Tunes packed with a certain emotion, and themes linked to broken hearts and bar tables, portrayed as light and relaxed subjects, are the most common element in the songs of the Bossa Nova movement.
This is just one of the reasons why this is probably the Brazilian musical rhythm to be most respected internationally. “Girl from Ipanema”, for example, is a song that is famous in the four corners of the world and which has been sung by famous names such as Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald.
The Bossa Nova was created by João Gilberto
The Bossa Nova movement was created by João Gilberto, a Bahian singer and composer well known for his eccentricity and his incredible talent. After many years of study and dedication, he created a singing style which was softer than usual, using breathing techniques taken from yoga, without any vibration, which led to the style of ‘singing low’ or even ‘spoken singing’, and a constant beat without an emphasis on percussion: the right hand played the chords, producing harmony and rhythm at the same time.
This beat soon attracted the interest of producer and songwriter Roberto Menescal, and also the composer and producer Roberto Bôscoli, until it was discovered by Tom Jobim. Mr Jobim soon recognized the value of this new development and then showed João Gilberto the tune and the lyrics of “Chega de Saudade” (No More Blues), created by Mr Jobim himself and by Vinícius de Moraes. This and other songs were recorded by Elizeth Cardoso on her LP ‘Canção do Amor Demais’ (Song of Too Much Love), and from there the musical rhythm gained national fame and recognition.
The Bossa Nova was the rhythm of Young students
The term ‘Bossa Nova’ was naturally used as a way of identifying an innovative idea, and was preferred by young students in the 1960s. The beat of the new rhythm was widely publicised during samba sessions of the days, this being a reference to the fact that the bossa nova mixes elements of samba and jazz.
The partnership between Tom Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes led to the appearance of several songs which became real icons, including “Eu sei que vou te amar” (It’s you I’ll always love), “ Águas de Março” (Waters of March), “Desafinado” (Slightly Out of Tune) and “Samba de uma nota só” (One Note Samba).
In the second half of the 1960s, the bossa nova movement started to be influenced by political and ideological issues that demanded the exclusion of the influence of American jazz. This movement had the participation of names such as Marcos Valle, Dori Caymmi, Edu Lobo, Francis Hime, Carlos Lyra and Nara Leão.
Even though the bossa nova movement did not survive the end of the 1960s, its musical quality went round the world, and also has never been forgotten within Brazil.