50 Years of Bossa Nova – Milton Nascimento and the Jobim Trio
Saturday, October 18, 2008
What happens when you integrate sultry samba rhythms with various aspects of European jazz? The Bossa Nova, or “new wave” sound emerges, a style created in part by the late Antonio Carlos Jobim more than 50 years ago. The Brazilian beats and Portuguese lyrics transport the listener to a smoky bar seeping with jazzy tunes that keep toes tapping.
Michigan audiences will be able to experience this often-overlooked genre on Oct. 18 at 8 p.m. in Hill Auditorium. “50 Years of Bossa Nova” will showcase the UMS debut performances of legendary Brazilian singer Milton Nascimento and the Jobim Trio, which includes Antonio Carlos Jobim’s grandchildren, Daniel and Paulo, as well as Paulo Braga. The performance will highlight the release of their new album, Novas Bossas.
Pianist Daniel Jobim praises the addition of Nascimento’s vocals to the trio’s musical compositions. “His voice is amazing, unbelievable,” Jobim said. “It is able to convey the message of the songs even when the lyrics are in a different language.”
Language barriers frequently arise when approaching international music, but despite the Portuguese lyrics of the group’s songs, Jobim knows their music penetrates the obstacle of language.
“Most of the songs are love songs and are very romantic,” Jobim said. “You can feel that emotion in the music even without understanding the lyrics. The music speaks for itself.”
Although their music may speak for itself, it requires thoughtful preparation to make this possible. Bossa nova is a style that demands much dedication to detail. “Our music has lots of layers and changing keys, which is not easy to compose,” Jobim explained. “But if you do it with your heart and follow your instincts, the music flows freely.”
Among numerous tracks on their new CD, Jobim admitted that his favorite track is the opener, “Tudo Que Você Podria Ser” composed by Lô and Márcio Borges. The song is one of Nascimento’s old songs that has not been performed for years. “It feels like we are bringing something back from the dead,” Jobim said.
As grandson to Antonio Carlos Jobim, Daniel Jobim received a large amount of encouragement with his musical education, but his grandfather’s fame did not change him in the eyes of Daniel. “He is just my grandfather,” Jobim said. “Despite being a big composer, he is no different to me than I am sure your grandfather is to you.”
Music has the ability to convey a remembrance for the loss of loved ones. The song “O Vento” is one example of how this occurs. Jobim explained how the lyrics remind him of the song’s composer, Dorival Caymmi, who passed away this summer. The song shows the connection of the material world with the natural. “The song is about the wind, about the fisherman that goes out and calls the wind to carry his boat,” Jobim said. “He wants the wind to get the fish that makes the money.”
International musicians such as Milton Nascimento and the Jobim Trio provide an opportunity for American audiences to learn about other cultures. Some people may find the Portuguese lyrics frustrating but Jobim encourages his listeners to try to learn from the sounds that touch their ears. “Using songs is how you learn the language,” Jobim said. “Listening to lyrics alongside melodies allows a certain translation to occur.”