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Bossa Nova: The Story of the Brazilian Music That Seduced the World Kindle Edition
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When we read "Chega de saudade" we are told Bossa Nova's story as if it were a tale: we get to know important facts about that movement, but also entertaining gossip regarding the people who were part of it. Reading this book is quite easy, and you will find that the author makes you smile from time to time with his ironic commentaries. Due to the fact that this is the original version in Portuguese, you won't miss the subtle nuances of meaning that sometimes are lost in the English translation, and you will be able to take delight in several wordplays that Ruy Castro makes throughout the book.
On the whole, I highly recommend "Chega de saudade". I give it 5 stars, because I think it is a perfect example of an entertaining but useful book regarding the history of an important movement in Brazilian music. I particularly love this book because I think that it adds a "human dimension" to Bossa Nova. I like to enjoy the songs, but also to know about the lives of those who wrote them, and what inspired the creators regarding each particular song...
Of course, this book by itself is not enough: you will need to learn more, and listen to the songs "Chega de saudade" talks about. But where can you find a book that exhausts a subject?. I haven't been that lucky yet, so I will gladly settle for one that allows me to start studying the subject, and that makes me more interested in it :)
If you share Ruy Castro's contempt for politically engaged music (however naïve) in times of military dictatorship or if you believe that Tropicalismo, which was started by Gilberto Gil, Tom Ze, Caetano Veloso among others after the air went out of Bossa Nova in 1967, was "a ye ye ye renovation movement" - you'll absolutely love it.
But if you care for the music - if you want to know how musicians worked and felt, what ideals they looked up to and which traditions they respected - forget it and go look for something else.
Faute de mieux (because it deals mainly with the post Bossa Nova period) you might look into Caetano Veloso's own book "Tropical Truth": much more intelligent, much more respectful (especially towards people like Roberto Carlos or Nara Leao), insightful and although pretty intellectual much more heartfelt and humane than Ruy Castro's comprehensive compendium of Bossa Nova gossip.
(Out of disappointment I might make it look worse than it really is: there are amusing and interesting parts. At least you get to learn some about all those fantastic poets and singers and composers, especially Joao Gilberto. But on the whole a huge let down.)
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
There is a large cast of characters represented and a lot tales and lore for each, but in the end, you've been taken on a pretty interesting journey that concentrates on Gilberto, Jobim, and their collaborators.