Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bossa Nova Postcard from Brazil

Bossa nova is the bolero of the beaches in Brazil. There is not one citizen in this amazing country that did not take time to grieve the passing of Dorival Caymmi when he died in Rio de Janeiro Saturday.

Antonio Carlos Jobim once commented: “Dorival is a universal genius. He picked up the guitar and orchestrated the world.” Dorival was instrumental in birthing bossa nova from its samba womb, and he sang about love with a passion that still makes the world swoon.

At 16, Dorival wrote “O Que É Que a Baiana Tem?” ... “What Is It About Brazilian Women?”. Which reminds me of one particular Brazilian woman, "The Girl from Ipanema". Every music lover knows this bossa nova classic, but who knows "The Girl" who, "when she passes, each one she passes goes ... ah."?

Long after Dorival immortalized Brazilian women in song, Jobim fell in love with the image of the young woman who introduced the bikini to Ipanema. Imagine the synchronicity, for Jobim didn't know this at the time. An anonymous young lady walked daily past Jobim's table at Rio's beach bar "Rua Montenegro", circa 1962. Her name was Heloísa Eneida Menezes Paes Pinto. She passed Rua Montenegro daily while fetching groceries for her mother. There sat Antonio Carlos Jobim, drinking and writing some of the best music ever recorded, along with his lyricist friend Vinicius de Moraes.

To be honest, Heloísa, at the age of 63 years, turned my head before I knew who she was! She is the picture of sensual beauty today. Heloísa runs a dress shop in Sao Paulo. She is still married to the love of her life, Fernando Pinheiro. Back in the 60's her practical mother kept Hollywood from cashing in on her daughter's sudden fame after the song she inspired became a worldwide sensation. Heloísa Pinheiro is now a grandmother.

Dorival Caymmi has now passed. Yet, as the man who synchronized the rhythm of bossa nova with the women of Brazil's beaches (or vice versa) Dorival would certainly agree, in any language...

"When she walks, she's like a samba that swings so cool ... sways so gently."

We will never forget you Dorival. Bravo!

1 comment:

  1. I am intrigued by the "cause", although I'm clueless as to how much I should or could contribute. Is there an "average" or can you make a suggestion to a U.S. citizen with a modest income?