We'd like to Welcome the brilliant
Brazilian Guitarist Composer & Arranger, Legend Oscar Castro-Neves, a major contributing pioneer, first bringing worldwide attention to the beginning wave of the
Bossa Nova movement...
along with friend & Legend Composer Antonio Carlos Jobim, João Gilberto and a few other fellow Brazilian Musicians,
who played a key role in the beautiful
Bossa Nova music-styled phenomenon!
Before working with the famed
Sergio Mendes' Brazil '66 Group that swept the U.S. off of its feet,
where Oscar Castro-Neves was the featured guitarist, music director & vocal coach for Mendes for many years. As we travel from the beginning in Brazil...
performed with his three brothers in Brazil...
Pianist Mário, Bassist Iko & Drummer Léo, at the tender age of just sixteen.
And then working with greats, from
Vinicius de Moraes, to Dorival Caymmi & then crossing over to the U.S. waters,
working with Jazz Legends...
from Stan Getz, to Dizzy Gillespie,
Lalo Schifrin Trio,
the Laurindo de Almeida Quartet...
and so many others that we here at OL,
will be covering this week
during Oscar's Interview!
Welcome Oscar, and thank you for giving us and all of the OL Site Visitors, for what will be a 7-part Interview on the Oceanliner Notes Weekly Series, for the entire week of October 10, 2010. We here at OL have been waiting to Interview You for a long time, Oscar...
so we'd like to thank You for the opportunity to do so and we look forward to spotlighting all of the colors of your illustrious Career, that continues to shine brighter than ever, throughout the many years of your sharing with the world, your magic, music and mastery! On behalf of all of our OL Viewers, once again, thank you and welcome Oscar!
Hello, it is nice to be here and to have this opportunity to chat a little bit.
Oscar, for our OL Readers, we'd like to take them on a journey, starting from the very beginning, where You were born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Tell us of your childhood memories growing up in Rio, and when you first came to know and love music?
We were a big family, six brothers and a sister. I am one of triplets. So, growing up was a lot of fun, the house always full of friends and family, 'specially around holidays.
Your first instrument was the 'cavaquinho', the small Brazilian guitar used in such traditional styles as Choro. Tell us about the introduction to You of this instrument,
and who taught You?
I come from a musical family full of amateur musicians: my mother played a little guitar, an uncle played cello, an aunt was a soprano singer, and most special, another uncle that taught me really hip chords on the guitar.
And I fell in love with harmonic structures. The cavaquinho was the first instrument
(when I was about 6 years old)
because it was small enough
for my little hands.
You started performing with your brothers at an early age. So, it seems like You certainly grew up in a Musical Family. What was it like playing in a band with your brothers?
It was great. It was another link in what united us. My eldest brother played piano, the second eldest the drums; one of the triplets a little flute and the other the bass.
You recorded your first song called,
"Chora Tua Tristeza,"
at the tender age of sixteen?
I was at a friend's house, a musical reunion. Everybody was playing his or her songs.
When I did mine, there was a singer there,
Alaide Costa who told me she was recording her album and asked if she could record that song. It was an instant hit. I was lucky. Alaide became a close friend and throughout the years we did a lot of music together.
From beginning with playing the 'cavaquinho' instrument, You also mastered the Piano and of natural legendary progression to the Classical Guitar Instrument. When You wrote your first song, what instrument did you use, to write it with?
I actually wrote the first half in a bus, going to visit my friend Luvercy Fiorini, who wrote the lyrics. As I got to his place I got the guitar and finished the song.
Oscar, as it is now a classic, your first recorded song, "Chora Tua Tristeza,"
became a national hit in Brazil and generated over fifty covers recorded by various artists. What was it like to hear your music in general, celebrated by so many Artists'
cover versions of your song?
What a feeling. First of all, going to the studio and hearing it orchestrated for the first time... rhythm section, strings horns, the works. The guitar player in the orchestra was Badden Powell,
who also became a good friend.
A month after it was released, I woke up one morning and the milkman was passing my window, singing the song. I ran outside in my pajamas yelling; You're singing my song, You're singing my song...
The guy, not really believing me,
looked at me with a funny face and said; "Yeahhhhh..."
I'll never forget it.
While building the foundation of your Career in your native Brazil, Oscar, you also worked with Dorival [Dori] Caymmi, the godfather of Bahian-rooted Afro-Brazilian sounds,
an ongoing collaboration that has lasted even to this day... Tell us of how you first came to work together with your friend, Brazilian Legend Vocalist & Composer,
Dori Caymmi in Brazil?
First of all... Dorival Caymmi is all that you said. Dori Caymmi is his son, also an incredible composer and arranger. He lives in Los Angeles, CA. ...Dorival lived across the street and Dori used to come to my apartment. He was 3 years younger, and
at that age, when you are that young it makes a lot of difference.
He is a very dear friend. Regarding Dorival, we first worked together in a show produced by Aloyso Oiveira, featuring
Dorival Caymmi, Vinicus de Moraes,
the vocal group "Quarteto em Cy" and my band. I also was the musical director.
The show ran for a year.
And we come to the time that You first met fellow Brazilian,
Legend Antonio Carlos Jobim.
Tell us about that and what it meant to You, yourself Oscar, to be one of founding pioneers of the great Bossa Nova phenomenon that captured the whole world?
I met Jobim when I was 16. My brother Mario found his name in the phone book (isn't that so simple?) and called him... "Hi Tom
this is Mario Castro-Neves." Tom said,
"Yeah, I know you guys, what is it?"
Mario said... "We have a garage with a piano, would you like to come, have a beer and make some music?" He said,
"Give me an hour." He came and became a friend and in the years to come we worked many times together.
As we start to travel to the U.S. in the next segment of this week's Interview,
of when You first came to the U.S.,
tell us Oscar, for our new OL Viewers,
in general, simply... What is the musical magic behind the Bossa Nova and what does it mean to You on the most deepest depth of the soul?
First, like the golden age of American Music, the music of the Bossa Nova repertoire is music of the highest caliber, poetically, musically and harmonically.
Second, when João Gilberto created this rhythm with his guitar, He decanted all the myriad of rhythm figures of the samba into a minimalist synthesis that not only captivated Brazil but also allowed the music to travel.
Thank you very much Oscar, for coming on as our Special Guest Artist. Is there any music commentary you'd like to share with the viewers, in concluding this OL Interview
1 of 7 segment?
Thanks for this opportunity,
and I look forward to our conversations.
We look forward tomorrow in Part 2 of this 7 part Oceanliner Notes Weekly Series,
where Brazilian great Guitarist Composer & Arranger Oscar Castro-Neves comes to the U.S. for the first time... on the path of his phenomenal musical journey & more...! Thank you Oscar. We'll see you tomorrow!
And thank you all for visiting
OL's Oceanliner Notes Weekly!