Joao Donato has enjoyed a long and very successful career in which he has worked with and influenced a large number of musicians – both instrumental and vocal. In a recent interview with DCI he discussed the birth of bossa nova and it’s current standing in brazil and abroad.


Joao Donato

Below is a translation of  parts of the interview. The full interview can be found here (Portuguese)

Q: You were one of the exponents of the creation of Bossa Nova in Brazil. It was a planned thing?

A: It happened naturally. It was the meeting of several people who thought the same way and liked the same things. It eventually formed a group that joined, increased and became an important movement.

Q: And the movement has achieved the expected objectives?

A: It was a desire of the youth of the time. I … João Gilberto, Johnny Alf, and many young people and teenagers, wanted to make a songs to change what was standard practice at the time. There was nothing planned, but we had solid convictions. Bossa nova was really young and it stuck.

Q: What brought about the creativity?

Innovations are naturally occurring. And I was always with the open mind and heart to add to my music that is pleasing to the ears, which causes feelings of well-being and peace.

Q: During your stay in the United States did you notice any difference in the way Americans and Brazilians see the music?

A: Americans accepted the Brazilian music with joy. They found that my music has come to save a little ground for the future of American Jazz, which was half standing and stagnant. With the arrival of Bossa Nova, American jazz musicians began to popularize jazz again.

Q: Do you think Foreigners appreciate bossa nova more than the Brazilians?

A: We are a people with little memory of the artists. And the Americans celebrate the artists who have tradition. It is a difference in culture.

Q: In Rio de Janeiro there is no house of Bossa Nova. Why?

A: As stated earlier, the Brazilians have no memory. Even though that is the birth place of bossa nova there really is no area where you can say that will hear Bossa Nova, and outside it is always seen as a novelty.

Q: What is the current landscape of Bossa Nova in Brazil?

A: It has developed that to incorporate that “Tecnopop” sound. It is a continuation, a moment of legitimate demand for a sonorridade identifying new musicians with their time. Each makes his music. At the time I made music with Johnny Alf, João Gilberto, Tom Jobim, and gave in to him. Now the boys are more songs based on keyboards, hip hop and other influences.

Q: Is it different playing for Brazilians and foreigners?

A: No. They are all human beings and all have the same emotions, they are not happier or sadder. The world reacts more or less the same way. Unless its an alien civilizations where you do not understand them and they do not understand you.