Bossa Nova (Brazil)

One of the most popular permutations of samba is Bossa Nova (“new way”), which became popular in the 1950s when samba met jazz in the wealthier neighborhoods near the beaches of Rio. Bossa nova departs from the straightforward “1-2” samba beat to add syncopation and sparse, often romantic melodies. In class this week we’re going to listen to, and then over the course of the session we’re going to sing, “Agua de Beber” as performed by Astrud Gilberto, “The Queen of Bossa Nova.” Gilberto became an international sensation when she recorded the English-language vocals to a song that was a collaboration between her then-husband, “Father of Bossa Nova” João Gilberto, composer Antonio Carlos Jobim and American jazz master Stan Getz: “The Girl from Ipanema.” The song became a global hit when it was released in 1964, and the worldwide media clamored to get to know the singer behind such the sweet yet sensual voice that embodied the new sound of Latin America. Gilberto followed “The Girl From Ipanema” with several albums that proved she was a vocalist and songwriter of great depth. In 1992 she received the “Latin Jazz USA Award for Lifetime Achievement” and in 2002 entered the International Latin Music Hall of Fame.

More information about Astrud Gilberto:
Gilberto’s biography from her website | Gilberto’s own version of how her career began: dispelling the myth of her “discovery” | Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz — “The Girl From Ipanema” live in 1964 | Performing “Meditation” live in 1967


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