Cultural Percussionist

João Gilberto Day

João Gilberto Prado Pereira de Oliveira, known as João Gilberto (Portuguese: [ˈʒoɐ̃w ʒiwˈbɛʁtu]; June 10, 1931), is a Brazilian singer, songwriter, and guitarist. João created the musical genre of bossa nova in the late 1950s.

João Gilberto was born in Juazeiro, Bahia, Brazil. From an early age, music was a part of Gilberto’s life. His grandfather bought him his first guitar at the age of 14. During high school, Gilberto teamed up with some of his classmates to form a small band. Gilberto, who led the band, was influenced by Brazilian popular songs, American jazz, and even some opera, among other genres. After trying his luck as a radio singer in Salvador, the young Gilberto was recruited in 1950 as lead singer of the vocal quintet Garotos da Lua (Moon Boys) and moved to Rio de Janeiro. A year and a half later, he was dismissed from the group for his lack of discipline (he would often show up late to rehearsals or not at all).

João Gilberto’s first recordings were released in Brazil as two-song 78-rpm singles between 1951 and 1959. In the 1960s, Brazilian singles evolved to the “double compact” format, and João would release some EPs in this new format, which carried 4 songs on a 45-rpm record.

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