This year Rio de Janeiro is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Bossa Nova. I am far from a specialist in the genre, but I do feel obliged to join the party by posting some of my favourite bossas. I already wrote a post on Onde Brilham os Olhos Seus by Fernanda Takai, a recent album of modern versions of the songs that made Nara Leão famous. Now let's take a very brief look on Nara herself - my favourite bossa artist.
Following songs from the debut album Nara take us on an emotional rollercoaster ride. "When launched in March 1964, the fabulous first disc of Nara seemed distant from Bossa Nova. But the time erased this distance", writes Ruy Castro in the linear notes of the album´s remasterized edition. Perhaps it is this originality and unpredictability - the album not sticking to proven formats of bossa, but bravely including songs by sambistas like Zé Kéti and Cartola and back-then up-and-coming composers like Edu Lobo and Baden Powell - that makes Nara so enduring and interesting.
The first song - "March of Ash Wednesday" - is about the Brazilians' favourite subject of mourning: the end of the carnaval. Diz que moves to a more playful mood and finally Maria Moita is a melancholic classic about two generation of repressed females. The first and the last are also notable for the beautiful lyrics of the Bossa Nova's greatest poet Vinicius de Moraes. Moraes is nothing short of a national hero in Rio, right up there in the pantheon with the likes of Antonio Carlos Jobim and João Gilberto.
Nara Leão: Marcha da quarta-feira de cinzas (zShare)
Nara Leão: Diz que vou por ai (zShare)
Nara Leão: Maria Moita (zShare)
And because right now I am feeling very, very sad, the following song catches the moment perfectly. "Always alone / I live searching for someone / who too suffers like me / but I cannot find no-one / Always alone / and life will go on like this / I have nobody to pity on me / I am arriving to the end" - well, maybe I´m not quite that sad.
Nara Leão: Luz Negra (zShare)