Bossa Nova Valentine

by Mike Wilson

It's cold work for Cupid in February, so this year a trip to Brazil is in order. Here's a great way to approach a potentially delicate subject, Valentine's Day, and, at the same time, teach your kids a true bossa nova.

A bossa nova is most commonly played on a nylon string guitar. In its purest form, it is unaccompanied guitar, but piano, bass, drums, and percussion have made their way into popularized derivations. Related to samba but less percussive, it has a distinctive beat with a side stick snare. There is a wealth of information on the bossa nova at on the Internet.

This song changes keys for the second verse, which is typical for the genre, then modulates back to the original key at the end of the bridge. Our singers found a laid back, stylized approach worked best, since a bossa nova is considered "cool jazz." A little scooping and sliding, especially in the bridge, made this a really fun song to sing.

Use this song also as a cross curricular opportunity to discuss aspects of the Southern Hemisphere (their seasons are the opposite of ours) as well as the Brazilian culture. Portuguese is the language of Brazil. And in this song, you and your students will learn two words in Portuguese: "mo├žos" and "mocinhas," which mean "young boy" and "young girl." Listen to the singers on the CD for proper pronunciation of these words.

You might discuss Rio de Janeiro, a major city of Brazil, though not the capital. (Brasilia is the capital.) It is most well-known for its famous beach, Ipanema, made popular by the song "The Girl From Ipanema."

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.