Brazilian music has influenced many musicians and has won fans worldwide, specially the bossa-nova beat pioneered by João Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim.
The popularity of the beat has gone beyond the thousands of renditions of “The Girl From Ipanema” and “Corcovado” – songs introduced to America by Stan Getz after the release of Getz/Gilberto, the landmark album that made Jobim, Gilberto and others household names around the world.
Many musicians also tended to create versions of timeless classics into the beat, as Frank Sinatra did with “Change Partners” (in the 1967 Sinatra/Jobim album) and Sarah Vaughan with “Something” (in her 1981 album “Songs of The Beatles”).
Many of the songs from the Walt Disney films have become classics in their own right – from fifties songs such as “When You Wish Upon a Star” all the way to the Elton John-penned songs from “Lion King” and the Disney-produced musical “Aida”.
Those songs come together in a new album, Disney Bossa Nova (Disney Records), which have songs from many of these films re-done by Brazilian artists such as Edu Lobo, Marcos Valle, Ivan Lins, Joyce and Miúcha (best known these days as Bebel Gilberto’s mom).
All the songs are performed in Portuguese, the lyrics taken from the versions that were featured in the Brazilian versions of the films they were in.
I specially loved Edu Lobo’s take on “Circle of Life” (“Ciclo Sem Fim”). The song is still recognizable in its simple arrangement, and Lobo makes the song his own with his spirited rendition.
Bossa pioneer Carlos Lyra pays tribute to Stan Getz with his take on “One Song” (“Uma Canção”). In his voice, the song from “Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs” gains a new life, and the Getz-like sax solo takes us back to his recordings from the early days of bossa nova.
Bena Lobo takes “Under the Sea” to the north of Brazil, giving it a baião treatment that stands out from the more subdued songs in the CD.
Very danceable and happy as the calypso original, the song is a pleasure to hear – the same going with Joyce’s take on “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo”, which has the same northeastern feel.
Joyce has the largest number of tracks on the album, and while she shines on the previous song, but she fails terribly on “Heigh-Ho”. The song simply doesn’t work as a samba, specially when the children’s choir joins in.
I have always appreciated Marcos Valle, but I honestly did not like his take on “It’s Not Easy” (“Não í‰ Facil”), taken from the 1976 film “Pete’s Dragon”(one of the few failures from the studio), in which he duets with Patricia Alvi. He does sound great on “Cruella de Vil” (“Cruela Cruel”), the song that opens the album.
Another weak moment is “Part of Your World” (“Parte de Seu Mundo”). Claudette Soares’ voice sounds too weak and dispirited for a song that speaks of hope and longing.
Some performers have the ability to deliver a song as if they’d written it, and that goes for Ivan Lins, whose take on “A Whole New World” (“Um Mundo Ideal”) is nothing less than great.
“Disney Bossa Nova” is an interesting album for those interested in Brazilian music, cool jazz or simply good sounds.
Disney Bossa Nova
Ernest Barteldes is an ESL and Portuguese teacher. In addition to that, he is a freelance writer whose work has been published by The Greenwich Village Gazette, The Staten Island Advance, The Staten Island Register, The SI Muse, Brazzil magazine, The Villager, GLSSite, Entertainment Today and other publications. He lives in Staten Island, NY. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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