I’ve mentioned a few of my favourite Brazilian albums in recent months – music by artists such as Jorge Ben, João Gilberto and Novos Baianos to name a few. There are a lot of other artists still to talk about, but one name is particularly conspicuous by its absence.
Antônio Carlos Jobim
Also known as Tom Jobim, this colossus of Brazilian music is known as the main force behind the creation of Bossa Nova and one of the most talented and successful composers of the 20th century. You can’t mention the man without also mentioning his most famous composition, Garota de Ipanema (The Girl from Ipanema). The original (Portuguese) lyrics are so much nicer than the English version that it’s reason enough to learn Portuguese in itself!
For me, it seems like this subject is almost to big to cover – I don’t know enough about him and besides, you can get a better run-down of this man and his story on Wikipedia.
So instead of trying to cover Jobim’s entire career, I’m going to focus on just a single song.
Samba de Maria Luiza
I’m sure this particular track isn’t considered his most important work by any means, but for the sheer effect it had on me when I first heard it, I wanted to tell you about it. In 1987, Jobim had a daughter with his second wife Ana Beatriz – they named the girl Maria Luiza. In 1994, the year that Jobim died, he released an album, Antônio Brasileiro, which included Samba de Maria Luiza, a song from father to daughter in which he tells her why he loves her so much. And little 7 year old Maria Luiza sings along!
Now then, before we listen to this I should say that I think this is seriously fofo (cute), but I guess if you have a heart of stone (or just very high levels of cynicism) you might find this a bit too sweet. Well, that’s your choice.
Make sure you listen to the end – once the song finishes, little Maria Luiza says “De novo” (meaning she wants to sing it again). The gruff answer from her father is “Não fala que grava!” - Don’t talk, they’re recording!
The lyrics are also very fofo – he describes her eyes as being green like chuchu.
I’ll leave you with a shot of Maria Luiza Jobim as she is today.