“You walk off the plane in Rio, and your blood temperature goes up. The feel of the wind on your face, the water on your skin, the taste of the food, the music, the sexuality.”
Every Friday night we smooth our way into the weekend with music, the universal language. These selections demonstrate that despite what is being passed off as art today, there is plenty of really good music available. Come along and enjoy.
The Olympic Games are already underway. That goes for the Opening ceremony, too, in Rio.
That’s our theme this week. Music from Rio.
We begin with the title song from a film way back in 1933. My goodness. That’s 83 years ago.
This clip from the film features the beyond marvelous Fred Astaire.
Now the special effects are extremely primitive compared to today. However, the routines by the dancers are fun to watch, all supposedly performed on the wings of airplanes.
Let’s begin our musical extravaganza because as I mentioned the festivities have started, we’ve got to get to Rio and we’ve gotta make time!
Barra Olympic Park will be the heart of the Games with nine venues hosting 16 Olympic and nine Paralympic sports. Photo:
A contemporary remake, though more polished, would never be the same because it wouldn’t have Fred Astaire.
When you talk about music and you talk about Rio, you’re talking about bossa nova. The man who invented, who pioneered bossa nova is the late Antonio Carlos Jobim.
One of his classic compositions, and he had many, essentially translated into “off key” or “slightly out of tune.” The lyrics:
Love is like a never ending melody,
Poets have compared it to a symphony,
A symphony conducted by the lighting of the moon,
But our song of love is slightly out of tune . . . .Once your kisses raised me to a fever pitch,
Now the orchestration doesn’t seem so rich,
Seems to me you’ve changed the tune we used to sing,
Like the bossa nova love should swing . . . .We used to harmonize two souls in perfect time,
Now the song is different and the words don’t even rhyme,
‘Cause you forgot the melody our hearts would always croon,
What good’s a heart that’s slightly out of tune?
Yet when he put down the alto to play the tenor sax, it sounded so much nicer, so much better.
Enjoy Kenny G’s tenor sax coupled with great pictures of Rio.
Work continues on the Olympic Beach Volleyball Arena on Rio’s world-famous Copacabana beach. Around 85,000 soldiers and policemen will be deployed at the Olympics — the largest security force assembled at any event in Brazil’s history and twice as large as the security presence for London 2012. Photo:
Now, don’t run away, but it’s disco time. This is really, really good stuff even if you’re not a disco fan. One of the highest complements you could give to disco is that it took old standards, old classic songs and pieces of music, jazzed them up and made them appealing to young audiences, thus exposing a new generation to quality work and keeping it alive.
Nothing too old was off limits. Walter Murphy had kids dancing to Beethoven’s 5th.
The big band era was a favorite of the disco groups. Tuxedo Junction was the name of tune made immensely popular by Glenn Miller. It was also the name of a female singing group that scored in the mid-1970’s with a theme of the 1930’s and 1940’s.
Let’s listen to this selection that was part of a medley on one of their albums as Tuxedo Junction asks a very legitimate and for this blog appropriate musical question…
From the 1946 movie…
Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon is the site of the Olympic rowing venue for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Around 10,500 athletes from 206 countries will take part in 17 days of the Olympiad, competing across 306 events.
Let’s keep the Jobim hits comin’!
This one is by Eumir Deodato, best known for his instrumental smash in the early 1970’s of 2001: Also Sprach Zarathustra.
The Olympic Tennis Center features 16 courts. Serena Williams is the reigning Olympic women’s singles and doubles gold medalist. Team USA took 556 athletes to the London 2012 Olympics, second only to the hosts, and is again expected to bring more athletes than all the other visiting nations in Rio. Photo:
Before our close, some background from the Wall Street Journal:
Like a handful of other international crossover hits (“Day-O” from Jamaica, “Down Under” from Australia), “The Girl From Ipanema” pretty much put an entire country’s music and ethos on the map. In this case, the land was Brazil, the genre was bossa nova, and the atmosphere was uniquely exotic and elusive—a seductive tropical cocktail “just like a samba that swings so cool and sways so gently,” as the lyrics go.
At the time, bossa nova wasn’t exactly unknown in the U.S., as shown by the Grammy-winning success of “Desafinado” from the 1962 album “Jazz Samba” by Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd. But “The Girl From Ipanema” (“Garota de Ipanema” in the original Portuguese) was something else altogether. Not only was it one of the last great gasps of pre-Beatles easy listening, it was an entire culture in miniature.
“To the layperson, ‘The Girl From Ipanema’ sounds like ‘a nice song,’ ” says the Brazilian-American guitarist and musical director Manny Moreira.”But to the trained ear it is perfection.”
Clearly, this is art for the ages. But why?
One reason is the girl of the title. The embodiment of sultry pulchritude, she is also utterly unobtainable: “But each day when she walks to the sea/She looks straight ahead, not at me.”
“It’s the oldest story in the world,” says Norman Gimbel, who wrote the English lyrics. “The beautiful girl goes by, and men pop out of manholes and fall out of trees and are whistling and going nuts, and she just keeps going by. That’s universal.”
So reasoned composer Antônio Carlos Jobim and poet Vinícius de Moraes five decades ago. Stalled on a number for a musical called “Blimp,” they sought inspiration at the Veloso, a seaside cafe in the Ipanema neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro. There they remembered a local teenager, the 5-foot-8-inch, dark-haired, green-eyed Heloísa Eneida Menezes Paes Pinto, whom they often saw walking to the beach or entering the bar to buy cigarettes for her mother. And so they penned a paean to a vision.
This piece has been recorded more times than any other with the exception of “Yesterday” by the Beatles. Any number of them could have been chosen for our close but we picked this one.
Have a great weekend.
Enjoy the Games! And go USA!
Helo Pinheiro, the inspiration for “The Girl From Ipanema.”