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The Writers Block - with Ron Knight
The Writers Block - with Ron Knight

Episode · 7 months ago

Gal Costa, reigning queen of Brazil's Bossa Nova on Jobim and tropicalismo

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

What is it about the writings and music of Antonio Carlos Jobim that so defined the beauty and nature of what we think of Brazil. Ron is joined by legendary Brazilian Superstar Gal Costa in this historic interview, to talk of the music, the Bossa Nova, the writings of Jobim, and the flavors and love... of Brazil. 

And good afternoon to you all it's runnight today, I'm completely late. I am enthralled. I am in bliss. I amabsolutely I'm pretty much awstruck. I will say I am joined today by theBrazilian musical goddess and Legend of Basenova and, of course, also Brazilias.Brazil's Tropical Lista Movement, fundamental presents in the tropicallymovement and, of course, Brazil's leading team of singers. Now for thelast thirty three years and, dare I say, probably Brazil's finest exportGalcusta II ere you go. Thank you I'm glad to be here. Oh I'd love to startwhatever you folks want to play. Why don't you just kick it right off for us?Thank You van Seld! It for Soo in ofucano, O oWat istasa must have fitered Omoin tess a PAS is min yet gon, pate uter, a Pi is mi theBoyce for Youin. Then I isis so Yli Mesoo Hel, you o O Otrokifauing Myo, mybest o thou. I B that Onma my Minin fice bead US o the post. foral came Thea Pricisoellime so go her. Your Nos mo O, O Toi aaican me my fest Bogona, be that Oanmi, my Myinis busbut ethank, you wita Regado Oginaaitas, just so fabulous.

I can't I don't know it's hard for meto stay sitting in my seat here when it comes to the real real stuff right hereright, you can do. I can DAC yeah. I can Dancei an talk at the same time.It's wonderful! It's just a good, so galquusta yeah, the Brazilian superstarthat you are thankhow. Are You you're good huh? I'm fine, you feeling! Okay!Now I understand that you were supposed to your now. This is a very specialconcert. We might say because of your complete entire history in Brazilianmusic yeah. There are very defined chapters, shall we say in the book ofwhat you've contributed to Brazilian music and in the book of Your Life. Butin particular this concert is a tribute to Anton Ontonio. Carlos Jomin yeah had,of course, Dan gets, who had an interesting collaboration for a whileTotwentyi, and I had a surgery, but I'm okay, I'm fine you're feeling!Well, I'm feeling very good Thani thanks God good! Well. It's good to seeyou and we're certainly glad that you're doing well and certainly of allthings coming back to joinus at Carnegie Hall Yeah. This is a veryspecial occasion. Now you had a very unique relationship with jobin. Yes, Ihad, but since I was a child I used to to eat to hear Jobin, songs andJonrubeta, and so he was my my master, my Ito whend. Iwhen I, when I got when I got to Real, I met him and I start to work with him,and I I did many concert with Inim in Brazil and also in New York, and fortunately he liked me singing the hersongs. His song sought so and I had that very strong relitosip ithim. He. I think it's been noted that hecalled you his favorite singer. Yes, us to say that Yeah Your Voice is thesignature voice in many ways of everything that we would regard asBrazilian Bassanova, I mean of all the Brazilian singers. We've ever heard,yeah Wen people think of the classic recordings. I think they think of yourvoice. I have a very strong influence of Bosaava when I heard, for the first time, Jonsubat to singing. I wasn't shocked because I love a hairs style and or he's a Stye, I'm sorry. I change allthe time he an she well in some cities, that's okay! This is normal! Everybodydoes that they do that in the village, Normal Sulmon. They did that in San Franciscoa lot didn't they yeah, that's, okay! I can ask to a he was he was from SanFaciso. He know these things at' and it...

...happens in Rio to I think once in awhile. No, I don't think so, but but nevertheless you were very muchinfluenced by both yeah, very very harding, influence, strocg influence. Ithink when I heard Jon Jubet for the firsttime I changed my style of singing and completely, andit is its wonder. I think the Bosonava wasthe most important music movement musical movement inBrazil that happeneed. So it's wonderful yeah. Well. On that note, I think you shouldperhaps play another song for us is that okay? Would you be yeahatet? Okay,I'm here for that great well, SOR, we thing! So are we we're just Home Mada?And Oh my God, yeah we'll talk about we'll talk about these other twomusicians that are with you it's for the audience. That's here I mean it'samazing to think you are putting out this much magic. This muchartistry tswitch music with two other musicians. This is a trio folks, you can't see inthe studio, but this is just this not just as in only this is a guitarist anda percussionist and, of course, the wonderful Galclusta thanks tats go NII'. Did it Dodo, GET ITIN IDO? We ended it.A dohokis, a my Myi Ou, be so virbut a SA mysoamo to Ma the party my pa to, but I ga you Pi. It wondruogwuaa be a theclassic yeah by our guest today, Galcusta and,of course, her companiment companist Acoustic Guitar, that's Homero and thelast Nim homeris lumbab Lu, Bumbo, Lubmbo Homa Lubumbo, who Mero Lubambodoing an excellent excellent job on classic Acoustic Guitar Brazilian style.We've made that clear before this is no thise's ain't no FLAMENCO around here,no the hole! Manthe other guest- I had a couple of months back and, of course,we're also joined by David Silliman who's been in our studios before heydoing David, very good. Thank you. You sounding so great on the percussion isalways thank you. You feel obe here now it sound like a Brazilian. He does yeah.I think he is thinging. I think he's an honorary basilion. I think it sounds so good, but we did that halfan hour of take. He flamnqo out of his...

...mind for half an hour. In a way we hadto do o job and fited it bus, aovits, right free, I Gota Hackefectt'. So so we hung the flamenco out by itsknees. Yeah. Let him air out a little bit. That'sgreat! You guys! You really are doing a fabulous job. Talking about that. Imean Getson and Jobim obviously had a very defined relationship and it wasvery important part of Brazilian musical history. F, one thousand nineTueen ND sixty three onwards yeah and at the time you weren't still callingyou aren't, calling yourself Gal, then, were you o one thousand nine hundredand sixty three yeah? No, I pe my my my friends of school. I used to call me Gal Bu, my familycalled me, Grasin, Grasin, grasine, CAASINA, Jo, you bet calm gracinaalso.Do Your friend family still call you GRA seniorty call you go now now theycaet the new generation. Call Me Gal and the old genorem was my cousins and they call me Gracia some of them still, but my friend callme Gou. So this is a good name. God is like Ga like girl. U, in Englis Ga Yeah Goa an n portal gase. It was reallyGolt. Yeah go yea yeah, so it sounded like Gal yeah. So it's good, but nobodycalls you. Maria de aooit sounds like Portuguese singer now, thyyou were born in Salvador by here.Yes and yeah you, you still live there once and all yes, I movet to to Hougjaneo and SOM POO tostart my career in Brazil and but now I'm living in Souvadorin by you O. Iwas where you were born. Yeah Ani, like yeah yeah, it's beautiful, it's quiet,beautiful seat is very quiet. The food is amazing. Yes, I know it's very hardto and I underi understand you have a beautiful home that overlooks the oceanor somethings in front of the ocean, very quiet, very peaceful and then theother part of the year. You live right here because you are now you call NewYork, your yeah. I have an apartment here since one thousand nine hundredand eighty five wor. So I come here very often and I love the city and Ilove Tiscountry. I don't know why. I don't know why either now, let me geton the one hand, beautiful home, overlooking the ocean in Brazil, green,Beautiful Ocean Brazilian women, Hoween Thirt, Colm trees, bombi breezes, nowinter or tiny little apartmant in the middle of Manahattan, with a bunch often thousand megawats of traffic and bazilion people outside and otherwise adirty city with lots of wind blowing in...

...your eyes and very very expensive. Now?U, I don't know this difference. IC. Do you choose O knthis difference is Bel.I need to talk to you. We need to have a sto. You know I like to be inSalvador very quiet and I like to be here very spid city, no, everybodyworking like crazy. You like the energy. I like I like the different bt betweenthis. You know when and Solvadoran and New York anice balance. Yes, the bestof a good ist good for the health at this Pirit inds amazing. To choosethose two places because of Ourto is very famous by Yeis, very famous, to bevery slow. Yeah ther is low peopin by YEA, very verou. L Like you, take a bus.An the driver leaves and go take a coughand wait. A little bit. Yeathis istrue. I saw the yeah an New York is the oppis everybody so fast, so you arslowest one in the festest ICITOF Yeah World Andeah, but I think maybe in bouthere, you wouldn't have to move too quickly to be the fastest person inBayea, very slow, we'll be you get there and yeah culd be the fastest one. You know what I know that Jobin wasvery important to you and you were certainly very very important to himand it's going to be the honor that you're performing his work at the seonconcert, but you also have a very big history that I want to talk about withmany of the other legends from the Tropicalismo Movement. That includesyour background with CICTANO and Tom G, a so many people, I'm happy to beWitolindo, UA, ther, Nice Gu, a Mua wintolda with Alinda. That's right,it's a feminine Siis, very beautiful! Yes, we tont Lan the Lis, a Webecausewe to I've, always gottn Ma confuse in Brazilian, because that Wuld this isnot a language. ISBIPORTUSHING! Let's talk. Can we talk a little bitmore about things, because I've always been interested in the tropicalismomovement. I've got many friends from Brazil, as you know, yeah, and many whowere involved also in the tropical lismo movement, but for you inparticular, you had some of your closest friends, yes and, dare I saypossibly even lovers, because you were known as the folk hippie chick. Yes,were you a folk, Hippi Chick? What is hippo to you know a HS hip. I hip, Iknoweverybody know hat. Is it hip, but no seriously, when Brazil changed into was going through that the dictatorShit Yeah, okay and it was totally going against the new ideologies andconcepts of expression in art, your buddies, Jobert te Yeel right,Katano Valoso and they split. They went to Europe right, they Lov yeah yeah, they was, they were exiled yeah. Theydidn't have a lot of choice, they a they had to leave you and you stayed...

Yes. I stayed in Mrazil supporting the movement tropicalism andthinking their songs and I used to to to go offen to London to see them and they gave me they give me songs and Ithink in Brazil and wife I supporting, I was supportingthe tropicalism in this time this hard time in Brazil.So that's that's the Tory. I don't I don't know if I I have enough. Godi was to explain somany thing. Well, try and Portuguese. If you want and then we'll rely on, OMATO wholl will translate, but it'sokay. How, but that's that's. I think, that's en rough. I was in Brazilsupporting the Tropicallismo when they were exiled. It was very hard for me toto know about them, Xiling exileding in London, so I think it might beimportant for me to say that for those people who don't know about theBrazilian Tropical Lismo movement in otherwors, when we think of Brazilianmusic here, traditional busanove jazzes influence on Onsamba, which was Bassa.You know, but Tropicalisma was also a very, very important time for the musicof Brazil. Yes, I think most for the the comportment. You know, I think the Buson O was the mostimportant moviement of music musical movement in Brazi, most o them thetropicallism. I think so. The Tropic Anu was political. Was apoitical was ENACTI actic to yeah you no kind of like the s here in the USA,when we had the hate Ash Berry in the Hippi Movement, which turned into theentire S, culture that we had here in America, which was also being mirroredvery definitely in Brazil and again Kitano got it Tom J got itoeamutamtes got it and they defined it and it was a whole new. It would bealmost like what happened in the s year when rock and roll really changed, andit was almost like the real definition of a Brazilian rock and Roll Y, AHculturally, on the same level. It's interesting to touch on this, becauseperhaps not only as an artist as as probably one who we would say, has the purest voice from Brazil. If I mayyeah N, you know it's interesting to see that you also were involvedpolitically also to kind of to go to these things yeah, but it was so important. Th T I wasvery young in the S, but it was so important this movement because we can imprisyo they couldn't do verymuch. You know they. Everything was like the thow, you can't do itcaintodoing it do, and then they sent a lot of the good ones out of Brazil. Youknow yeah, so I was very important that they came with this movement to bringus presilens. Even the different...

...approach to music into an attitude on Owas very important for politically in for me, as a musician was great to openideas for other things. In the otherwise you would stay with the thingthat they wanted that time it youtal it forced a new kind of renaissance didn'tsucks, because if you tell people that they can't do something as but I don'tknow a lot, but what I do know about, especially Brazilians. If you say youcan't do something, that's when we do it that vesilis going to say I did italready. It's already been done. Yeah, that's a that's like that's hat,was very important to see different thing, different music,different approach and the lyrics were like so important that time. You knowbecause hit said so much you Kn, I was very important. Also after the boss on over that was verygratv. ITD also brought a lot of the influencs different influence that wehad from Africa and different type of music into Brazilian music. More andmore I S- I was very young, but I saw is avery beautiful thing in yeah, so coming back now to Jobi, which isobviously very other end of the spectrum, and we all know what it doesto our hearts when we listen to the music o Yobin, an of course the way yousing it in the way you all play it. I think it's very obvious the it's obvious what happens, but if youcould describe joubime, I mean, obviously you have the tropical TeseMoand you've have the music you, you know experience with Pictanay Boos, butwhat is it about Jo Bam in particular, made him and made him such a legendary composer,the way we might associate in our country with a girsh win. You knowtruly some of the great composers of all times, because you had a personalrelationship with him very close yeah. So what is it about him? It did this.Why? Why did he become who he became? I think he was the most important composeBrazil, an composer, a D. I think probably he was the best in Brusicomposer in Brazil and because he writeed so many beautiful,melodies and also lyrics and and he was such a wonderful person and funny personaly its it's. He wasamazing, so I think I touin my opinion. He is the most important, an and the bettercomposer brasiln composer. Do you think he understood humanrelationships? You think he understood love? Yes, yes, we had tha, wonderful helitionship,you did yeah, we did we D, we were friends very close friend and he loved to work with Mes told me manytimes...

...and I love her family. It is family. Sorry, I love his familyand so it is very important to me. Do yousee this concert then, as a way of just being able to help express something ofthe time you had with him? Yes for for sure EA, when I, when I talk about him,I miss him a few missing him very hard. You know like now. I that's it. Maybe he's here. Yes, for sure I think so I think- and I think he'ssaying- hey stop talking and play something Ay on my song and of course you could say you sow outhere. First that's interesting to know AntonioCarlos Jobm, ANA as rel Ruberto, who you ere, both so intertwined with inyour life yeah. They they were my theys. There were my love. They were your love,your passion, your Mentos, my Bestyeah, and they were the twoky architects ofBasenova, with Jobeam, of course, supplying such beautiful melodies inthe genres, sophisticated harmonies and interesting that they created so manyso many classics and like the girl from epanema, which wasn't really yousinging. That was one of those other classic legends singing that Song andat Tisefanado Shaga Tey Sodoat, one note somber I mean we can go on aboutsho, bing Corkavado in sense. I dingy and sensitive howitaright. So many many many many many many beautiful tunes, including waves. Imean just goes on and on and on. Doesn't it just amazing the legacy inthe history of the Library of compositions? And you were involved inquite a few of those weren't you and yet you never wrote Ho didn't write thesongs. I just wrote two songs in the six and Sevenh with two friend of mycomposers. They are compose, but just just to what we're doing over those twoI don't know o come on. I se to you, do yea. I wouldn't like to be not a very good composer. I prefer bebe a very good singer and I don't think I have enough talentto compose. I don't know I never I never tri it. I like Toto Sing when I think a song, it sounds likemine. You know you have made every one of the songsyou have done. Yeah, though written by other people. You have made them yourown yeah. Maybe this is only one of your gifts is to take the lyricswritten by another author or another composer and so able to absorb them and mirror them andmake them your own. So everybody thinks it is your heart and your soul, yourexpression yeah, because when I think a...

...song I put my soul in that. You know- and it sounds like me, like I'm composing tthat's right, you sound like you arecoming through the other composers, lyrics right, yeah yeah, it'sinteresting now, even though, if we can go back to yourhistory, some that interesting time in Brazil when the habits were changing,you know back either in the tropical lismo movement or whatever, whatever was happening. You also asidefrom being able to put yourself into the words of the songs. Maybe what was happening for you isthat you were also showing what was happening in the politics of thecountry. Right. What's the story like with the the all the periods that youwent through, you went through the belly button, you're bally by the belly button,onbyte God onlygo. Okay, we got the Perod the period dom on Bigo yeah yourbelly, Bu, O man, you mean the music yeah. Well, you went through the belly.You went, you went through your not wearing shoes. You became like thebarefoot purse. You Know Andean O bi, you know my mother went, she waspregnant and she used to listen music just to influence me his onor daugter.So I hear most music and in the winter yeah in the warm in thebell, so I grow up listening music, loving,music and saaying all kind of concert, all type of classicals and popular, and so music ismy life. I just was born to sing at that's it. I can live without saying I'm like aBord. You know, I guess so nosid you pity Mil dos to say: Kep OPI, Tinlaly, Solfi, Ta, O Solaoman, Gater, Pasmo teProsima, please I samply so bad o Weo Thin Gafy, lift, don't care by fightinggame, so can Motra y so and then you also, you basically were able to reflect thefeeling of what Brazil really is. I think when the world thinks of Braziland I think of the music of Brazili, it paints a very accurate picture. Don'tyou think of I mean I've listened to the music of Brazil forever I've goneto Brazil. I don't know twenty times. You know I'm always going and when Ifeel the music of Brazil anywhere in the world. When I go to Brazil, I feellike this is exactly what the image of my mind looked like when I finally getthere each time. I guess, because the music is really made with the heart ofpresident people, you actually show...

...musically what the land is. HMM, so Ithink it transcrash very well what our land our country is through. Music.That's why it was so important these people that made our musicoutside of Brazil, so so big, because we can bring Brazil out and show people.This is our country now go coest and cattenvilos and torms of being youbettoZou, because it puts the Brazil on the map. You know and Ito everybody. Evenif you don't go, you know a little bit what it should be there because of themusic and art in general. Do does that wit, music in Brazil, its very seriousthing and O we Wyah, like, like Gall said you start listening to good musicinside of the warm of your mother. You know, like my two daughters were likethat she always heard music before she was. They were born and hey. They bothlove music right now, so it's a sedious thing yeah I can imagine, and yet, evenso, not only does the music sound like theland of Brazil, and I think Brazil has its. I would say the music is the bestexport from Brazil in general. But have you not also given your name to one ofthe beaches? Isn't there a beach that has your namyes don't as Donas that Goldoing is the GA, which is the dunes of Gal Yeah? That's it it's! It was inEponema in the S and Sevenh I used to go there with a friend of my macalecomposer and Guitaris, and nobody used to go to this thisthisplace to this best because it was a CCCOCONK constructotion. Thank you, tat was nice and people don't use to go there because of that.So I went with him to this place because it was quit. Nobody was thereso and people becan too to go there and they named it for you yeah, becausethey would see you they would see you wath the Bach yeah everybody, the theIntellectas, the hip of a hip of kind of people. I HAV Wente, I see so it was the the Brazilianhippies that you took out on the camping trips that followed you aroundand then Ynsee now she's walking on the beach. So we'll give this beach to her,and nobody else goes on the beach but Galgos on this noose. This is now gallsbeach. That's it! Oh! That's! So funny! That's amazing,the whenwanted to ask you. Also this. You also had some controversy. You knowthis word controversy. Yeah Clintoantroversy on some of your albumcovers art for the album covers. Yes,...

...no, when you went to the beach yeahthedonas, the Gal Yeah Yeah, were you wearing that Bikini that you wore onthe album? India h? Yes, because this album this? I understand this. Thisalbum cover had some problems in some kin yeah. Yes, it was forbidden to sellwithout a cover. BLACKOVER M, I don't know Ho, you understand the go galcostas album. I did this before John Lennon's. Album did this when he hadthe album with Yokoono and they were both naked and they had. They couldn'tsell this. It had to be in a brown rapper, but you had already done that.But yet you weren't naked, you were in a Bab yeurd a bathing suit right yeah,it's a bikini, yeah Bekinit, Tas Bi, my body beautiful it was beautiful. Istill would like a copy of this album. So you wear this bi SAS beautiful, VeryBeautiful O. do you still wear this bikin? I don't know Whoi ty TIR. Theydon't like beautiful bud. I think so. I think itmade them think too much. They don't want to think about the. I thinks youright our guest today, Galcostat e Brazilianlegendand superstart, and what a wonderful wonderful thing tot Hav youhere only because of everything you've ever done in terms of the mind of humanity, with its respect forBrazilian music and everything that we think about, we think of Brazil. I knowI think of Brazilia Music. I think o Galcosn, you know I do you contime ye alone, at's, your Modol, my consol, but I faipily ICAE Bautifuli, feel horrible. Now, in sucha wonderful way, have you ever Ni have to say that Ihave grown up listening to Brizilian BASSA and I've been listeningto you ever since I was a child, and I've had always such this big idea of arelationship with this voice and I'm meeting you now for the firsttime, and it's like how do you hang on to a last final moment forever? Howcould I possibly ever hope to do that? You know just wanting to savehor thisone moment for forever. How do we keep it going? You know it'sjust a wonderful thing: wet. We can come to the Cinoyo home, Yeahi thiall,your friends. I got a better one. I could do that, but I think I'm goingback with her to by herafter curing a IM fate to be I'm moving in I'm a good cook. Greatyeah, you need aguy like yea. I like that yeah. You need me C man, you do you need me inthe worst way. You need O en OA great...

...breakfast for you, many Reallyyou anyougot to come to my house for a big SAC. I do meanfish Wather, even though it'snot by her style. Now you don'tnow, I don't know what is my brakfastbreakfast that and that thery knows about you, see tolyou. They could tellyou, but there's only one way to find out. What's good for breakfast, youhave to get there. I eit's a lot of Viana. You have to go the night before to knowwhat's happening for breakfast right, our guest time fit yo it serious youare. I will take you up on that Gal. You are just too kind you're, too sweetand just sinust ever ever ever so overjoyed that you were joining us heretoday, our guess today, Brazilian musical legend, Galcosta and, of course,her wonderful accompany accompanists musicians, Homero Lumbab, te Bumbo. Whyam I having difficulties with you Rometo? I don't know we have to keeppracticing USBODAVID MON nons too easy. No S assould, say Davidsettles DamonDavid settled down instead of Ba, but I already know David because he's beenhere before he's moving in W. Well, he used the other Romaro for that yeah toto know him, and you know every time I look under a drum set, I'm going tofind Silimon he's camped underneath the drum somewher. Why he's good? But this has been awonderful, wonderful joyous experience here, and I do thank you all ever somuch for gracing, my just giving me this private concert. Of courseeverybody else here. Certainly you might want to go ahead and check thatout for more information, I'm sure there's websites, but again all ofthank you every son Joiingyeartoday. Thank you. Thank you very much. What'sgreat, thank you thank for being here, but a gotill aegote.

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