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I was thinking the other day- what does Bossa Nova actually mean to people these days? What image does it conjure up in their minds? We already know that Mattinho dismisses it as cruise ship music- and I found out from a quick survey of people around the neighbourhood of Kartoshka Towers that most people think it’s something to do with ballroom dancing, or Latin music played on a combo organ.
I’ve put together this compilation as a quick sampler for those who might not have had the opportunity to listen to Bossa Nova and who might as a consequence dismiss it as kitsch, easy listening, lounge or elevator music.
Most of the songs here are well known and may be available elsewhere on this blog.
It’s not an exhaustive or definitive compilation, just 40 minutes of good listening featuring some of the main figures in the Bossa Nova genre.

I hope that aficionados will indulge me over the choice of records and also over this necessarily brief potted history:
Bossa Nova evolved in Brazil in the latter part of the 1950’s, and Bim-Bom (1956) by João Gilberto is considered to be the first Bossa Nova song. Gilberto- along with Jobim , Luiz Bonfa and the poet lyricist Vinícius de Moraes created many standards of the genre.
Being more complex and less percussive than the Samba from which it derives- Bossa Nova also had a more refined and upmarket image.
In Brazil itself Bossa Nova was made popular by Elizete Cardoso’s interpretation of Chega de Saudade by Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes on her LP Canção do Amor Demais. Joao Gilberto also scored a hit with this number. The 1959 film Orfeu Negro brought the style wider exposure, and American Jazz musicians began collaborating with Brazilian artistes , creating a Bossa Nova boom in the States.
This in turn led to Brazilian artists migrating to the USA, where Bossa Nova was crucial in the development of the cool jazz style.
Brazilian composers (most notably Jobim) continued to produce lushly orchestrated works awash with strings whilst still employing the rhythmic staples and intimate understated styles of Bossa Nova.
This is not a perfect synopsis and not all key figures are mentioned- but it’s a place to start if you are not familiar with the story of this seductive and engaging musical style.
Further information here:

Heres the Link:

Bim Bom– Joao Gilberto
Chega De Saudade– Elizete Cardoso
Manha De Carnaval– Luiz Bonfa /Maria Toledo
Samba De Orfeu– Maria Toledo
The Girl From Ipanema– Joao Gilberto/ Stan Getz/ Astrud Gilberto
Samba De Uma Nota So– Sylvia Teles
Agua De Beber– Antonio Carlos Jobim
Wave– Antonio Carlos Jobim
Mas Que Nada– Sergio Mendes
Aguas De Marco– Elis Regina/ Antonio Carlos Jobim
Coracao Vagabundo– Gal Costa /Caetano Veloso
Carta o Tom– Vinicius e Toquinho


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