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Brazilian ‘Bossa Nova’ couple performs in Kuwait

(From left) Photo shows Norton de Andrade Mello Rapesta, Ambassador of Brazil to Kuwait, musicians Olivia and Francis Hime posing yesterday in Kuwait. — Photo by Joseph Shagra

The Embassy of Brazil, in cooperation with Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah, organized ‘Waves of Brazil’, a bossa nova concert originally developed and popularized in Brazil in the 1950s and 1960s. The event was held at Yarmouk Cultural Center. The performers – famous couple Olivia and Francis Hime – have been in the music industry since childhood.

Bossa nova style started in the 1950s on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro. The genre can be traced back to inventors Antonio Carlos Jobim (Tom Jobim), a gifted composer, and Joao Gilberto, guitarist and singer, both from Rio. It was discovered by a musician from America who traveled to Brazil and jammed with these two gentlemen. It then quickly spread throughout America, especially during the era of jazz music, around the 1960s.

Although it originated from Brazil, bossa nova spread throughout the world because of its unique style, and you’ll definitely be captivated by the gentleness of sound, softness of beat and beautiful style it offers to listeners.  “The style is cool, different from other musical genres.  But you will really appreciate the music if you listen to it. Music is a universal language, and this way, we can spread our culture and understand each other through music. I thank our ambassador for coming up with this project to introduce Brazilian music in Kuwait,” said Olivia.

Olivia and Francis have been married for years, and got to know each other during childhood. Most of their lives were spent and evolved performing on stage with their passion and love for music.  “Music is what binds me and my wife. We share our talents with everyone. This is our life – we are connected to people through our music. We are working and learning every day,” said Francis, who is a well-known composer in Brazil with 26 popular albums and counting.  “We go around the world to promote Brazilian music,” he added.

According to Olivia, she is in love with Kuwait and how people can be easily dealt with. “Right after the concert, I talked to people here, especially the younger ones. I also spoke with older Kuwaitis and they really appreciate our music.  But I also have to appreciate their fantastic music. So it’s worth sharing music with people,” she enthused.

Speaking to Kuwait Times, Norton de Andrade Mello Rapesta, Ambassador of Brazil to Kuwait, said Brazil is more than a football country. “Brazil is more than Neymar and Ronaldo – it is way more than the carnival, samba and parade of beautiful people, more than street parties and dance; more than Sadia chicken – we have lots more to offer. It is for the very reason why we organized this cultural concert to promote our country and our people,” he said.

According to Rapesta, Brazil and Kuwait will celebrate 50 years of fruitful bilateral cooperation next year, and one of the ways of reintroducing Brazil in Kuwait is through music. “We are planning more presentations in the coming months as we prepare to celebrate 50 years of bilateral cooperation. This concert is just the beginning,” he told this reporter.

Francis Hime’s career spans for more than 50 years. He is known to represent the best of the second generation of bossa nova. Highly respected by all musicians, he has great hits with Chico Buarque and Vinicius de Moraes, among many others. Some of his songs were recorded by Ellis Regina, Maria Bethania, Tony Bennet, Bill Evans and other top singers. Graduated in classical piano, harmony, composition and a passion for popular music since his early years make him a very special composer able to navigate in a symphony as well as samba.

Olivia Hime studied music theory, flute and piano, besides graduating in drama. She has released 14 albums and 4 DVDs, and is also artistic director and co-founder of Brazilian record label Biscoito Fino. A lyricist, she works mainly with Francis, her partner in life and music.

By Ben Garcia

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