10 September 2013

Life and Bossa Nova

Greetings from a cold, chilly evening.

I apologize for not posting -- I have had some spare time on my hands but I haven't thought of anything worth riding writing (where'd that come from?). So I will simply bore you with details of my evening.

I have discovered a new music craze. (By the way, I'll work on the answers to those questions I posed to you, readers...)You'll remember that this summer was largely devoted to me discovering and appreciating rock and roll from the '50s -- Chubby Checker, Elvis, Little Richard, The Killer, etc, and that was fun. But I've changed my music habits. Bossa nova -- it's the new thing. :)

I made a pun up there. Unless you know what bossa nova means or you're Portuguese or both -- you didn't get it. Bossa nova literally means "new thing" or "new trend". You just learned your Portuguese phrase of the day! I recommend it to anyone who knows or has mastered Spanish. I'm learning Portuguese independently at the moment -- supplemented by listening to bossa nova. It's wonderful.

So what is this bossa nova, exactly? Bossa nova was a style of music that came in during the 1950s and early 1960s. It blends jazz with samba. So you'll hear trumpets with conga drums, and all that jazz. (Literally and figuratively).

Today bossa nova's pretty much a standard, for up-and-coming jazz musicians to play, but don't mistake bossa nova of being solely jazz. It's a separate music genre all its own, with wonderful influences and beats. Why can't we have more music like this today?

And yes, it is largely sung in Portuguese, specifically Brazilian Portuguese. Don't let that deter you. Listening to music in foreign languages helps you learn better. It's a good mental workout for your brain, even if you're not trying to find out the meaning. And whatever you do, don't Google Translate! It ruins the enchantment.

Some favorites: "Águas de Março" (Waters of March/March rains) by Carlos Jobim. "Manhã de Carnaval" (Morning of Carnaval) by Luiz Bonfa. "Chega de Saudade" by Joao Gilberto and "Lalo's Bossa Nova" by Lalo Schifrin. The cheerful "Alvorada" by Cartola (which has lots of samba influences). And, of course, no list is complete with "Garota de Ipanema", better known as "The Girl from Ipanema" (splendidly vocalized by Astrud Gilberto, but Frank Sinatra's version shouldn't be overlooked.)

So, there, a quick update. Consider this Tuesday's Triviality. Some info on a very interesting music genre that I recommend anyone looking for a jazzy yet calming, samba like atmosphere type music to listen to. Or just if you want to unwind.


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