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bossa nova & tropicalia

The complex, melodic lilt of the 1950's invention known as bossa nova is the trademark sound of the classically- trained Brazilian songwriter / composer Antonio Carlos Jobim.
Jobim took the percussive syncopated rhythms of the Portuguese / African hybrid known as samba and fused them with contemporary jazz to form a unique laid-back sound, exemplifed by his most famous song "Garota De Ipanema", better known as "Girl From Ipanema", which Astrud Gilberto popularised in 1964, singing the words of Norman Gimbel.
Astrud's husband Joao Gilberto is usually cited as the co-inventor of bossa nova, in that it was he who managed to simplify the complex rhythms of samba so that it could be played on a solo guitar. He was also the first to record Jobim's songs in the late 1950's, thereby effectively launching the bossa nova phenomenon.
Although the bossa nova craze ran out of steam in the late 1960's it became one of the strands - the others being rock & roll and folk music - in the formation of what came to be known as tropicalia, a movement spearheaded by Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso, the latter often being referred to as the "Bob Dylan of Brazil" due to the hard-hitting left wing politics evident in his songwriting.
Tropicalia, now included within the wider category of Musica Popular Brasiliera, was often far more political in it's subject matter than bossa nova, placing more emphasis on lyrics than melody, as shown in Chico Buarque's 1965 song "Pedro Pedreiro" and Veloso's "Supercabana".
Later musicians known to have been influenced by these styles include Talking Heads frontman David Byrne, Nelly Furtado and Beck.

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Prominent songwriters

Antonio Carlos Jobim
Carlos Lyra
Gilberto Gil
Caetano Veloso
Chico Buarque


audio : Brazil

books : about Bossa Nova
about Tropicalia


audio : Brazilian

books : about Bossa Nova
about Tropicalia