Prentiss Riddle: Music

aprendiz de todo, maestro de nada

Prentiss Riddle

home art austin books
causes chuckles garden
kids language movies
music time toys travel
Search this site

Archive by date
Archive by title

Na minha Rolleiflex

My bossa nova obsession continues with a terrible and wonderful DVD of a late-seventies reunion of bossa nova stars, Musicalmente with Vinícius de Moraes and friends.

In the 50's and 60's Vinícius de Moraes was a prolific writer and lyricist and frequent collaborator with bossa nova's most important composer, Antonio Carlos Jobim. The 1959 classic Black Orpheus was adapted from one of de Moraes's plays. It was de Moraes and Jobim who according to legend were drinking one evening in Rio when a certain girl from Ipanema walked by and inspired them to write the song of that name (although in fact their songwriting techniques were probably more workmanlike than the story would have us believe).

But at the time of this session for Italian television, de Moraes is prematurely elderly, singing in a wobbly voice behind a leopard-print-covered table while chain-smoking and pouring himself shots of whiskey. His patter is vaguely entertaining (I've discovered that I can follow Italian with Portuguese subtitles far more accurately than either one alone!) but he is not above making Sinatraesque racial jokes about his black bassist. It's his guests who make the show: Miúcha, a young Toquinho playing bossa guitar with classical chops and singing as divinely as de Moraes does hellishly, and above all Tom Jobim.

Jobim, himself more of a composer, arranger and conductor than a performer, is a bit shaky in the vocal department, too, but disarms us with his spare piano and by leading with his song Desafinado, a sad anthem for the musically challenged:

Quando eu vou cantar você não deixa
E sempre vem a mesma queixa
Diz que eu desafino, que eu não sei cantar
Você é tão bonita
Mas toda beleza
Também pode se acabar

(When I start to sing you don't let me
It's always the same complaint
You say that I'm out of tune and don't know how to sing
You are so beautiful
But all beauty also comes to an end)

"Os desafinados também têm um coração" -- a reminder to forgive a couple of old songwriting geniuses with more in their hearts than in their vocal chords.

(And before I forget: George has been obsessing about bossa nova lately, too, and passes along a bunch of bossa nova links.)

music 2003.10.08 link