Bossa Nova Week
Synonymous with our culture, the movement took off at the end of the 1950s through the influence of North American jazz and, especially, Rio de Janeiro samba, led by a new generation of young Brazilian musicians – mainly from Rio de Janeiro and Bahia. READ MORE
A striking date for Brazilian music, January 25th is National Bossa Day, a day to remember and celebrate the birth of maestro Antônio Carlos Jobim, the iconic Tom. Synonymous with our culture, the movement took off at the end of the 1950s through the influence of North American jazz and, especially, Rio de Janeiro samba, led by a new generation of young Brazilian musicians – mainly from Rio de Janeiro and Bahia.
The term “Bossa” was used for the first time in a song written by sambista Noel Rosa, called Coisas Nossas (Our Things), in the 1930s. Noel sings: “Samba, readiness and other bossas, are our things”. Despite its massive presence and rapid dissemination through Rio de Janeiro’s middle and high classes, with quintessential exponents such as Vinícius de Moraes and Tom Jobim at its forefront, Bossa Nova was also built throughout the country, fed by the rich and vast collaboration of figures such as João Gilberto, the genius baiano of “a single note”.
Considered the “father” of the peculiar musical cadence that so expresses the essence of bossa nova – the minimal acoustic guitar and vocals, the slow tempo, the unique rhythm and sophistication – Gilberto was born in Juazeiro, in the semi-arid Sertão region of Bahia. Alaíde Costa, for example, seen in the photo with João Gilberto, was a prolific and fundamental figure within the movement. Born in Méier, a neighborhood in the suburb of Rio de Janeiro, Alaíde is one of the female figures who, historically, was relegated to an unfair – and since corrected, by the way! – erasure by the hegemonic historical narratives, as was the case with many other figures who did not belong to the movement’s socially and financially privileged hub.
João Gilberto met Alaíde during a recording in the classic Odeon studio, when her voice grabbed his attention, and he asked her to be invited to a meeting of young musicians within the movement which was being formed, recognizing in Alaíde’s style and singing the maximum sophistication, typical of Bossa Nova, which was then coming to life.