A Unique Rio de Janeiro Travel Experience on Bossa Nova
“Throughout this walk we will place Bossa Nova in context within the Copacabana and Ipanema neighborhoods and other musical genres like samba, jazz and rock. This an excellent walk for visitors intrigued by Brazil’s rich musical tradition and culture.” ~ Context Travel
The Birth of Bossa Nova
Rio de Janeiro has an assorted music landscape! Music has always been firmly ingrained in Brazilian culture and is one of the main attractions of Rio travel. From the early rhythms of Samba to today’s Musica Popular Brasileira, we cannot overlook one of the most influential and world-renowned periods in this trajectory: Bossa Nova.
A lyrical fusion of samba and jazz, bossa nova acquired a large following in the 1960s, initially among young musicians and college students. It is however more than just a ‘new style,’ and over the course of this three-hour walk from Copacabana to Ipanema, you will dig down to the roots of this mid-20th century social, political and musical revolution.
- Visit Bossa Nova shops, venues, museums and landscapes to discover its roots and legacy
- A unique opportunity for local advice on Rio's current music scene
- Learn about Copacabana and Ipanema beaches’ history and future
- Led by a scholar, artist or musician
You will start the walk in Copacabana at Beco das Garrafas, or “Bottles Alley,” the former hub of Bossa Nova music venues earning its nickname from the bottles thrown down from the neighbors in protest against the loud tunes echoing up the alley. Here you’ll pop into a specialty Bossa Nova music store and museum where you’ll learn about the foundations of the movement through memorabilia and photographs from the era. After decades of abandonment, the clubs are now revived with live nightly Bossa Nova.
A few paces away, you’ll find yourself on Copacabana beach, where you’ll discover its history, evolution and future from its days lined with the grimy nightclubs of the 50’s to the glimmering new developments for the 2016 Olympic Games. You may visit some notable Brazilian artists, now transfixed as statues on the iconic black and white wave-patterned boardwalk.
You’ll then work your way towards Ipanema, hopefully catching the sunset view of the beach that inspired many song lyrics and is still today a popular destination for lovers to applaud the sun’s last appearance of the day. You may linger at a few of the places where exponents of Bossa Nova jammed and socialized, such as Tom Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes, Joao Gilberto, Carlos Lyra and muse Nara Leão, touching on how the social aspects of the group refined and defined their music. You will also discuss how soon thereafter in 1964 Brazil entered a dark phase in its history with the Brazilian Military Government taking power. Much changed for the creative class of Cariocas as the group struggled to match their music with the political turbulence of their time. The genre’s international fame and influence would revolutionize the style itself and others like jazz and rock as well as ignite a generation of protesters with their powerful musical expressions.
You will finish the walk at the Garota de Ipanema Restarant, formerly Bar Veloso where Jobim and Moraes would watch their dream woman pass by, thus conceiving the legendary “Girl from Ipanema.” Here you will wrap-up by connecting its aesthetic to the historical moment, its influences in Brazilian popular music and the transformations that occurred in the city from the assimilation of this musical genre.
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