(So Nice) Summer Samba (Marcos Valle) Vocal and Piano by Sangah Noona with Lyrics
“Summer Samba” (also known as “So Nice” or its original Portuguese title, “Samba de Verão“) is a 1964 bossa nova song by Brazilian composer Marcos Valle, with English-language lyrics by Norman Gimbel; the original Portuguese lyrics came from Paulo Sérgio Valle, brother to the composer.
The song was first popularized by the Walter Wanderley Trio in 1966 — the album Rain Forest on which it was issued reached platinum status in 1970 — also reaching the U.S. “Easy Listening” chart in versions by Johnny Mathis, Vikki Carr, and Connie Francis during that same year. In fact, at least one source claims that three different versions were on the Billboard charts at the same time in 1966. Allmusic has said of Wanderley’s version, “His recording … is regarded as perhaps a more definitive bossa tune than “Girl From Ipanema.” Wanderley’s version was the biggest seller in the U.S., reaching #26 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1966, (#3 on the Easy Listening chart) , and is still a favourite on Adult Standards radio stations.
Samba is a Brazilian music genre and dance style, with its roots in Africa via the West African slave trade and African religious traditions, particularly of Congo, through the samba de roda genre of the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia, from which it derived. Although there were various forms of samba in Brazil with popular rhythms originated from African drumming and the African structures of polyrhythm of Beat and Off-Beat, Time-Line-Pattern and the elementary pulse, that are performed by different instruments of the bateria of the samba schools of the famous Samba-Enredo, that has its origins in Rio de Janeiro.
Samba is recognized around the world as a symbol of Brazil and the Brazilian Carnival. Considered one of the most popular Brazilian cultural expressions, the samba has become an icon of Brazilian national identity.The Bahian Samba de Roda (dance circle), was added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List in 2005. It is the main root of the samba carioca, the samba that is played and danced in Rio de Janeiro.
The modern samba that emerged at the beginning of the 20th century is predominantly in a 2/4 time signature varied with the conscious use of a sung chorus to a batucada rhythm, with various stanzas of declaratory verses. Traditionally, the samba is played by strings (cavaquinho and various types of guitar) and various percussion instruments such as tamborim. Influenced by American orchestras in vogue since the Second World War and the cultural impact of US music post-war, samba began to use trombones, trumpets, choros, flutes, and clarinets.
In addition to distinct rhythms and meters, samba brings a whole historical culture of food, varied dances (miudinho, coco, samba de roda, and pernada), parties, clothes such as linen shirts, and the Naif painting of established names such as Nelson Sargento, Guilherme de Brito, and Heitor dos Prazeres. Anonymous community artists, including painters, sculptors, designers, and stylists, make the clothes, costumes, carnival floats, and cars, opening the doors of schools of samba. There is also a great tradition of ballroom samba in Brazil, with many styles. Samba de Gafieira is the style more famous in Rio de Janeiro, where common people used to go to the gafieira parties since the 1930s, and where the moves and identity of this dance emerged, getting more and more different from its African, European, and Cuban origins and influences.
The National Samba Day is celebrated on December 2. The date was established at the initiative of Luis Monteiro da Costa, an alderman of Salvador, in honor of Ary Barroso. He composed “Na Baixa do sapateiro” even though he had never been in Bahia. Thus 2 December marked the first visit of Ary Barroso to Salvador. Initially, this day was celebrated only in Salvador, but eventually it turned into a national holiday.
Samba is a local style in Southeastern Brazil and Northeast Brazil, especially in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Salvador and Recife. Its importance as Brazil’s national music transcends region, however; samba schools, samba musicians, and carnival organizations centered on the performance of samba exist in every region of the country, even though other musical styles prevail in various regions (for instance, in Southern Brazil, Center-West Brazil, and all of the Brazilian countryside, música sertaneja, music of the sertão, or Brazilian country music, is the most popular style).
The etymology of samba is uncertain. Possibilities include:
- The Portuguese verb sambar, to do joiner’s work; and the Portuguese noun sambúco (Latin sambuca), a historic string instrument, a kind of harp or lyre.
- It is uncertain whether the African semba dance is related to the Brazilian Samba, and whether it is older or newer, beyond the superficial similarity of name and style. In only two Bantu languages does the verb-root “semba” mean “dance”, while in others it denotes unrelated things like “hunger” or “cloth” (but not “belly”).
One of the oldest records of the word samba appeared in Pernambuco magazine’s O carapuceiro, dated February 1838, when Father Miguel Lopes Gama of Sacramento wrote against what he called “the samba d’almocreve” – not referring to the future musical genre, but a kind of merriment (dance drama) popular for black people of that time. According to Hiram Araújo da Costa, over the centuries, the festival of dances of slaves in Bahia were called samba.
In the middle of the 19th century, the word samba defined different types of music made by African slaves when conducted by different types of Batuque, but it assumed its own characteristics in each Brazilian state, not only by the diversity of tribes for slaves, but also the peculiarity of each region in which they were settlers. Some of these popular dances were known as Baião, Bochinche, Candombe (Candomblé), Catêrêtê, Caxambú, Choradinho, Côco-inchádo, Cocumbí, Córta-jáca, Cururú, Furrundú, Jongo, Lundú, Maracatú, Maxíxe, Quimbête, São-Gonçalo, Saramba; not to mention the many varieties of the Portuguese Fandango, and the Indio dance Puracé.