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Joao Gilberto

When talking about bossa nova, perhaps the signature pop music sound of Brazil, frequently the first name to come to one's lips is that of Antonio Carlos Jobim. With songs like "The Girl From Ipanema" and "Desafindo," Jobim pretty much set the standard for the creation of the bossa nova in the mid-'50s. However, as is often the case, others come along and take the genre in a new direction, reinventing through radical reinterpretation, be it lyrically, rhythmically, or in live performance, making the music theirs. And if Jobim gets credit for laying the foundation of bossa nova, then the genre was brilliantly reimagined (and, arguably, defined) by the singer/songwriter and guitarist João Gilberto. In his native country he is called O Mito (The Legend), a deserving nickname, for since he began recording in late '50s Gilberto, with his signature soft, near-whispering croon, set a standard few have equaled.

Born in 1931 in Juazeiro in the northeastern state of Brazil known as Bahia, Gilberto seemed obsessed with music almost from the moment he emerged from the womb. His grandfather bought him his first guitar at age 14 (much to the dismay of João's father). Within a year, the result of near constant practicing, he was the leader of a band made up of school friends. During this time Gilberto was absorbing the rhythmic subtlety of the Brazilian pop songs of the day, while also taking in the rich sounds of swing jazz (Duke Ellington and Tommy Dorsey), as well as the light opera singing of Jeanette MacDonald. At 18, Gilberto gave up on his small town life and headed to Bahia's largest city, Salvador, to get a foothold in the music industry performing on live radio shows. Although he was given the opportunity to sing, instant stardom was not in the offing, but his brief appearances on the radio brought him to the attention of Antonio Maria, who wanted Gilberto to become the lead singer for the popular radio band Garotos da Lua (Boys From the Moon) and move to Rio de Janeiro.

Gilberto stayed in the band only a year. He was fired after the rest of the group could take no more of his lackadaisical attitude. Gilberto was frequently late for rehearsals and performances, and in a move reminiscent of American pop star Sly Stone, would occasionally not show up at all. After his dismissal from the group Gilberto lived a seminomadic life. For years he had no fixed address, drifting from friend to friend and acquaintance to acquaintance, living off their kindness and rarely if ever contributing to the household expenses. Evidently Gilberto was such charming company that his emotional carelessness and fiscal apathy were never an issue -- that or he had extremely patient and generous friends. It was during this underachieving bohemian period that Gilberto kept an extremely low profile. Instead of using his time with Garotos da Luna as a springboard for other recording and performing possibilities, he became apathetic, constantly smoking large quantities of marijuana, playing the odd club gig, and refusing work he considered beneath him (this included gigs at clubs where people talked during the performance). Although gifted with considerable talent as a singer and guitar player, it seemed as though Gilberto would fail to attain the success and notoriety he deserved if only due to apathy that verged on lethargy.

After nearly a decade of aimlessness Gilberto joined forces with singer Luis Telles, who encouraged Gilberto to leave Rio for a semibucolic life in the city of Pôrto Alegre. Telles, who functioned as a combination public relations guru and sugar daddy, made sure the demanding Gilberto wanted for nothing and would concentrate on his music. It turned out to be a successful, if expensive strategy. Within a few months Gilberto (who at this point had given up his prodigious marijuana consumption and was now partaking in nothing stronger than fruit juice) was the toast of Pôrto Alegre, the musician everyone wanted to see. It was also during this extended apprenticeship that Gilberto perfected his unique vocal style and guitar playing. So breathy and nasally it is almost defies description, in many ways he uses all the things one is taught not to do as a singer and has made them into an instantly recognizable style. Not even established crooners such as Bing Crosby and Perry Como sang more quietly or with less vibrato. This, along with his rhythmically idiosyncratic approach to playing the guitar -- an intensely syncopated plucking of the strings that flowed with his singing -- made for some exhilarating music, and by the time of his first record, Chega de Saudade (1959), Gilberto became widely known as the man who made bossa nova what it is.

True to form, however, Gilberto took the road less traveled, and after the success of his debut record and the two follow-up releases, he left Brazil to settle in the United States, where he lived until 1980. During this period he recorded some amazing records, working with saxophonist Stan Getz and recording music by older Brazilian songwriters such as Dorival Caymmi and Ary Barroso. He returned to Brazil in the early '80s and since then has worked with virtually every big name in Brazilian pop, including Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, Maria Bethania, Gal Costa, and Chico Buarque. He never saw record sales like the aforementioned performers, but all of them regard him as a profound influence on their work. True to his image as enigmatic and eccentric, Gilberto lives a semireclusive lifestyle secure in the knowledge that, decades ago, he changed the course of Brazilian culture by making the bossa nova his music, as well as the music of Brazil. ~ John Dougan, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

brasileiro é foda!! só musicão!!
brasileiro é foda!! só musicão!!
goodmancw75
Hey, mjtirado88, this type of music is found under the bossanova genre.
mjtirado88
Hey there What genre is this?
I tried my whole life to get close to his achievement. You can listen here http://youtu . b e / - y - Y Y J e I N c o
deliriously beautiful...
rodri_sparks
A True real legend of Brazilian music, specifically bossa nova.
Beautiful!
Love lets itself surprise us
While the night surrounds us.



Lyrics for those who wanted to know what Wave meant to say.
I'll tell you, the eyes can't see it anymore
The things that only the heart can understand
What's really fundamental is love, it's impossible to live alone

The rest is the sea, it's all that I can't talk about
They're beautiful things that I don't possess to give you
What's really fundamental is love, it's impossible to live alone

The first time, it was the city
The second, the docks and eternity
Now I know,
From the wave that surged in the sea
And from the stars we forgot to count
Respeito Mais nao Faz meu estilo e sei que a bossa nova praticamente comecou com vc Mais amo bossa nova Mais Seu estilo nao
Brazil...... . . .
Ele coloca tanta emoção bonita em sua música.
Talented
beautiful sounds of Brazil and the ocean
katfox289
I was entranced with this music for over 10years! trying new things with pandora finally i know whos behind this soulful music. thx pandora
I met him in Sao Paulo in a hotel. I used to send him things to his room.
Amazing!!!
A great guitar player, singer, songwriter - I was in love with his music long before I knew who he was and will love it for the rest of my life.
Amazing singer, just amazing. And add to that his flawless guitar...
kelbot5000
This sounds like the music that K.K. Slider plays in animal crossing.
mtvyfan
Why is this album always at a whisper. I always think that Pandora timed me out when this comes on. Please put it at an audible volume.
Ouch! to the bio mix-ups in the jazz section! What up?
I love his music especially The Girl From Ipanema, I want to vist Rio!
So they have Antonio Carlos Jobim's bio under Joao Gilberto's entry and they have Frank Sinatra's bio under Antonio Carlos Jobim!
ghitano1
Unique style, voice that brings you back to the 60s in a wonderful journey. I am not really sure weather he sings, tells or recites all of the songs he sings, but he sure does projects Bosa Nova like nobody else.
boricua-mami 7 8
I Love Joao Gilberto!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
Paul W. Sammarco, President, P&J Records (LLC), Endless Shores Music Publishing (ASCAP)
Joao Gilberto is about as good as it gets when it comes to Bossa Nova and its origin in the early 1960s - and its current state now in 2012. His style is his own - his delivery is impeccable. His timing is unreal. Whether he's playing alone, with a 60 piece orchestra, or with some of the greats, his voice and guitar always stand out - but never obtrusively. The beauty of this music - his music - will never die. It has endured as fresh as a rose for almost 50 yrs - and I expect it to live on
kendy11208
This Song in Particular Makes Me Just Wanna Hop On a Plane and Be In Brazil in a Second Just To Tcha-Tcha With My Fellow Brothers and Sisters.
The recording is so clear I can heard spit popping. Favorited.
the best tunes!!!
Maravilha de musica. Joao Gilberto toca Brasil. Amazing! :D :D
This whole album is music, to...mmm, kiss your sweetie...al l night long !
Instant love, just add Gilberto, mmmmmmmmmm
love-love-lo v e
lou4tunes
a great way to relax at the end of a long day!
mattanddonna
it's like nectar to my ears
the only music i could fall asleep to, and that's a compliment!
Awesome song. It is almost unfair to sing in Portugese because all other languages pale by comparison. French is for accountants and even Italian, a very romantic language, is sexless once you have heard Brazilians sing.
dklebenov
i have some serious concerns about this "biography" mainly because it is not cited at all and uses very casual language. who writes these bios and are they fact-checked at all? it's important, because joao gilberto is a very important musician and the facts of his life should not be tossed around like so many musical notes.
sigh...eu te amo Joao Gilberto
AAAHHHH!!!!
beseme mucho...
He reminds me of my cousin Elena Julian!!!
Tom Jobim is the greatest and everyone in my house loves him.
so laid back!
suiliclic
so romantic!
Love that sound.
I'm in love...
Love that cool, breezy, 5/4 rhythm!
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