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JOÃO GILBERTO │ Recife, Cidade Lendária

Lourenço da Fonseca Barbosa, better known as "Capiba" (1904 ~1997) was an excellent musician and composer of Brazilian Popular Music.

Among his many and varied compositions, the song " Recife, Cidade Lendária " (Recife, Legendary City) stands out, his personal tribute to the differentiated city of Recife.

This unique Brazilian city is located in the Northeast of Brazil and belongs to the State of Pernambuco (PE).

" Recife, Cidade Lendária " talks about the colonial past, the charms of the city, its magic, its music and its traditions.

In 2000, after a thorough and complete restoration of the Santa Isabel Theater, João Gilberto was invited to re-inaugurate it.

Santa Isabel Theater (1870) │ Recife
Santa Isabel Theater (1870) │ Recife

The Organization of the event had agreed with the musician and his entourage, the arrival of the artist to the city a few days before, for the logical contact, sound tests, promotion and dissemination of the show in the Media.

On Wednesday, the day scheduled for his arrival, João Gilberto did not arrive.

The next day, Thursday, neither.

Nobody answered the musician's contact phone number, so it was impossible to get any information and/or coherent explanation about what was happening.

On Friday morning, the musicians from the musical show arrived and João Gilberto still did not appear.

Then the miracle happened.

The driver in charge of being "on standby" at the airport decided to take a last look around the airport's waiting rooms and by chance he found João Gilberto in the disembarkation area.

He was alone, sitting with the violin case between his legs, looking into infinity....

João had arrived on his own on a flight other than the scheduled flight of the Vasp airline, and he had done so on his own, without notifying anyone at all.

Those who attended the events say that João Gilberto performed two wonderful, impeccable and unrepeatable Concerts.

And if everything was excellent, perhaps the most outstanding thing was the surprise inclusion in the repertoire of the song " Recife, Cidade Lendária ."

It is easy to imagine the excitement of the audience, hearing for the first and only time (to date) João Gilberto performing the song that his grandparents or parents sang.

That song they grew up with and as with most popular songs, they are only in the memory of the oldest.

João Gilberto never recorded and never sang " ao vivo " again this work of art. That time was the premiere and closing of the song.

As a preview of the unofficial recording of the complete Concert in .mp3 player located at the end of the article, BOSSA NOVA CLUBE wants to share with you the wonderful song " Recife, Cidade Lendária", performed by João Gilberto.


I walk through Recife, in the endless nights...

I travel through distant neighborhoods, always to listen: Luanda (capital of Angola),

Luanda where are you...?

It is the soul of the black man suffering...

Recife, Legendary City

Of black women from the sugar cane factory, smelling of sweet honey

Recife of old buildings, quiet, dark, beautiful to see...

Recife, your beautiful gardens welcome the breeze that we see from the high sea...
Recife, your beautiful gardens welcome the breeze that we see from the high sea...

Recife, your beautiful gardens receive the breeze that comes from the high sea

Recife, your sky so beautiful

It has moonlit nights for us to sing

Recife of serenades living the glory in the heart of Terreiro (ceremonial place of Candomblé)

Recife de Maracatús (Afro-Brazilian folk culture)

From the distant times of D. Pedro I (King of Portugal-Brazil)

.Recife of Maracatús two distant times of Pedro I...
Recife from Maracatús two distant times of Pedro I...

Answer what I'm going to ask you:

What happened to your lanterns...

Where in ancient times the bohemians sang their beautiful songs.

Recife, have you had two lamps...?
Recife, have you had two lamps...?

In this interpretation, undoubtedly worked on for hundreds of hours for the occasion, each syllable, word, phrase, stanza, intonation, breath, silence, rhythm, separately and together, conveys emotion.

João Gilberto sometimes seems to leave the "coherent" established musical order, but in reality he enters into another superior harmony, into a sophisticated personal balance of a refined voice in curious combination with silence.

All this accompanied with a progressive chain of dissonant chords in perfect time and offbeat.

Only he has the master formula of this musical beauty...!

▲ Concert by João Gilberto │ Live in Recife (PE) │ December 2000

This post is dedicated to my friend from Pernambuco, Marcílio Brandão , and his father , Mr. Mauricy do Carmelo Silva .

They both personally knew "Capiba", musician and composer of the song " Recife, Cidade Lendaria ". Salve seu Mauricy, who in addition to being a work colleague of "Capiba" at the time, shared his hobby as a musician with the prestigious Brazilian composer.

PS ► This post was originally published on on 10/26/2015

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