Bossa Nova

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The bossa nova ( Portuguese for new wave ) is a style in Brazilian music and a dance style.

Music genre

"Bossa Nova" is originally the name of a movement that originated in Brazil in the late 1950s and had its peak there until the late 1960s. Beco das Garrafas on Copacabana is considered the place of birth . In a very modern social climate, the educated middle class experimented with new forms and expressions in music and film.

The first bossa nova song is Chega de Saudade , written by Antônio Carlos Jobim (music) and Vinícius de Moraes (lyrics) and made famous in the interpretation of João Gilberto (single 1958 and then album of the same name). Gilberto and Jobim attracted more and more attention with their new mix of Samba (or the slower Samba Canção ) and Cool Jazz . The arrangements were based on an often whispered style of singing accompanied by a virtuoso guitar. Her style of music and the way she played were quickly adapted by other mostly young musicians.

The music achieved its worldwide breakthrough with the film adaptation Orfeu Negro by Marcel Camus (made 1958 to 1959). The Orpheus legend takes place there against the backdrop of the Brazilian Carnival. In the soundtrack, a mixture of fast samba rhythms contrasts with sparingly arranged guitar pieces by Luiz Bonfá and Antônio Carlos Jobim .

As a result, several North American musicians visited Brazil and made the music better known, such as Charlie Byrd and Stan Getz (1963 with Getz / Gilberto ). The producer Creed Taylor and the record label Verve had another, not insignificant contribution to the success of Bossa Nova in the USA . Despite the language barrier, Portuguese-language pieces such as A Garota de Ipanema or Mas que nada became a hit in the USA.

The military coup in 1964 completely changed the political and social climate in Brazil: the music changed, since under the censorship criticism could only be expressed in ambiguous texts, an example of which is Chico Buarque with his album Construção .

Many artists left Brazil, the majority of the exiles emigrated to the USA . Since then the bossa nova, the local jazz and the so-called black music influenced each other even more. Countless new productions with leading musicians were created. This type of game is often referred to as Bossa Nova Jazz .

Further examples are Sérgio Mendes together with musicians from the A&M label as well as recordings by Ella Fitzgerald (Ella Abraça Jobim) and Frank Sinatra (Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim) .

This finally began the spread of this music style around the world, which continues to this day.

Alphabetical list of bossa nova musicians

Other artists in the area of ​​Bossa Nova

Further developments

The bossa nova has great influence worldwide. In Brazilian music he influenced brief currents such as Tropicália / Tropicalismo (from 1964, military coup) and the Canção de Protesto .

The instrumental music of a similar style is mostly called samba jazz.

From the mid-1990s, the music was rediscovered and interpreted in the form of remixes and cover versions. As Brasilectro a style of music to be rearranged in the samples from the original pieces called. The sound is clearly “trimmed old”, the music can be very slow and relaxing as well as fast and easy to dance to.

Some examples (arbitrary selection): Bebel Gilberto , Thievery Corporation .

The instrumental piece "Soul Bossa Nova" by Quincy Jones is very well known; it is often used as background music ( music bed ) on television , mostly for funny posts, such as “bankruptcies, bad luck and breakdowns” or recorded with a hidden camera.

The British rock musician Eric Clapton wrote the instrumental Reptile in the style for his eponymous studio album in 2001. At the presentation of the 44th Grammy Awards , the Briton received the award in the category “Best Instrumental Performance - Pop”.

Dance style

The dance style Bossa Nova originated around 1960 and is said to come from Joe Lanza . It only enjoyed some popularity as a fashion dance until the mid-1960s.

It consists of a very long basic step of 32 quarter bars. About ten different simple step sequences are known, most of which are carried out in a square (box step) . It can be danced individually or as a couple.

This includes a soft gait that allows sideways movements and hip swings. Possible solo figures are with one arm on the stomach, while the other arm performs circular movements at hip height, as well as snapping fingers with one free hand. Due to the similarities to the American rumba or the slow two-step, there is also the possibility of dancing these with variants typical of Bossa Nova.


Web links

Commons : Bossa Nova  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Since the term is feminine in Portuguese , one often reads the bossa nova in German . See article Guilt was only the bossa nova on Welt Online , July 29th, 2008 or article The birth of bossa nova by Deutschlandradio Kultur of December 28th, 2008. The Duden gives female or male grammatical gender.
  2. A Bossa Nova e Beco das Garrafas em Copacabana . Blog Rio de Janeiro Aqui (Portuguese)