Saturday, July 09, 2011

Love at First Listen

It was 21 years ago that I first discovered bossa nova -- okay, bossa nova music other than "The Girl from Ipanema" -- thanks to my exchange brother. Marcio was from Sao Paulo, Brazil. To help him have a little bit of home while he was in the States, his father had made a not-quite-mix-tape for him. One side was all bossa nova (mostly Gilberto/Jobim) and the other was samba. Samba was great, but bossa nova.... ah! I fell in love. (Of course, every time I hear "Ipanema" I can't help but see John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd in my mind's eyes....)

I actually fell in love when he left the tape behind. Somehow the tape ended up in my portable case. I think my parents thought it was mine and when I returned to school, in it went. One night, as I was nursing a hellacious migraine, I needed just some soft music as I attempted to fall asleep. I'm odd in that sound doesn't bother my headache, as long as it's low and not annoying; think "quiet storm" type of music. Light - oh God, the darker the better during a headache. Anyway, I hit play on my huge ol' boombox and out poured beautiful rhythms of the Brazilian coast. Ipanema made its way to Charleston that night and it's been a happy marriage ever since.

I can't describe why I like it. The music has an energy that I can't describe. It is not the frenetic energy of the samba or other Latin rhythms. It is more like a mambo than anything else but still, not quite. There's an easy flow, a soothing sweetness, an undercurrent of sensuality, and something about hearing music sung in Brazilian Portugese.... mm.

For about 15 of the last 21 years, I got my fix from that little tape until..... yes, you know it's coming.... yes, my Ford Escort's tape deck ate it. I mean, had it for lunch with a second helping and extra dessert. I cried. Yes. I did. Big ol' salty tears. I have searched in vain since then for the exact album that Mr. Guilherme lovingly prepared for his son, but to no avail. The closest I have found is Herbie Mann's album with Getz and Gilberto and Jobim, but even that isn't exact. And no luck at all in finding the samba music; I never knew the artist.

So the other day I had stopped in Starbucks -- which is an event that happens along the same cycle as the Ice Age. I'm just not a Starbucks person, at least not on a regular basis. But I had a gift card left over from my birthday, and I'd used it ... maybe 3 times since October? And mostly for the regular coffee and gum. Yeah, big spender. Anyway, I saw it and HAD to have it. I mean, HAD to: a compilation CD, called "In A Bossa Nova Mood." Quicker than a jackrabbit on a first date, I grabbed it, and ended up paying a whopping 16c over what my card had left. Yeah bay-bay!!!!

Had it in my CD player(s) for three days straight now. Wishing I were in Ipanema ........ Completely wonderful!


The Diva said...

I discovered this about a year ago while on a you tube spree as I was born after it was a hit. Didn't know about it and wondered WHY NOBODY TOLD ME!?!?!??!?! Am now bound and determined to learn how to do the Bossa Nova. Maybe one of these will work: or

Daisy said...

How cool that you found it! Fate was working in your favor that day. Music has always had such an influence on my outlook and mood too. I completely understand why you would miss what you had loved and want to have it back again.