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Bossa-Nova in Rio

Rio de Janeiro Bossa-Nova music, or just Bossa, is a style of Brazilian music that originated in Rio de Janeiro. Portuguese slang for "new trend", it acquired a large following by young musicians and college students. The bossa nova as a cultural movement only lasted six years (1958-63) but it contributed with many songs to the standard jazz repertoire.

Origins of Bossa Nova

Bossa nova lyricist Vinicius de Moraes.

Bossa Nova, comes from samba but is much more complex harmonically and has less percussion. Unlike samba, Bossa Nova emerged from the upscale beachside neighbourhoods of Rio. Bossa nova was developed in 1958 by guitar player João Gilberto, with Elizete Cardoso´s recording of "Chega de Saudade" on the Canção do Amor Demais LP Album, composed by poet Vinícius de Moraes (lyrics) and piano player Antonio Carlos Jobim (music).

This is a live performance of guitar player Joao Gilberto and piano player Tom Jobim

This initial release by Gilberto and the success of the film Black Orpheus in 1959 brought Bossa Nova significant popularity in Brazil and elsewhere in Latin America, which was taken to North America by American jazz musicians. Charlie Byrd and Stan Getz cemented its popularity recording some bossa nova songs which left the doors open to a worldwide boom in 1963´s in the Stan Getz/Joao Gilberto album, numerous recordings by famous jazz performers such as Ella Fitzgerald (Ella Abraça Jobim) and Frank Sinatra (Francis Albert Sinatra & Antônio Carlos Jobim). However, the most successful bossa nova single of all time is the "The Girl from Ipanema" recorded by Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto and sung by Gilberto´s wife Astrud.

Playing Bossa

Guitar player Joao Gilberto

Bossa nova is most commonly performed on a nylon-string classical guitar, with the fingers rather than with a pick.

Following the style of João Gilberto, bossa guitar players basically take one of the several rhythmic layers from a samba ensemble (specifically, the tamborim) and apply it to the picking hand.

At the ends of the 50s, the term "bossa" was used to refer to any new "trend" or "fashionable wave" in the artistic beach-culture Rio de Janeiro. But "Bossa" became known and widely used to refer to the fusion of samba and jazz.

Contemporary bossa

Since the mid-nineties, various other European artists have looked into bossa nova for inspiration, mixing it with techno music thus creating BossaElectrica, TecnoBossa or Drum n Bossa widely played in lounge bars worldwide. From this newer generation of artists comes Bebel Gilberto, daughter of bossa nova co-creator João Gilberto and singer Miúcha

Check out this Ipanema Lounge drum n bossa

Major Bossa Nova artists

Some notable bossa nova artists

One of Rio's favourite singers Chico Buarque

  • Stan Getz
  • João Gilberto
  • Milton Banana
  • Luiz Bonfá
  • Charlie Byrd
  • Quarteto em Cy
  • Gal Costa
  • Astrud Gilberto
  • Bebel Gilberto
  • João Gilberto
  • Antonio Carlos Jobim
  • Nara Leão
  • Carlos Lyra
  • Sérgio Mendes
  • Vinicius de Moraes
  • Elis Regina
  • Toquinho
  • Chico Buarque

    If you visit Rio you cannot miss the chance to listen to the unique Rio de Janeiro Bossa-Nova music!

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