The posthumous album by Amy Winehouse, the Brit enfant terrible/singer recently deceased, was released today. It includes her version for the Bossa Nova classic “Garota de Ipanema”, performed in Miami in 2002, when she was 18.
What is your opinion about this version?
Don’t get me wrong – deep inside I love Tom Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes’s song. What’s not to love? The authors were absolutely brilliant and memorable characters. The song is warm, sexy yet discreet. Delicious.
But the fact that one in two foreigners asks me if I am “the” garota de Ipanema or sings it to me to show he/she belongs to the inner circle of Brazilian culture is a little tiring. I bet I am not the only expatriate Brazilian afflicted by Garota-de-Ipanematis.
The song has been used to sell everything you can name, from plastic sandals to fried snacks.It is muzak, played inside an elevator, in a scene of the “Blues Brothers” movie. It has a guest appearance at Brangelina’s “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” feature and Paul Newman/Tom Cruise’s “The Color of Money”. It is in a Monty Python’s sketch and in one of “The Simpsons” episodes. It inspired the New Wave rock band B-52, becoming “Girl from Ipanema goes to Greenland” and mega-stage composer Stephen Sondheim in his “The Boy from…”
So, allow me some personal exorcism. Here goes a selection of peculiar versions of the song I hate to love. The first one is a chiropercussion performance (the body is used to produce the rhythm). The second is a hilarious 1964 Astrud Gilberto performance, with snow, pinetrees and high hairdos. And, finally, Old Blue Eyes Sinatra smokes and sings with an adorable Jobim.
If you’ve had your share of Bossa Nova, if you feel that you already know all the Tropicália big shots well, if you’re tired of samba, if you already listened all that matter from Clube da Esquina, or if funk ball is not your cup of tea, but you still want Brazilian sounds to rock your life, here are some picks of great musicians who deserve your attention. Not famous outside of Brazil, from different genres and generations, these guys made my life happier many a time. Enjoy.
Secos e Molhados – They are a band from the 1970s, a mix of glam rock and prog, inevitably and proudly gay, in a time that being all those things could land you in jail or worse, dead in the hands of the extreme right vigilantes. The band leader and singer, Ney Matogrosso, went to become a big star in a solo career, with a huge following of middle aged women. One of those Brazilian mysteries that is hard to explain: how a flaming gay singer becomes a hero in a openly homophobic environment? Now he makes (well) more traditional Brazilian music, and still has that incredible voice. Recommended album: “Secos e Molhados” (1973).
Continue reading 10 extraordinary Brazilian musicians you should listen to