His compositions roll out like sunlit fields of lavender that just sweeps up and over the hills like a fragrant serenade that is nothing but, soothing.

The song, written in great length, was executed to a uniqueness that was as pointed, as the very tip of a sharpened pencil. The arrival of this song was perhaps, one of the greatest artistic expressions of the Bossa Nova world.
 
An elderly man once told me, “The only sad part about getting old is that, you get to see your friends die. It’s a lonely a world out there.” He sadly concluded.

The song is a father figure for me in its implicit wisdom. I only hope to age gracefully like Dad. But, time claimed his life, as it will claim mine someday.

And its okay.

After all, it’s only life. That’s the way it rolls. It’s the way time flies. As the song concludes:

And the riverbank talks
Or the waters of March,
It’s the end of all strain
It’s the joy in your heart.

The pics of B. Bardot glamorous years alluded to my own sentiments about time. It is a pet-peeve of all beautiful women. Where did it all go? Where did all the excitement go? All the noise, all the laughter, and all the smiling faces from the past.

It seemed like only yesterday. That I was looking into the camera and saying, “cheese” while Dad was getting ready to snap a pic of me standing in front of grandma’s purple orchids. Only yesterday.. that I was following his steps to the cha, cha, cha.

Only, yesterday, that I could hear the sound of my father calling me by my pet name, “Sweetie.”

I remember, just yesterday… watching the African snail descend upon his slimy journey all the way up the orchid’s stem. Seems, but a few years ago, that, I could hear the  loud bursts of heavy rain; what sounded like a thousand marbles barraging the roof of the house where I grew up. Just, yesterday, dad was showing me his catch of starfish and octopus and beautiful coral……only, yesterday

Oh well, life goes on. It’s a bit chilly this morning, so I pull over my black turtleneck, the sexy one, and shoot a quick glance into the mirror, on my way out the door.

As I attempt to let myself out the house, the bright hazy light of morning flashes in my face, half squinting, and still trying to recover from a poor nights sleep, I begin the day. Hmmmm, java is not bad this morning, another sip, let me see now…

I got to thinking. Life is a journey of the heart.

With the cycle of events unfolding in the world today, of ongoing tension and unrest, we are living out perhaps, one of the most challenging phases of history in this new century. The Arts we see tomorrow will be so different, but the influences of yesterday’s arts carried over to the present holds the potential to be amazing. If not, we can always listen to songs of the past and be grateful that it came into existence.

Oppression brings on challenges. Beneath every stone, goodness, love, hate, creativity, melancholy, and the future exists. Just, waiting for us to catch up to it.

Out there in this humongous world are the fortunate people, who know exactly what to do with it, individuals who are capable of spreading these humanitarian feelings to others, many times in the arena of the Arts. whether it be through song, dance, film, or comedy. Sometimes the answer to life’s struggles and confusion is right beneath our noses, and it would take a special type of person to point that out to us.

It doesn’t matter how brief the joy. The important policy of life is to be open-minded and compassionate toward others; to share and to love this world for what it is.

For me, it was in receiving the lyrics of Jobim’s song. What I found so special about the track, is how, he so eloquently carved out “Waters of March.” The honing of that song is about as sharp, as tip at the very end of your pencil. I can tell you now, that the lyrics of “Águas de Março,” will go a long way with me.

Today, the Brazilian music scene is invigorated by the dreamy voices of such talented singers, as Karrin Allyson, Bebel Gilberto, and the crystal-hearted Tania Maria to name a few. Not to mention some promising players in the field such as Rosa Passos & Ivete Sangalo, and the Northern Brazilian sway of Pierre Aderne’s guitar and bossa-inspired vocals.

Allyson in her Recording of “Songs of Brazil”. Her immersion into the beauty of those songs are empathetic to the soul to the music. In the track “Time to Say Goodbye,” she takes the melancholic beauty of those lyrics into a sacred cave full of doves to the foot of her very soul.

Bebel, the precious daughter of Miucha & João Gilberto, possesses a creamy voice that takes one on a silk carpet ride of romance. Her wistful voice flows with the modern rhythms as a woman who has captured the ocean breeze and doves off the coast of Monaco.

In her track, “Winter.” she exhales in her vocals, conveying all the love in her singing to occupy every molecule of air around her. Beautiful breaths of air between verses, exuding to the modern romance. The modern waves of electronica rhythms fused with her inherited Brazilian influence

Bossa, make for some very satisfying music.

Brazil’s 21st century jazz outlook is a phase that scrupulously sustains the Brazilian rhythms within a wide scope of fused melodies, that is the complexity that will often carrying with it the elements of Bossa Nova. However, none so revolutionary as the initial movement of the early 1960’s, placing Bossa Nova on the pedestal, for having created its own genre, archived alongside the other Brazilian music forms, beginning with Choro.

To go much deeper than that, would take us into mid 19th century Africa, and Europe, where the early sounds of Samba derived. The roots of Brazil’s music run so deep in history that the list of songs, and of instrumental compositions are yeh long.

Always the epicenter of great music, brimming with many dedicated musicians, singers and songwriters, of which only a handful will gain the respect that comes along with the hard work. It’s more than that. Perhaps, taking every ounce of who you are and a brilliant mind for music.

Toward the latter of the 20th century, the music of Basia Trzetzelewska, made her debut with the track “New Day For You.” Her song, titled,” Astrud,” was a nice tribute to the finest lady of Bossa. It would not surprise me, say fifty to one hundred years from now, that people would still be singing to such popular tunes as, “Desafinado, Chega de Saudade, or Manhã de Carnaval. ” With Jobim’s, “Corcovado,” being the popular jazz anthem of Rio de Janeiro, the place where it all began.

The greatness of Bossa Nova lives on, constant as the rain, modern as the cubist shapes lining the boardwalks of Ipanema and Copacabana, and simply ageless as the youthful Asian and Latino genes, festive as the emerald colors of Carnaval, lovely as the sky, and timeless as the crest of a low tide at Hanauma bay. Refined as a perfectly aged bottle of wine. Classy, as in Bossa Nova.

A little over half a century now of very beautiful jazz. The Bossa Nova thrives among many countries within the intellectual crowds to the attractive people, to the romantic and provocative. All the way down to those who don’t understand a word of Portuguese, but can recognize a good sound when they hear one.

The impact of this genre is so huge that till this very day, it remains a great source of inspiration among the young Alternative Latin rock bands from New York to the Southern tip of South America. Such bands as Argentina’s “Acida,” and the,” Mosquitoes,” have included elements of Bossa Nova into their fusion of modern expression.

This very nice brand of music all the way from Rio de Janeiro is Brazil’s finest. And so. The água flows…

I sensed an underlying sadness, attached to the world of Bossa Nova. One, which I am not inclined to mention specifics of. However, I will discuss it in unique terms that will sustain its dignity.

True to my writing, these impressions are one of empathy. However vague, the attention to the emphatic gloom is being included because of the deep passion and concern I hold as a writer on this topic. Hence I will begin by saying:

“There is not a more deeper music of the Latin American Arts, than the passion instilled within the sounds of Bossa Nova. As, I immersed myself deep into the areas of that specific genre of Brazilian music, I caught wind of it. At first, I was dismayed, and distracted by it, producing a melancholia within me. I may have got too close, and felt it also. The sadness is mutual. For, heck, it was only a gift from dad, the imported sound that always perked me up. Music, I practically worshiped.” For days I dwelt upon this sadness for a good while, moreover as I proceeded to write this.”

When I became fascinated with my Dad’s music, I picked it up, as let’s say, a remarkable piece of sculpture and marvel at it in all its glory. I will size it up, turning it from side to side, and if my fingers happen to come across a cut, blemish, or mark. I will stop and study the tiny hidden fracture that lay beneath the metallic glaze. For, here, and only here lies the true beauty.

But, where am I to ponder, when the object I am looking at is a choro? (teardrop) Where do I begin to study this enigma of sadness after all this time? Looking at it from all angles, as a botanist looking deep within the staminal column of a red hibiscus, I finally, after much deliberation, came to realize that empathy in itself was life.

Someday I would like to recapture the richness of this ensuing sadness and set it to the bold manner of Flamenco song and dance. Perhaps, then, you could experience the sadness I speak of.

Indeed, the roots for Bossa Nova was deeper than I expected. And, for this, I see now and understand after much gloom over it, the true depths of the music. This morning, I let it go.

Today, the sadness has flown far away with the pigeons, left to coo in some forgotten part of this world. The face of great music, as in the accomplishment of Bossa Nova, also carries with it, soul.

Studying this personal sadness from all aspects, I’ve come to realize that raw beauty comes from within, that is where my true passion for the music now lies.

Here, ..and only here,
Lies the pureness
of the water of Bossa Nova…
the true water.
(..its in the choro.)

This new outlook has reshaped and deepened my appreciation for Bossa Nova. So… I am disclosing my passion for this “música muito bela” by concluding that the feeling is one of great passion. Perhaps, now I will be able to listen to and appreciate the exuberant force behind this great music, the golden jazz that dad gave to me.  

Now that, I am staring into the center of the red hibiscus, that lies hidden somewhere behind the quiet, gentle smile of João.

Debbie J. Beauchamp is a writer and observer of the Latin American arts. A  poet, philanthropist, and artist of the Contemporary arts. Her passion lies in Brazilian music, writing, and linguistics. Born and raised on the island of Oahu, the author currently resides in North Texas.

 

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