|Rio de Janeiro (HDR) by Modern Day Nomad|
For music lovers, bossa nova is among the finer things in life, a poem set to the sound of that favorite of Brazilian exports. Below are my 11 favorite bossas from past and present, a collection that will take you from the creations of João Gilberto in 1957 to the compositions of his daughter Bebel half a century later. Turn up your volume and dim the lights...
11 Ela é Carioca
|João Gilberto, the man who started it all. By emmanuelsolera|
Ela é Carioca
|António Carlos Jobim, by Branca Dias|
9 Meu Esquema
The first time I heard Meu Esquema was right before my freshman year of college. I immediately loved it and its impact on me was tremendous, as it had a big influence in the music I hear today. The song is written and composed by Mundo Livre S/A, a popular Pernambucan manguebit band that isn’t even known for its bossa nova. Meu Esquema is one of their only forays into the genre, and what a foray it is.
8 Day by Day
I still remember the first time I heard this song, and it’s stayed with me ever since. I wrote about it here several months ago and still feel very much the same way about it. If anything the song has continued to grow on me. Written and sung by Luca Mundaca, a recent newcomer to Brazil’s music scene, the song is of the same quality as the bossa nova classics and is one of the finest examples of contemporary bossa nova.
Day by Day
Composed by Tom Jobim and written by Newton Mendonça, the popular tune Desafinado, meaning ‘slighly out of tune’, is the epitomy of a true bossa nova: its allure lies in its melodic simplicity and equally simple lyrics. Sometimes poetry doesn’t have to be overly complicated in order to be truly meaningful. The version of Desafinado featured here is sung by Elis Regina.
6 Samba da Benção
|Bebel Gilberto at Festival de la Tierra (Buenos Aires) by rockmetommyboy|
Samba da Benção
|Cristo Redentor, by Rodrigo Soldon|
4 Chega de Saudade
|Vinicius de Moraes and Tom Jobim, by Branca Dias|
Chega de Saudade
I think of Jussara as the best bossa nova song made after the genre’s heyday in the 1950s and 60s, and one of the only ones on this list that does not feature Tom Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes, Elis Regina or João Gilberto. Jussara has all the trappings of a quality bossa nova: a simply sublime lead singer in Lilian Vieira, an instantly catchy samba lilt and the ubiquitous violão (guitar), but this one even features a couple of electronica elements that make it a 21st century bossa. Aside from being my favorite Zuco 103 song, it’s also one of my absolute favorite bossa ballads.
2 The Girl From Ipanema
|Stan Getz, Milton Banana, Tom Jobim, Creed Taylor. João Gilberto, and Astrud Gilberto, by Branca Dias|
The Girl From Ipanema
1 Águas de Março
|Elis Regina, by Arquivo Cinema|
Águas de Março
Versão em Português em breve!