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João Gilberto


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Juazeiro, Bahia (June 10, 1931 – present)

João Gilberto (born João Gilberto Prado Pereira de Oliveira on June 10, 1931 in the town of Juazeiro, Bahia) is a Brazilian musician and considered one of the creators, with Antônio Carlos Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes, of .

A self-taught guitarist and singer, Gilberto moved to Rio de Janeiro in 1950 and joined the vocal group Garotos da lua (“The Boys of the Moon”) as their lead singer. After a year and a half, he was kicked out of the group for his lack of discipline and spent the next several years in a marginal existence. Eventually he found his way, creating a new way to express himself in voice and on the guitar. The result of his obsessive experiments became known as bossa nova.

Bossa nova is a refined version of , deemphasizing the percussive aspect of its rhythm and enriching the melodic and harmonic content. Rather than relying on the traditional Afro-Brazilian percussive instruments, bossa nova usually utilizes a drum set. João Gilberto often eschews all accompaniment, using only his guitar, which he uses as a percussive as well as a harmonic instrument. The singing style he developed is almost whispering, economical, and without vibrato. He creates his tempo tensions by singing ahead or behind the guitar.


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