The Most Important Bossa Nova Tracks Ever

Lay back and dream of Rio...
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Joao Gilberto - Chega De Saudade

The first track we have to choose is from king of bossa nova, Joao Gilberto. I have recomended Chega de Saudade as it is such a recognisable song. He has had some career and was most famous for co writing with Tom Jobim Garota do Ipanema. I met him once and very few people have as he lives as recluse. I met him in the bar Garota de Ipanemas in Av Vinicius de Moraes by chance, he happened to be there with a girl friend having a beer and something to eat. The girl was half his age and I knew her. She told me this is the guy that wrote ‘The Girl From Ipanema’ . There was a silence and I carried on talking to her!

Vinicius de Moraes and Baden Powell - Canto de Ossanha

Poet Vinivcius de Moraes was one of the best lyricist in the bossa nova movement. He had a very interesting life indulging in politics when on exile from Brazil during the dictatorship, and in many other area of the arts. His original works were with Tom Jobim and Baden Powell, legendary afro samba guitarist. This track Canto de Ossanha is the cry and chants inspired to the gods of the Candomble, and is another cult song and one of the early afro sambas.

Silvia Telles - Samba do Aviao 

Silvia Telles had a great career in the bossa nova movement and was an exceptional singer. She was one of the faces of the sweet bossa nova scene in the 60s and the face of Rio in a way. This song is all about getting back to Rio if you have been away and the sadness of missing Rio.

Marcos Valle - A Morte de um deus do sal

Marcos Valle was one of the so-called 2nd generation bossa nova singers and composers to emerge, after the 50s and early 60s wave of artists. I have chosen this song only as it is not one of his great songs. but one of Roberto Menescal's and he does a great interpretation of this amazing tune. Marcos is a fantastic guy and musician. I was on tour with him just last week and we went to Southport Soul weekend in Minehead and he had some excellent funny stories to tell us. He has worked with us for 20 years and we will make a new record by him. An absolute legend.

Tom Jobim and Ellis Regina - Dindi

Elis Regina was regarded as one of the greatest female singers in Brazil of the 60s, 70s and 80s. Here she sings with Tom Jobin on this well covered, classic tune.

Jonny Alf - Eu e a Brisa

Johnny Alf is highly underated in the story of bossa nova but equally as important as some of the more familiar names. He was an excellent composer, pianist and singer. He lived in Sao Paulo most of his life so he was hidden from the swinging scene in Rio of the 60s. but wrote some excellent tunes.

Roberto Menescal/Silvia Telles/Lucio Alves - Baizinho

This track is from the Bossa session LP which is an original LP featuring some unique recordings of artists together. The track is all about the rhythm of the Biao, a style of music from Bahia commonly known for its beat.

Nara Leao - Desafinado

Desafinado was written by Tom Jobim and Newton Mendonca as a response to the press that used to say that bossa nova was made by out of tune (desafinado) singers. This delightful version sees one of the muses of the movement, Nara Leao singing with her lovely voice. She created a style which is copied till today, I think, but she was the original of this soft feminine style of singing bossa nova, I would had loved to have met her in the 60s.

Chico Buarque - Ten mais samba

A true Brazilian classic from Chico Buarque’s first record. A beautiful track that if you close your eyes, you can see yourself in Rio. A must have in any Brazilian music list from the main man.

Ellis Regina - Madalena 

This track is not strictly a bossa nova tune but a tune by composer Ivan Lins. Here it is interpreted by Elis Regina and the arrangements and piano where by our great friend Jose Roberto Bertrami, so we had to feature this. Check out the piano playing and whistling by him. This track is one of the most played tracks on radio in Brazil. The whole LP by Elis was arranged by Jose and he was very proud of this work he had done with Elis in the early 70s.


This is a really interesting link to an unusual film from Germany, made in 1967. Well worth a watch.

All selections here are by Joe Davis, the main man at Far Out Recordings.  Last year they released a 20th anniversary record celebrating the best of the label and beyond. Go get yourself a copy here