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Listen to our new Bossa Brazil stream

Editorial Staff

Written by Kai Black

Enjoy this handpicked collection of the finest bossa nova Brazil has to offer.  A tropical cocktail of bossa nova, stripped-down samba and jazz with a pinch of MPB and tropicalia to make the listening tastier.  Boa sorte e desfrutar!  Hear: Joao Gilberto, Elis Regina, Luiz Bonfa, Rosa Passos, Lisa Ono and Maria Rita!

Think of all the airports you've landed in. How many were named after musicians? Not many, I'm sure. Usually that privilege goes to presidents and peacemakers. But not in Rio de Janeiro. Antonio Carlos Jobim, who brought bossa nova to the world, is the airport's namesake. Fitting, as he helped Brazilian music take off globally.

Bossa nova is a tropical cocktail of stripped-down samba and jazz. It resonates so widely because it's simple, elegant and evocative; it conjures beaches, breezes and beauty.

The holy trinity of bossa nova, or the "new way," were composer Antonio Carlos Jobim, lyricist and poet Vinicius De Moraes and guitarist-singer Joao Gilberto. It was these three tastemakers that combined to define the hot new sound. They scored countless hits, like "Aguas de Marco" (Waters of March), "Desifinado" and "How Insensitive." But bossa's big breakthrough came when "The Girl From Ipanema" knocked the Beatles off the top of the U.S.

The song cut through the music of the day with its fresh rhythm and highly original performances by American saxophonist Stan Getz and sultry voiced Astrud Gilberto. A frenzy followed. Record stores across America crammed their aisles with racks of the latest Brazilian bossa records, along with American re-workings of the style. Jacqueline Kennedy hosted an evening of bossa nova at the Whitehorse. Entrepreneurs offered bossa nova-inspired haircuts and shoes. Jobim joked that there were even "bossa nova lawyers." Arthur Murray Dance Studios even released paper cut-out shoe prints to lay on the floor to teach the bossa nova dance at home. The boss nova was a rhythm; not a dance. But no matter — America was having fun.

Although the bossa nova doesn't top the charts anymore, it has never really fallen out of favour. Many jazz artists worldwide still record classic bossa songs, or improvise around the infectious rhythm. But Brazilians did tire of being known for only bossa nova, carnival and beaches. But Antonio Carlos Jobim's name still looms large on the Rio airport, serving as a reminder of  the astonishing heights that bossa nova soared in the 1960s.

Enjoy this handpicked collection of the finest bossa nova Brazil has to offer. From classic recordings by Joao Gilberto, Elis Regina and Luiz Bonfa to a younger generaton of artists like Rosa Passos, Lisa Ono and Maria Rita. A pinch of samba, MPB and tropicalia was added to make the listening tastier. Boa sorte e desfrutar!

CBC is Canada's Olympic network for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.