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Brazilian “Bossa Nova” Dance Sweeps the Nation

Dec. 16, 1962 - A dance rhythm from Brazil known as the bossa nova may become the nation’s biggest ballroom favorite since the early days of the twist. Paul Winter’s sextet recently played the bossa nova at a White House concert, and the First Lady enjoyed the new rhythm. The bossa nova is a mixture of the samba and modern American jazz. Unlike the often-cacophonic music of the twist, the bossa nova soothes the ear as it appeals to the feet. It is not a new dance in America. It first was heard here about 3 years ago and was fairly popular until the end of 1960. Then it was forgotten until Sidney Frey, owner of a record company, heard it in Brazil and decided to revive it. Now, dozens of recordings are on the market, and no end to production of albums is in sight. The bossa nova, which means “new wave” or “new trend” in Portuguese, was invented by a group of young Brazilians who were experimenting with new rhythms and harmonies. It caught the fancy of the elder Brazilians and soon enjoyed national popularity. João Gilberto, a Brazilian composer and singer, is regarded as the “Father of Bossa Nova” because he made it popular.


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