The Girl from Ipanema: Brazil, Bossa Nova and the Beach


The Girl from Ipanema: Brazil, Bossa Nova and the Beach

Katie Derham travels to Rio de Janeiro to explore the story behind Brazil's most famous and enduring song, which defines the moment Brazil charmed the world stage in the 1960s.


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SONG: The Girl From Ipanema

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# Tall and tan and young and lovely

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# The girl from Ipanema goes walking and

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# When she passes each one she passes goes

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# "Ah..."

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# When she walks, she's like a samba

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# That swings so cool and sways so gently that

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# When she passes, each one she passes goes

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# "Ah..." #

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The Girl From Ipanema. Nothing says Rio de Janeiro quite like it.

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Musical legends from Frank Sinatra to Amy Winehouse

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cut their own versions of the most famous piece of bossa nova

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ever written. And when it was first a hit back in 1964,

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those three sublime minutes crystallised a vision of Brazil

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in the eyes of the rest of the world that endures to this day.

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# But each day when she walks to the sea

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# She looks straight ahead not at he... #

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So I've come here to Rio to explore the culture and the people

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behind the hit song.

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It's a journey into a most extraordinary period

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in Brazil's history when utopian Modernism,

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African rhythms and romantic poetry were channelled by a generation

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of Rio natives - Cariocas - to create bossa nova,

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Brazil's first and last truly international art form.

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# Tall and tan and young and lovely

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# The girl from Ipanema goes walking and

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# When she passes each one she passes goes

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# "Ah..."

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Bossa nova is the most beautiful music ever

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because it's sophisticated and also very simple.

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We were fighting for a cause, we had the sensation, we were fighting for,

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our cause was to divulge,

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to promote this wonderful music that will save Brazil.

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Bossa's a music defined by its sophistication, but sadly,

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now more often heard in a lift than on the radio.

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But I've always loved bossa.

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My father was born here in Rio so I grew up listening to it,

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and I've travelled here to Brazil many times to see and hear it

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for myself. There is so much more to it than its Muzak stereotype,

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and it means so much to Brazilians of all ages.

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So join me as I retrace the steps of the girl from Ipanema

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to a golden age of Brazilian music

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and the sun, sea and samba that started it all.

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# And when she passes she smiles

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# But she doesn't see

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# She just doesn't see... #

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Any story about Brazilian music has to start with samba.

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In fact, here in Brazil, they say that music is samba

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and samba is God.

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It's the music that tells the story of the Brazilian people,

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and it also provides the pulsing soundtrack

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to Rio's famous carnival parades.

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UPBEAT MUSIC

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Samba is where the soul of Brazil is.

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It's the way Brazil breathes, it's the way Brazil walks,

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it's the heartbeat of Brazil.

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Samba is as old as Brazil itself.

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Based on rhythms brought to the continent by West African slaves

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in the 16th century, it took hold as a truly Brazilian rhythm

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in the 1930s under the nationalist dictator Getulio Vargas.

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He used the carnival parades to promote his policy

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of racial democracy,

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unifying the diverse population through song and dance.

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And carnival still has that effect today.

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So samba means carnival, it means party.

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Tell us how people behave when they hear a samba.

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Bossa nova feels very calm compared to samba but is there some link?

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You can see why the Brazilians love samba. I mean, what's not to like?

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But all this, the drums and the noise and the singing

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and all the general madness is a million miles away from the soft,

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sophisticated tones of bossa nova.

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They may have come from the same place,

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but bossa nova was a child of its time, and that time was the 1950s.

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-REPORTER:

-'Yes, it's the most famous beach in the world,

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'Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro,

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'the city where the tango and the samba and the prettiest girls

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'in the world come from.'

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Bossa nova captured the mood of a special moment in Brazil's history.

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The demise of President Vargas in 1954

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called an end to 25 years of strict state control

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and gave way to a democratic, outward-looking Brazil

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with its sights set on becoming a modern First World nation.

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It was beautiful.

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It was an emerging time for arts,

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for film, for many things.

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It was like a promise

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of a new country, new life.

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-NEWSREADER:

-Brazil's president elect, Juscelino Kubitschek,

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declares putting Brazil on the map will be the biggest operation

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of his career.

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We had this great president in this Kubitschek.

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JK was his nickname.

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We used to call the President bossa nova.

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Yeah, because he was always smiling.

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He loves music.

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People loved him, he was a democrat.

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He started to build cars

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and industries.

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He was a visionary.

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"We will build a new capital in four years."

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And they did it.

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After centuries of colonial rule and hard-line dictatorships,

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Kubitschek's promise of 50 years' development in five,

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epitomised by the audacity of the brand-new capital, Brasilia,

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inspired hope for a new start for Brazil.

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And, as if life couldn't get any better,

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the national football team were on top of the world.

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1958, miraculously, Brazil won the World Cup in Sweden.

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And with a generation with Pele, Garrincha,

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the greatest football players,

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they marvelled the world with it.

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They were not only playing football,

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they were artists, they were dancers, they were magicians.

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And that, in Brazil, had a strong effect on the Brazilian soul.

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"We're the best."

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And the bossa nova comes as the perfect soundtrack of this period

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of Brazilian life - we were happy.

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The soundtrack to this golden era would be written by a generation

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of middle-class kids coming of age in the beachfront apartment blocks

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of Copacabana and Ipanema.

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Guitar-mad Carlos Lyra and Roberto Menescal,

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jobbing night-time pianist Tom Jobim,

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keen young singer Nara Leao

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and awkward troubadour Joao Gilberto

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enjoyed a charmed lifestyle and bonded over their desire

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for a modern Brazilian sound to call their own.

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SINGING IN OWN LANGUAGE

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The music was that kind of thing,

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"Waiter, bring me another glass because that woman just...

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"found herself a lover and I'm here suffering with this sentimental..."

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All the lyrics were about adultery, you know.

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It was horrible.

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APPLAUSE

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Running a mile from their parents' sorrowful samba-canao,

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Rio's hip teens fell in love with American cool jazz.

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The West Coast jazz, I loved it.

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Stan Kenton, Gerry Mulligan, Shorty Rogers,

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Barney Kessel.

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Me and Roberto Menescal used to listen to Barney Kessel

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day and night. We were very impressed by that.

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The group would meet in the family home of young singer Nara Leao

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This intimate environment set the tone

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for the style of music they played.

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SINGING IN OWN LANGUAGE

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Everybody barefoot,

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drinking whiskey

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and smoking a lot.

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And everybody... The guitar will circulate

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and everyone will show his new songs.

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I would be here, you would be there, Menescal there...

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and a piano here, guitar...

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and then I had to play to you my new song.

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It was difficult because I have to impress.

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To go inside that group, you have to be good,

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or they would think that you weren't good.

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But once you were there, everybody would help each other.

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It soon became an ambitious songwriters circle,

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and in 1958 came the first song to be dubbed bossa nova, the new beat.

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It would also unite on record the future team behind

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The Girl From Ipanema.

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SINGING IN OWN LANGUAGE

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The only place to come in Rio to get more info on this seminal song

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is the record shop-cum-library cum-bossa nova shrine

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run by Carlos Alberto Afonso.

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The first document of music, of course,

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phonographic documents of bossa nova history,

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one recording from July 10, '58.

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The first moment with the bossa nova seed is one recording

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with Joao Gilberto, the god, number one,

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playing and singing and the orchestra

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of the second god of bossa nova,

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Antonio Carlos Jobim or Tom Jobim.

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SINGING IN OWN LANGUAGE

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When I heard this song, it was something...

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Something happened in my heart and I said, "What is that?"

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Because it was so unusual, the way he sings,

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the way the beat and the music, everything, you know?

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I can remember exactly when I heard Joao Gilberto.

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I was in a party

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and I was dating a very beautiful girl.

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I remember I said, "My God, what is that?"

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Even if I had influence of many other kinds of music,

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when bossa nova, I heard this,

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I said, "My God!" I was under the impact.

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Something of an outsider,

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Joao Gilberto was from the northern state of Bahia

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and was steeped in that region's African samba rhythms.

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This deep knowledge was always welcome at the jam sessions in Rio,

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even if Joao himself was a bit of a loner.

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But what really marked out the man who would first perform

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The Girl From Ipanema was his new twist on the samba rhythm,

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which became known as the bossa beat.

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He listened to the samba, played by the samba schools,

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500 percussionists walking in procession

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and playing that groove...

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SHE MIMICS DRUMBEAT

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Really kind of explosive sounds.

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Irresistible sound.

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He just heard that and just took

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the essential element of it

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and created this groove that he could play

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with his right hand on the guitar.

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And that's, you know, that was genius.

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Joao Gilberto used to play like that.

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And used to play with the five fingers

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in a strange way, this way.

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And he could swing with that way.

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I was amazed with the way he could play.

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So did you and Roberto Menescal then try and sort of imitate that way?

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We all tried to copy that

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cos that was the way of playing bossa nova.

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SINGING IN OWN LANGUAGE

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Gilberto's playing style was a revelation.

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But he also brought an attention to detail bordering on the obsessive.

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For him, it has to be that perfection, like Flaubert.

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He would roll on the floor in search of the right word.

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The same thing with Joao Gilberto,

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and the same thing for anybody who considers himself bossa nova.

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He has to have the right thing,

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the right touch because otherwise you don't have art.

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SINGING IN OWN LANGUAGE

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Samba is the rhythm,

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bossa nova is the way to play this song -

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sweet, kind.

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Intimate of voice,

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minimalistic behaviour of the instruments.

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I call the bossa nova with one name -

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Mona Lisa bossa nova. Yeah!

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Same artistic perspective of Renaissance art.

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Looking for the formal perfection

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through the simple.

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Just the necessary, no more.

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SINGING IN OWN LANGUAGE

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Bossa nova is very romantic.

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Very romantic, always.

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But the romance was always very light, very cool, never aggressive.

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Like singing in the ears of a woman.

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Never screaming.

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SHE SINGS IN OWN LANGUAGE

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The song was like meditation, you know, you get inside, you know,

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it's not so extrovert, it's coming in, it's introverted,

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it's like with yourself.

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SHE SINGS IN OWN LANGUAGE

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The art of bossa nova relied as much upon its sophisticated harmonies

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and catchy melodies as it did the intimate performance style.

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And the master composer and linchpin of the early scene

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was Antonio Carlos or "Tom" Jobim.

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I'm travelling three hours north of Rio into the mountains to visit

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the Jobim family's rustic country retreat.

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It's out here in the wilderness

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that Jobim wrote some of his best-known songs.

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So this is it, your grandfather's favourite place.

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Favourite place in the world.

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So how often would he come up here?

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Oh, he would stay months at a time, writing songs every morning.

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What did he love about this place, why did he always want to come up?

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All the birds, he knew all the birds by the scientific name, you know.

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And the melodies, which ones were doing,

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and writing the songs together.

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And from here he would use the whistle of the hunters,

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to call the female or the male from the outside of the river.

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-So this is amazing.

-Yeah. Palm trees.

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-Very nice.

-The monkeys jump from tree to tree.

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My music comes from this...

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environment here, you know,

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the rain, the sun, the trees,

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the birds, the mountains, the rocks.

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Beautiful.

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He loved life.

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And those guys, they were all like that, they were bohemian,

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they enjoyed life, they enjoyed beauty, they were into beauty.

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So this is the studio... where it all happened.

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Yes, his piano, upright piano, would be here with a bust of Chopin

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and some pictures of family there.

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And he would study here in the morning,

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looking at the forest there...

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and write all the songs.

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He played at night,

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like a pianist in bars.

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And that was, for a while,

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was not easy...not an easy living.

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He wanted to be a classical pianist.

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So he studied Rachmaninoff -

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he loved Stravinsky,

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Chopin a lot -

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and began writing arrangements.

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SINGING IN OWN LANGUAGE

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Jobim, he innovated in

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harmonic language what is possible.

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He was a poet of harmony,

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by putting chords or sounds together

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that nobody thought would sound beautiful together,

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and he knew how to do that.

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He would also link them together

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with these melodies that were out of heaven.

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SINGING IN OWN LANGUAGE

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He created a new grammar or vocabulary of harmony,

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something that inspires musicians,

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especially jazz musicians, all over the world.

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By the end of the 1950s, a whole new scene was emerging here

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in the beachfront South Zone area of Rio.

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As the major players brought bossa out of their apartments

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and into the world, their new sound, their new way of playing,

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found their home in a loose network of small clubs and bars,

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most famously here in Bottle Alley.

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SINGING IN OWN LANGUAGE

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The development of bossa nova,

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the promotion of it,

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was done in this small nightclub

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that can hold 40, 50 people,

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very tiny tables.

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But you could listen to Tom Jobim, to Joao Gilberto.

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They could almost avoid amplification,

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that was beautiful that time.

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So, Sergio, when Bottles Bar was first opened in the 1950s and '60s,

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it was THE place to come, wasn't it?

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So the stars of stage and screen were now enjoying the new beat,

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alongside the cafe crowd in Rio,

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and now they could also take home bossa nova on vinyl,

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as the music business rushed to release albums

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by all the original gang.

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Even the record covers had their own, new aesthetic,

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in keeping with the cool, minimalism of the movement.

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And in spring 1961,

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a group of respected American jazz musicians touched down in Brazil

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as part of a state-sponsored goodwill tour, and their interest

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in the new scene ran deeper than just a good night out.

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All the bossa boys were listening to American jazz, but what they didn't

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realise was that the big names in American jazz

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were listing to them, too, and they loved what they were hearing.

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Stars like Charlie Byrd and Gerry Mulligan flew down here

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to Rio to visit and to play,

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and the musical friendships that were born then would catapult

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bossa nova onto the world stage.

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When we talk about the classic moment when bossa nova

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caught the attention of the jazz musicians up in the States,

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what did they like about it,

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what was it about bossa nova that made them sit up?

0:26:590:27:01

I think there are...

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musical elements that are very common to both languages.

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The first one is melody.

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Because when you put it in relation to the harmony,

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they become really complex notes,

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chords that a jazz player will go, "Yes, that's what I need."

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You know, it's juicy.

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They identified rhythm cos it has very much of what they gave to us,

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especially the harmony.

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The harmony, it's all from the American jazz.

0:27:410:27:45

Guitarist Charlie Byrd wasted no time in recording his own versions

0:27:450:27:48

of the bossa nova he heard in Rio,

0:27:480:27:51

teaming up with the legendary saxophonist Stan Getz

0:27:510:27:54

on the album Jazz Samba.

0:27:540:27:56

Released in April '62,

0:27:560:27:57

it sold half a million copies in 18 months

0:27:570:28:00

and became the only jazz album ever

0:28:000:28:03

to hit number one on the Billboard pop chart,

0:28:030:28:07

and the Tom Jobim tune Desafinado led the charge in the hit parade.

0:28:070:28:11

Here you have a mystery. The public really went for this.

0:28:260:28:29

It's jazz but I guess I'll use the word "accessible."

0:28:290:28:33

It's the melody, even though it's complex, is still singable,

0:28:330:28:37

which is sort of amazing.

0:28:370:28:39

It's not that easy, it's not Do Re Mi.

0:28:410:28:44

That may have been the reason that,

0:28:440:28:46

wow, here's an audience who was looking for something like that.

0:28:460:28:50

And, interestingly enough, it wasn't vocal at the time,

0:28:500:28:53

Desafinado was an instrumental record

0:28:530:28:56

who hit way up in the top of the pop charts.

0:28:560:28:59

That's amazing in the music business.

0:28:590:29:02

Spying an opportunity after Desafinado's success,

0:29:110:29:13

record exec Sidney Frey hatched a plan

0:29:130:29:17

to introduce bossa's originators to the US market.

0:29:170:29:20

-REPORTER:

-In music, if you want to start a movement, you hire a hall,

0:29:230:29:26

Carnegie Hall, to spread the word and the song.

0:29:260:29:30

One of the record executives had this idea to do a concert

0:29:300:29:33

at Carnegie Hall, really presenting Brazilian musicians.

0:29:330:29:37

That was their real entryway

0:29:370:29:39

into what becomes an international market.

0:29:390:29:42

The importance of this opportunity was almost lost

0:29:450:29:47

on the more laid-back members of the scene back in Rio.

0:29:470:29:51

I'd never had been to the States before and I was amazed, you know,

0:30:290:30:32

the autumn in New York, you know, it's a beautiful season.

0:30:320:30:36

We went to the Carnegie Hall and they were lines of people,

0:31:100:31:15

it was crowded. Carnegie Hall was crowded.

0:31:150:31:18

And it was full of important musicians in the audience.

0:31:180:31:22

And we realised that something important was happening.

0:31:220:31:26

-REPORTER:

-This was the official send-off for bossa nova.

0:31:430:31:45

But the movement was already on its way and it's been going

0:31:450:31:48

all the stronger since.

0:31:480:31:50

In the record shops, racks full of bossa nova

0:31:500:31:53

that swings like Castro-Neves and some that's sweet and lyrical.

0:31:530:31:57

In either form, bossa nova is in.

0:31:570:32:00

# Blame it on the bossa nova

0:32:000:32:02

# With its magic spell... #

0:32:020:32:06

Some people just got on the bandwagon, didn't they?

0:32:060:32:08

Yes. The bossa nova dance craze, for instance, which never existed.

0:32:080:32:12

-What was that?

-I have no idea.

0:32:120:32:14

But you had to have a dance because Latin music was all about dancing.

0:32:140:32:20

Now, samba is a dance, bossa nova, as far as I know, never was.

0:32:200:32:24

With the bossa nova,

0:32:240:32:26

the basic step is taken to the side with a little twist motion.

0:32:260:32:30

# Blame it on the bossa nova

0:32:300:32:33

# With its magic spell... #

0:32:330:32:36

Bossa nova became so popular,

0:32:360:32:39

advertising just love it.

0:32:390:32:40

Everything was bossa nova. "Oh, it is a new building,

0:32:400:32:44

"buy the new building and the apartments,

0:32:440:32:46

"they are the bossa nova apartment."

0:32:460:32:48

They said, "Oh, you buy the new suit, bossa nova suit."

0:32:480:32:53

Bossa nova icebox, bossa nova lawyers.

0:32:530:32:56

THEY LAUGH

0:32:560:32:58

Many things. And now I heard here on the radio the bossa nova haircut,

0:32:580:33:03

bossa nova shoes.

0:33:030:33:05

This is not very good for the music.

0:33:050:33:09

Madison Avenue's version of bossa was but the latest fad

0:33:180:33:21

aimed squarely at a middle-class America and its preconceptions

0:33:210:33:25

about life south of the border.

0:33:250:33:27

Brazil represents, for the United States,

0:33:280:33:31

a utopian other, so Rio,

0:33:310:33:34

the most beautiful city in the world.

0:33:340:33:37

Brazilian culture, sensual, uninhibited,

0:33:370:33:41

notions of beauty are paramount.

0:33:410:33:46

And when Jobim, Gilberto and Stan Getz got it together

0:33:460:33:49

in a New York recording studio in the spring of 1963,

0:33:490:33:52

the song Jobim pulled from his suitcase

0:33:520:33:55

brought this fantasy to life

0:33:550:33:56

in the form of The Girl From Ipanema.

0:33:560:33:59

SINGING IN OWN LANGUAGE

0:33:590:34:02

He and his writing partner, Vinicius de Moraes,

0:34:130:34:15

had composed the song at least a year earlier

0:34:150:34:18

on a typically relaxed day by the beach.

0:34:180:34:21

Vinicius de Moraes, you know,

0:34:210:34:23

he wrote the lyrics and I wrote the music.

0:34:230:34:27

We used to drink some draught, you know,

0:34:270:34:30

and watch the girls going to the sea, to the beach.

0:34:300:34:34

Nobody knew who she was...

0:34:340:34:36

..but she was so beautiful that everybody gasped.

0:34:370:34:41

SINGING IN OWN LANGUAGE

0:34:410:34:45

The beautiful girl immortalised in the song had a name,

0:34:450:34:48

Helo Pinheiro,

0:34:480:34:49

and 50 years on, she's still turning heads on her way to the beach.

0:34:490:34:53

The two men, Tom Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes,

0:34:540:34:58

they are sitting at the bar,

0:34:580:35:00

the snack bar, and I was walking to the beach

0:35:000:35:05

and one told to him,

0:35:050:35:09

"Oh, I love the girl. All the time she passes here."

0:35:090:35:15

And when I passed,

0:35:150:35:17

"I am going to make a song for this girl."

0:35:170:35:21

The Girl From Ipanema comes,

0:35:210:35:24

it changed my life because it make me famous.

0:35:240:35:28

Helo Pinheiro became a symbol of the quintessential Rio beach girl,

0:35:370:35:41

but also represented something deeper

0:35:410:35:43

for lyricist Vinicius de Moraes,

0:35:430:35:45

a spiritual godfather to the bossa generation.

0:35:450:35:48

He was a great friend, was a great man.

0:35:480:35:52

Very cultured, very warm,

0:35:520:35:55

and women loved him.

0:35:550:35:58

And believe me, he was short, bald, women just fell at his feet.

0:35:580:36:02

It was incredible.

0:36:020:36:04

THEY SING IN OWN LANGUAGE

0:36:040:36:07

He was a gentleman and he was raised to be like that,

0:36:090:36:12

to believe that a woman should be put on a higher ground,

0:36:120:36:17

to be adored and admired,

0:36:170:36:20

and made for love and forgiveness.

0:36:200:36:23

He wrote that, actually.

0:36:230:36:25

Yes, he probably needed a lot of forgiveness during his life.

0:36:250:36:29

THEY LAUGH

0:36:290:36:30

Oh, yeah, definitely.

0:36:300:36:32

But, you know, how could you not forgive him? He was adorable.

0:36:320:36:35

A true bohemian, by the time the Bard of bossa began writing songs,

0:36:350:36:40

he'd already led a colourful life as a diplomat and man of letters.

0:36:400:36:44

He was a very important romantic poet.

0:36:440:36:47

One of the most important poets in Brazil.

0:36:470:36:50

And then he became a lyricist.

0:36:500:36:52

And he was one of the greatest lyricist in bossa nova.

0:36:520:36:56

He was the first Brazilian to have a scholarship

0:36:560:37:01

granted by Oxford University.

0:37:010:37:03

And he was very fond of Shakespearean poetry.

0:37:030:37:10

The best Vinicius moments, you have things like,

0:37:100:37:13

"Que coisa mais bonita voce ser,"

0:37:130:37:15

"What a beautiful thing you are."

0:37:150:37:18

So simple things,

0:37:180:37:21

and Shakespeare reached it in Romeo And Juliet or Antony And Cleopatra.

0:37:210:37:27

Very simple things but very beautiful things.

0:37:270:37:30

Vinicius ensured the words in bossa nova

0:37:300:37:34

were taken as seriously as the music.

0:37:340:37:36

And the themes of love, the smile and the flower

0:37:360:37:39

became something of a manifesto for the genre.

0:37:390:37:42

SINGING IN OWN LANGUAGE

0:37:420:37:45

However, the English-speaking audience were none the wiser.

0:37:450:37:48

That is until the recording of The Girl From Ipanema.

0:37:480:37:52

SINGING IN OWN LANGUAGE

0:37:520:37:54

Back in New York,

0:37:580:37:59

crack lyricist Norman Gimbel had been enlisted to translate

0:37:590:38:02

the Portuguese lyrics into English.

0:38:020:38:05

Best known for his subsequent hits Killing Me Softly

0:38:050:38:08

and the Happy Days theme tune...

0:38:080:38:09

# These days are ours

0:38:090:38:12

-# Happy and free

-Those happy days

0:38:120:38:15

# These days are ours... #

0:38:150:38:19

His interpretation of Garota de Ipanema cuts to the chase.

0:38:190:38:23

The first Portuguese lyrics, first couple lines, are...

0:38:230:38:25

"Olha que coisa mais linda, cheio de graca,"

0:38:250:38:29

which literally is,

0:38:290:38:31

"Look at this beautiful thing, full of grace."

0:38:310:38:35

That's what it is literally.

0:38:350:38:37

In English it's, "Tall and tan and young and lovely,

0:38:370:38:40

"the girl from Ipanema." So it's very different.

0:38:400:38:43

Antonio Carlos Jobim didn't like the translation.

0:38:430:38:47

He was completely furious

0:38:470:38:50

with the words they put in English,

0:38:500:38:54

describing physically the girl

0:38:540:38:58

and not describing the impression

0:38:580:39:01

of something full of grace that walks by.

0:39:010:39:05

When you say full of grace,

0:39:050:39:07

you are referring to Our Lady of Mercy

0:39:070:39:11

and you need a woman to be your saviour.

0:39:110:39:14

But when you say tall and tanned and young,

0:39:140:39:18

you are talking about a beauty contest, it's so vulgar.

0:39:180:39:23

All objections aside, it was decided that at least one verse in English

0:39:230:39:27

would be a good idea after Joao Gilberto had kicked off the song

0:39:270:39:30

in Portuguese.

0:39:300:39:32

Step forward Joao's wife, Astrud Gilberto.

0:39:320:39:36

# Tall and tan and young and lovely

0:39:360:39:39

# The girl from Ipanema goes walking

0:39:390:39:42

# And when she passes each one she passes goes

0:39:420:39:47

# "Ah..." #

0:39:470:39:50

Astrud, who had, as far as I know,

0:39:500:39:54

didn't really have a career here at that point,

0:39:540:39:57

she was the only one who could speak English,

0:39:570:40:00

but she sings it in this karaoke style,

0:40:000:40:03

which is intimate and simple,

0:40:030:40:06

no vibrato.

0:40:060:40:09

Articulation is gorgeous, she's swinging, in her way.

0:40:090:40:13

# But each day when she walks to the sea

0:40:130:40:17

# She looks straight ahead not at he... #

0:40:170:40:21

It was so lovely. She was a girl from Ipanema singing.

0:40:210:40:24

She was the way...

0:40:240:40:26

Nothing... You know, nothing...

0:40:260:40:28

Very natural singing.

0:40:280:40:30

# When she passes each one she passes goes

0:40:300:40:33

# "Ah..." #

0:40:330:40:35

Seduced by Astrud's voice, producer Creed Taylor made a decisive call

0:40:350:40:39

when it came to mastering the single.

0:40:390:40:42

The producer heard her singing

0:40:440:40:48

and then they took Joao Gilberto out,

0:40:480:40:50

they put only Astrud Gilberto singing.

0:40:500:40:54

# Oh

0:40:540:40:56

# But he watches so sadly

0:40:560:41:00

# How can he tell her he loves her? #

0:41:010:41:08

And with that, what started as a track on a Brazilian jazz album,

0:41:080:41:12

sung in Portuguese by a man,

0:41:120:41:14

became a pop single performed by a woman in English

0:41:140:41:17

but with an exotic accent.

0:41:170:41:19

# She looks straight ahead not at he

0:41:190:41:23

# Tall and tanned and young and lovely... #

0:41:230:41:27

This transformed The Girl From Ipanema's global appeal.

0:41:270:41:31

That accented voice

0:41:310:41:33

is something that becomes kind of marketable for the record company.

0:41:330:41:39

We have to take into account not just a sonic quality of her voice

0:41:390:41:43

but all that Brazil represents.

0:41:430:41:46

There is a lot of the foreign...

0:41:460:41:50

look into Brazil that you get through that version.

0:41:500:41:55

Tall and tanned and young and lovely -

0:41:550:41:58

the exotic.

0:41:580:41:59

It is just an irresistible sort of image, isn't it?

0:41:590:42:02

And it allows...

0:42:020:42:05

everyone abroad to project, especially men,

0:42:050:42:08

their fantasies about this woman,

0:42:080:42:11

this Brazilian woman.

0:42:110:42:13

# Tall and tan and young and lovely

0:42:130:42:16

# The girl from Ipanema goes walking

0:42:160:42:20

# And when she passes, he smiles

0:42:200:42:22

# But she doesn't see

0:42:220:42:24

# She just doesn't see... #

0:42:240:42:27

The song was an international smash hit,

0:42:270:42:29

rising to the top five in the Billboard Hot 100

0:42:290:42:32

and number one on the easy listening charts in the States.

0:42:320:42:35

It broke the top 30 in the UK

0:42:350:42:37

and went on to win the Grammy award for Record of the Year.

0:42:370:42:41

What was your father's reaction to his song becoming the record

0:42:410:42:44

of the year and getting a Grammy for being the record of the year?

0:42:440:42:47

It was a big surprise because it was a jazz record...

0:42:470:42:52

..and never a jazz record had sold so much.

0:42:540:42:58

It's accessible, it swings, and then it's in English.

0:42:580:43:01

That was a genius move.

0:43:010:43:03

The public likes it, the musicians like it.

0:43:030:43:06

-It's the perfect record.

-It's a perfect record.

0:43:060:43:08

I think it's a very nice song, I think it's a very well-written song,

0:43:080:43:12

beautiful melody, and incredible lyrics.

0:43:120:43:16

It was like a bossa nova hymn all over the world.

0:43:160:43:20

The Girl From Ipanema has been recorded over 500 times

0:43:200:43:23

by some of the biggest names in music.

0:43:230:43:26

# Tall and tan and young and lovely

0:43:260:43:29

# The girl from Ipanema goes walking

0:43:290:43:33

# When he passes each girl he passes goes

0:43:330:43:35

# "Ah..."

0:43:350:43:37

# When she passes each one she passes goes

0:43:370:43:41

# Daboo-du-daa... #

0:43:410:43:43

It's believed to be the second-most recorded popular song

0:43:450:43:47

of the 20th century, second only to the Beatles' Yesterday.

0:43:470:43:52

And the Beatles themselves were honoured at the same Grammy awards

0:43:520:43:55

in 1965 for Best New Artist.

0:43:550:43:59

Just as The Girl From Ipanema broke bossa nova into the mainstream,

0:43:590:44:03

the Brits arrived on American turf with their own new beat,

0:44:030:44:06

rendering all that came before yesterday's music.

0:44:060:44:09

However, this changing of the guard on the front line of pop was trivial

0:44:210:44:25

compared to the real invasion going on back home in Rio.

0:44:250:44:29

It was an impact for us.

0:44:290:44:32

Everything has changed. Freedom of the press - over.

0:44:320:44:36

The bossa nova President Kubitschek's successors

0:44:380:44:41

had begun to lean radically towards communist regimes.

0:44:410:44:45

On April 1st, 1964,

0:44:470:44:49

a US-backed military coup

0:44:490:44:51

brutally called time on Brazil's experiment with democracy.

0:44:510:44:55

When the military came in '64 and took power,

0:44:560:45:00

nobody knew it was going to become so bloody and dangerous.

0:45:000:45:04

There were people being taken to prison, being tortured,

0:45:040:45:07

artists being censored.

0:45:070:45:09

Suddenly, you know, we lived under

0:45:090:45:12

a very, very oppressive dictatorship.

0:45:120:45:17

Everybody was afraid to say anything because maybe some neighbour...

0:45:170:45:22

This kind of crazy thing that, for Rio, Brazil, it was crazy.

0:45:220:45:26

We were persecuted. There were announcements on the radio -

0:45:260:45:30

"Don't ever play Antonio Carlos Jobim."

0:45:300:45:36

They put him on the blacklist.

0:45:360:45:39

SHE SINGS IN OWN LANGUAGE

0:45:460:45:48

Bossa nova's fixation on romantic themes and its air of refinement,

0:45:560:46:01

which so fitted the optimism of the Kubitschek era,

0:46:010:46:04

was now at odds with the mood of the nation.

0:46:040:46:07

SHE SINGS IN OWN LANGUAGE

0:46:080:46:10

The young generations, like my own,

0:46:150:46:18

a lot of people thought bossa nova was not reflecting any more

0:46:180:46:23

the situation of the country because it was too light,

0:46:230:46:26

and the situation was too heavy.

0:46:260:46:29

So all of a sudden that was old news.

0:46:290:46:32

SHE SINGS IN OWN LANGUAGE

0:46:320:46:34

Some people carried on writing, you know,

0:46:400:46:44

love songs and ignoring everything else, as always, of course.

0:46:440:46:49

But some people thought, no, no, no, we can't, we have to,

0:46:490:46:53

we have to try and do what we can, using music perhaps, let's try.

0:46:530:46:58

There was a big split on bossa nova from that time on.

0:46:580:47:03

Menescal stayed on this bossa nova.

0:47:030:47:07

Light, jazz, beaches, little boats.

0:47:070:47:13

Loving the afternoon.

0:47:130:47:15

SHE SINGS IN OWN LANGUAGE

0:47:350:47:37

But for others, it was time to take a stand,

0:47:400:47:43

and the split deepened in the bossa generation

0:47:430:47:46

when Nara Leao turned her back on her old crowd by the beach.

0:47:460:47:50

She was very outspoken about bossa nova

0:48:210:48:23

-and how it was dead and useless...

-Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

0:48:230:48:27

-Yeah, very much.

-They called her the bossa nova muse.

0:48:270:48:30

But being the clever woman she was,

0:48:310:48:34

she wouldn't stand in that role forever,

0:48:340:48:37

she was a very political head.

0:48:370:48:40

They started to do...

0:49:050:49:07

..music and lyrics about peasants,

0:49:090:49:15

oppressed people, and all the lyrics should be aggressive,

0:49:150:49:21

more related to our origins.

0:49:210:49:24

We should do music for the people.

0:49:240:49:27

SINGING IN OWN LANGUAGE

0:49:270:49:31

Nara Leao was not alone in her opinion.

0:49:310:49:34

SINGING IN OWN LANGUAGE

0:49:340:49:36

And as the counterculture kicked in hard at the end of the decade,

0:49:370:49:41

Tropicalia blasted away the quiet minimalism of bossa with a heady mix

0:49:410:49:45

of rock and roll and psychedelia.

0:49:450:49:48

Bossa nova was nothing any more,

0:49:490:49:52

was completely despicable,

0:49:520:49:55

was corny, was cheesy, was...

0:49:550:50:00

something very old.

0:50:000:50:02

And the great bossa nova stars,

0:50:020:50:06

Jobim, Joao Gilberto, they moved to the US.

0:50:060:50:10

Insulated from the turbulent times back home, bossa nova in the US

0:50:140:50:18

had matured like a fine wine into a grown-up music for

0:50:180:50:21

the middle classes enjoying their creature comforts in the suburbs.

0:50:210:50:25

The instrument - guitar. The beat - bossa nova.

0:50:270:50:30

The artist - Antonio Carlos Jobim.

0:50:300:50:34

HE SINGS IN OWN LANGUAGE

0:50:340:50:36

For Jobim, that was the key to the world.

0:50:400:50:43

For Frank Sinatra to come along and say, "Stop everything,

0:50:430:50:46

"it's bossa nova, it's Jobim,"

0:50:460:50:48

that's like God coming down and saying,

0:50:480:50:51

"This I'm going to put my signature on." That's a big deal.

0:50:510:50:54

Tom Jobim settled into his new position alongside Ol' Blue Eyes

0:50:540:50:58

with consummate ease. The album they recorded together in 1967

0:50:580:51:03

is widely regarded as one of Sinatra's finest,

0:51:030:51:07

and completed bossa nova's induction

0:51:070:51:09

to the great American song book.

0:51:090:51:11

And, of course, in this national TV special,

0:51:130:51:15

The Girl From Ipanema was the jewel of the set list.

0:51:150:51:18

# Tall and tan and young and lovely

0:51:180:51:21

# The girl from Ipanema goes walking and

0:51:210:51:25

# When she passes each one she passes goes

0:51:250:51:29

# "Ah..."

0:51:290:51:33

HE SINGS IN OWN LANGUAGE

0:51:330:51:35

I love that beautiful performance they did live, playing there,

0:51:410:51:44

in front with the suits.

0:51:440:51:46

And smoking the cigarette, Sinatra is smoking and singing.

0:51:460:51:50

Can you believe this?

0:51:500:51:52

My grandfather is playing the guitar because he was basically

0:51:530:51:56

the piano player but he learned the guitar.

0:51:560:51:58

And Sinatra wanted to have on the album the guitar

0:51:580:52:01

because it looks more Latin, so he asked for it.

0:52:010:52:04

So he had to study a little more.

0:52:040:52:06

Whatever Sinatra asks you to do, you have to do.

0:52:060:52:10

BOTH: # But each day when she walks to the sea

0:52:100:52:13

# She looks straight ahead not at me... #

0:52:130:52:17

Wow. Can't believe it.

0:52:170:52:20

I still can't believe it.

0:52:200:52:22

This is, in a sense, even more of an arrival

0:52:220:52:25

into world musical culture than getting invited

0:52:250:52:29

to perform at Carnegie Hall. This is the real arrival for Jobim.

0:52:290:52:34

This is the mark that he is a major composer.

0:52:340:52:39

I think he was valued in America.

0:52:390:52:42

I don't think the bossa nova people are valued enough in Brazil.

0:52:420:52:46

They would talk about bossa nova, even in a dismissive way, like, oh,

0:52:460:52:50

you know, that's boring, that's over.

0:52:500:52:53

"They sold out to America," was the reaction in Brazil.

0:52:530:52:58

Very Brazilian...

0:52:580:53:00

Jobim had a phrase, in Brazil...

0:53:000:53:03

..success is a personal offence.

0:53:040:53:08

It was so criticised in Brazil.

0:53:090:53:12

This poor man, this genius.

0:53:120:53:14

Few Brazilians have made so much for this country than Jobim.

0:53:150:53:19

In just a few years, bossa nova had gone mainstream,

0:53:190:53:23

growing up from an intimate local beat

0:53:230:53:25

into an internationally renowned repertoire of popular standards.

0:53:250:53:30

SHE SINGS IN OWN LANGUAGE

0:53:340:53:36

I've been in Romania and Russia,

0:53:450:53:48

so faraway places

0:53:480:53:50

and always the same.

0:53:500:53:52

It's always...

0:53:520:53:55

full of people, sold out.

0:53:550:53:58

And in Japan they are crazy about bossa nova.

0:53:580:54:01

SHE SINGS IN OWN LANGUAGE

0:54:010:54:04

You go anywhere in the world

0:54:120:54:14

and you can hear bossa nova in major concert halls.

0:54:140:54:17

I've seen Joao Gilberto in Carnegie Hall.

0:54:170:54:21

It's the same repertoire being performed in more or less

0:54:210:54:24

the same way that it has been for the past 50 years.

0:54:240:54:28

In this sense, bossa nova can be deemed a classical music.

0:54:280:54:32

Bossa nova, to me, is art,

0:54:320:54:33

I separate it, I make a distinction there.

0:54:330:54:36

The music that's big in Brazil nowadays is the entertainment music.

0:54:360:54:40

It's music done for people to dance to, to dance,

0:54:400:54:46

to enjoy carnival,

0:54:460:54:49

it's the big masses sort of music.

0:54:490:54:52

SHE SINGS IN OWN LANGUAGE

0:54:520:54:54

I love entertainment,

0:54:580:55:01

but if I want to kind of be quiet and be taken somewhere else,

0:55:010:55:06

I need the right music for it, and it's not going to be...

0:55:060:55:10

the entertainment music, it's art, I want to go somewhere,

0:55:100:55:13

it takes me somewhere.

0:55:130:55:14

SINGING IN OWN LANGUAGE

0:55:170:55:19

Wherever you are in the world,

0:55:250:55:26

the place bossa nova will always transport you to is Rio,

0:55:260:55:30

the birthplace,

0:55:300:55:31

where for many years this precious music was all but forgotten.

0:55:310:55:35

But slowly Brazil has begun to value its greatest cultural export

0:55:350:55:40

and celebrate bossa's founding fathers.

0:55:400:55:43

SINGING IN OWN LANGUAGE

0:55:430:55:46

These heroes of bossa nova became...

0:56:000:56:05

part of our landscape

0:56:050:56:08

nowadays in Rio.

0:56:080:56:10

Vinicius de Moraes is a street in Ipanema.

0:56:100:56:15

The neighbourhood celebrated his wonderful song.

0:56:150:56:19

And Tom Jobim is our main airport.

0:56:190:56:23

Now, we have both

0:56:230:56:26

as part of our sentimental and geographical landscape.

0:56:260:56:32

And even away from the beachfront bars and tourist attractions,

0:56:400:56:44

the irrepressible sound of The Girl From Ipanema can still be heard.

0:56:440:56:48

# Tall and tan and young and lovely

0:56:480:56:51

# The girl from Ipanema goes walking and

0:56:510:56:55

# When she passes each guy she passes goes

0:56:550:56:59

# "Ah..."

0:56:590:57:03

I've been here in Rio for a week and I've seen for myself the magic

0:57:030:57:07

that inspired bossa nova.

0:57:070:57:10

Of course, we can't compare today with the golden age

0:57:100:57:13

of the late 1950s and early '60s

0:57:130:57:15

when life here in Rio was good and the whole world fell in love

0:57:150:57:19

with that idyllic image of Brazil

0:57:190:57:21

as painted by the song The Girl From Ipanema.

0:57:210:57:25

# But each day when she walks to the sea

0:57:250:57:28

# She looks straight ahead not at me... #

0:57:280:57:33

You know what? That's OK because that idyllic image still exists.

0:57:330:57:36

You can go down to the beach any day of the week and see your very own

0:57:360:57:39

girl from Ipanema making her way to the white sand

0:57:390:57:42

and the clear blue sea.

0:57:420:57:44

And the music lives on,

0:57:460:57:48

in places like this, high up in the hills above the beach,

0:57:480:57:51

and it lives on in the hearts of the people here

0:57:510:57:55

because bossa nova is the soundtrack to that ideal version of Brazil.

0:57:550:58:00

SINGING IN OWN LANGUAGE

0:58:000:58:03

Documentary in which Katie Derham travels to Rio de Janeiro (where her father was born) to explore the story behind Brazil's most famous and enduring song. Written in 1962 by Antonio Carlos Jobim with lyrics by Vinicius de Moraes, with a later English translation by Norman Gimbel, The Girl from Ipanema defines the moment Brazil charmed the world stage with a laidback song about a haunting woman.

It's a vibrant musical journey to the stunning beaches, majestic mountains and buzzy clubs of Rio, where Katie meets key musicians and architects of bossa nova (including Carlos Lyra, Roberto Menescal, Joyce, Daniel Jobim and Marcos Valle), witnesses intimate musical performances, and uncovers the genesis and story behind Brazil's most successful musical export.

The Girl from Ipanema is quintessential bossa nova and tracing its roots reveals the fascinating story of this unique musical style. Invented by a gang of young bohemians in Rio in the late 1950s, bossa grew into a 1960s phenomenon, especially in the US where it became a youth craze and later a significant part of the modern jazz repertoire. The Girl from Ipanema as sung by Astrud Gilberto with sax from Stan Getz went top 5 in the US and became a major international hit in 1964.

Nothing sums up Rio as well as the simple and seductive lyrics to The Girl From Ipanema and, as the eyes of the world look to Rio once more this summer, what better way to get to understand the city, its people and its mid-60s zeitgeist than through its most famous song?


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