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Monday, 6 June 2011

Happy Birthday João Gilberto

Shh..Blame it on the Bossa Nova

If there were ever a truly special reason to learn Portuguese, then this man could easily be it. In the early sixties, he helped to establish Bossa Nova as a new Brazilian national music. To me it seems to capture all that is relaxed and beautiful about this place, despite being juxtaposed with noise and bustle and even danger.. Its still cool to sit on your front doorstep and croon one beautiful lyric or other. Its transcends the age gaps too. Teenagers and pensioners alike are hypnotised again and again. I fail to see how anyone can fail to find these melodies anything less than the height of romance.

Erm... Before I go completely soft, I should also add that Mr Gilberto has also proved to be hilariously intolerant and quirky throughout his life, which in my book confirms his legendary status. He has been known for walking off stage because members of his adoring public were talking. Once he even entertained a sweltering crowd because he insisted that the noise from the air conditioners would ruin his performance. Legend.

And my favourite story of all was about a recording session with Stan Getz and Tom Jobim. Joao was less than happy with Getz (who didn´t understand Portuguese) and told Tom Jobim - "Tom, diga a ese gringo que ele é muito burro.' - Oi Tom - Tell this gringo that he really is a donkey!

Tom smiled and told Stan he was doing fine.

I know that these stories get distorted with the passage of time, but there are so many about this wonderful bloke, that there simply has to be some truth in them,

Anyhow, happy birthday for yesterday João. You are one on your own. (and I dream of the day when the audience sing along with me like they do with you. Simply lovely.)

Try one of these....

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