The Girl from Ipanema

How I fell in love with her.

By Don Rayment*

One of the very first impressions of Brazil, when I was a child, came from the word “Ipanema”. There was this song that was played on the radio. It was a little different than the music I was used to hearing. It had a rhythm that wasn’t like anything I had heard before. It was a little smoother, there was this interesting drumming that really didn’t seem to follow any pattern. It just kind of floated along in this seamless flowing groove. This was “Garota de Ipanema” or as it became known in North America as “The Girl from Ipanema”.

I had no idea that at the time, around 1970, that what I was listening to was a style of music that would eventually originate from my second home – Brazil. I was born and raised in Canada, became a professional musician and have been lucky enough to travel to many great, interesting places in the world. Brazil is one country, however, that has a very special place in my heart and the music that comes from the land of “Bossa Nova” is unlike any other in the world. It has a genuine feeling and energy that is at the very least infectious and unforgettable.

Back to this song I remember hearing on the radio, “The Girl from Ipanema”. At a time that the airwaves were buzzing with The Rolling Stones, The Doors and the last days of the Beetles, how was this “Bossa Nova” from Brazil able to still find it’s way into our daily routine?. It was “sexy. When you listened to it you had this feeling that you were in another place with a different attitude to life. Somewhere, that was warm and sunny laid back and, at the same time, alive with this distinct rhythm and energy.

The “Girl from Ipanema” was a collaboration between American saxophonist Stan Getz and João Gilberto, sung by Astrud Gilberto. It took North America by storm in 1963 and, along with the many contributions by the great Antonio Carlos Jobim, helped to solidify a place for Brazil as a great musical influence world wide. It has given us something completely unique that has influenced some of the worlds’ greatest musicians, made us aware of the strong musical culture of the Brazilian people and giving the world a little more bounce in it’s collective musical step.

As a citizen of the world, I say congratulations To Brazil and its 50th anniversary of the “Bossa Nova” and thank you for giving us a small piece of you to keep us warm on those long cold Canadian winter nights!

*Don Rayment (donrayment.com) is a professional musician and teacher who lives in Mississauga.

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