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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Publishing 'The Girl From Ipanema' Put Exotic Brazil On The Map

Dark-haired, green-eyed Heloísa
Eneida Menezes Paes Pinto, the 5'8"
teenager who inspired 'The Girl From
Ahhh 'The Girl From Ipanema', sung by Astrud Gilberto around 1962, inspired visions of erotic sensuality in my mind back then --- Imagine an earthy, tall, tanned girl swaying down a Brazilian beach in a bikini "just like a samba that swings so cool and sways so gently".

Not only did this song inspire erotic, exotic overtures in the back roads of my mind, but, it also 'pretty much put an entire country's music and ethos on the map.' The country was Brazil and the music genre was the bossa nova.

'The Girl From Ipanema', especially as sung by Astrud Gilberto, was immediately atmospheric and uniquely exotic and elusive --- a seductive tropical cocktail, indeed.

Astrud Gilberto - Sang 'The Girl
From Ipanema'
A game changer song for sure. And one that has endured and endured.

On the song's 50th anniversary, Thomas Vinciguerra, the Wall Street Journal, details the history of the song, the original artists and the girl, Heloisa, who was the inspiration (also has a video of the song performance):

The Elusive Girl From Ipanema

The endlessly covered Brazilian song turns 50 this year. What explains its quirky endurance?

Before 1962, if John Q. Nobody gave any thought to South America at all, it probably didn't range much beyond banana republics, fugitive Nazis and Carmen Miranda. That changed 50 years ago this summer when a tall and tan and young and lovely goddess was born.

She was "The Girl From Ipanema."

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."

Read and learn more

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