Bossa Nova was basically an urban movement that originated in the 1950s at university parties, among middle class musicians in Rio de Janeiro. It started out as a variation on samba, but soon began to incorporate elements from jazz and musical impressionism. It had an intimate and casual feel, performed mainly by a solo voice, accompanied by piano or guitar. Successful bossa nova artists include Nara Leão, Carlos Lyra, Roberto Menescal, João Gilberto, Tom Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes.
This movement grew out of informal gatherings of musicians who liked to listen and play music. Slowly a new rhythm began to emerge, a new Brazilian music style characterized by a light and casual interpretation, a gentle almost conversational singing, soft voice, clearly enunciated lyrics, harmonious rhythm and melody, every day themes, distinct pauses and silence.
It was the first musical movement to grow out of a university environment and it slowly spread to the bars of Copacabana.
One of the bossa nova milestones was the release of the album Canção do Amor Demais, recorded by Elizabeth Cardoso, with music and lyrics by Vinicius de Morais and Tom Jobim.
In 1959, João Gilberto released the album Chega de Saudade. So far, the title song has been recorded more than 100 times by Brazilian and foreign artists.
By now, Bossa Nova had already established itself as a legitimate music style. In addition to João Gilberto, Tom Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes created many classic bossa nova tunes. The famous song Girl from Ipanema became the best known Brazilian song in the world, after Aquarela do Brasil, by Ary Barroso. There are 169 versions of this song, including recordings by Sarah Vaughan, Stan Getz and Frank Sinatra.
Over time, Bossa Nova remained popular, not only among the Brazilian elite, but among all social classes and even in different countries. A historic concert in Carnegie Hall, New York, in 1962, with performances by Tom Jobim, João Gilberto, Carlos Lyra, Sérgio Mendes, Roberto Menescal and many other Brazilians brought worldwide recognition to this music style.
Watch some videos of successful Bossa Nova tunes:
Garota de Ipanema – Tom Jobim e Frank Sinatra
Chega de Saudade – João Gilberto e Tom Jobim
Desafinado – Tom Jobim e Newton Mendonça
A Felicidade – Vinícius de Moraes , Tom Jobim, Toquinho e Miúcha
Tarde em Itapuã – Vinícius de Moraes e Toquinho