50 Years of Bossa Nova
featuring Vinicius Cantuária, Dori Caymmi, João Donato, Celso Fonseca, Joyce, Carlos Lyra, Roberto Menescal, Clara Moreno, Wanda Sá and Marcos Valle
Fernando Merlino piano Rodolfo Stroeter bass Tutty Moreno drums Jessé Sadoc trumpet/flugelhorn Ricardo Pontes alto and tenor sax/flute Adal Fonseca drums/programming Patricia Alví backing vocals
On 1st March this year, a multi-generational line-up of Brazil’s finest musicians took over Rio de Janeiro’s Ipanema Beach for a concert celebrating 50 years of bossa nova.
The style that seduced Brazil in the late 1950s, and then America and the world in the early and mid-sixties hasn’t finished partying yet. Several of the same artists are here at The Barbican, including Carlos Lyra, Roberto Menescal and Joyce, who recently celebrated her own fortieth anniversary as a recording artist and has organised tonight’s line-up. In some ways it’s an attempt to bring the spirit of Ipanema to London. But it’s also a tacit acknowledgement of the key role music fans in London played in carrying the torch for bossa nova through its wilderness years; in the 1970s and 1980s, few people in Brazil cared much about it.
’London is a very important place for Brazilian music in general and especially bossa nova, which was a little forgotten in the early ’90s when people started to listen
again,' explains Joyce. 'Actually, the DJs in London started to pay attention to a certain kind of bossa or bossa-derived music, like my music and Marcos Valle’s music and João Donato’s music.’
The stellar crew Joyce has chosen to tell us the story of bossa range from the early pioneers right up to her own daughter Clara Moreno. So get ready for a wide range of takes on samba’s most sophisticated cousin.
'Bossa nova has this characteristic of being able to combine with other things. It has happened in the past with jazz,' observes Marcos Valle, recalling the time when the likes of Stan Getz and Dizzy Gillespie caught the first bossa wave. 'It’s not something where people say ‘Oh, you can’t touch bossa nova!’ like a religious thing … it’s open.'
Which explains the often-confusing array of bossa sub-genres like jazz samba, bossa jazz, hard bossa, Afro bossa and electro- bossa.
'It shows how this music can re-invent itself,' continues Joyce. 'It can be jazzy or classic or electronic, it can be played in dance halls, or in concert halls like the Barbican, or in lounges, dentists’ and elevators! So it’s good for all purposes, it’s wonderful music!'