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Student: Glaci Maria Hoffmann de Oliveira

Teacher: Paulo Ramos



Bento Gonçalves, R, Brazil, November 1995

Best thanks to:

Ramos, Paulo. ICBNA teacher and adviser in this projetct;
Gomes, Fabio. Who supported with relevant material on Tom Jobim and Bossa Nova.


The objective of this project is to investigate a little bit about the career of the most remarkable Brazilian composer, Antonio Carlos Brasileiro de Almeida Jobim (Tom), focusing his childhood; first occupations; his presentations in the greatest moment of the Bossa Nova - Rio, August, 1962; his effective performance at the Carnegie Hall - New York, November, 1962, some relevant data about who was in fact "the girl from Ipanema" and, analyse under grammar and literaty aspects the lyrics "How Insensitive".

Antonio Carlos Brasileiro de Almeida Jobim (Tom)

(Photo: Ana Jobim)

He was Born on January 25th, 1927, in Rio de Janeiro - Brazil and first met a piano when his step father bought a second hand one to his sister Helena. It was rather old and had some missing keys. The piano was placed in the garage because their house wasn't large enough. Helena didn't pay attention or care to the piano but Tom did.

At the age of twelve he started taking classes with the German Hans Joachim Koellreuter. Later he attended one year the Architeture College but left it to dedicate only to Music. He studied orchestration by himself, listening to records and comparing score.

He was a piano player at night clubs in Rio and his first record happened in the early 50s. In 1954 he had recorded, among others, the Rio de Janeiro Simphony through what people discovered his real and high qualities as a composer.

He became nationaly famous in 1958 with "Chega de Saudade" added to previuos successes like "Foi a Noite", "Desafinado" end "Samba de uma Nota Só" and, more yet because he started composing with Vinicius de Moraes, the songs to the play "Orfeu da Conceição".

His career took international impulse from November 62 ahead, when he performed a well succeeded "Bossa Nova" show at Carnegie Hall in New York where he was already known among many musicians as The composer of 'Desafinado'". After that, he shared his time between NY and Rio. NY most. Recording with many contemporaty singers and musicians from Brazil and USA, includind Francis Albert Sinatra and Sting.

He died in December 8th, 1994 in the Mount Sinai Hospital, near his house in NY, of a heat failure after being submited to a surgery.

Rio, August 1962 - Au Bon Gourmet, restaurant and night club

Tom Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes

Flavio Ramos, a well konwn businessman in Rio has recently bought, remodeled and changed into modern conception the restaurant Au Bon Gourmet which was already famous in Rio thanks to the surname of its customers.

To the opening night, the new owner, exosted by listening to twist and hully-gully everywhere, planned a Bossa Nova show and invited no less than João Gilberto, Tom Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes followed by Os Cariocas band. It overcame Ramos' expectations and lasted 45 night performances with permanent full house.

The top of Bossa Nova was there and going on: songs like "Desafinado", "Samba da Bênção", "Samba de uma Nota Só", "Corcovado", "Garota de Ipanema", "How insensitive", "Se Todos Fossem Iguais a Você" among many others.

New York - November 1962 - Carnegie Hall

Carnegie Hall

After the great success at Au Bom Gourmet Tom & Vinicius didn't work toghether enymore but the friendness lated forever between them, indepedant how distant they were.

Many facts which preceded the Brazilian musicians performance at the Carnegie Hall could be compared to a tragedy or a comedy, depending on the corner one analises the facts.

Tom Jobim took part in the large meeting which had the aim to select the best of contemporary Brazilian music unter the managing of Sidney Frey. In the audience, stars like Tonny Bennett, Peggy Lee, Dizzy Gillespie, Milles Davis, Gerry Mulligan, Erroll Garner and Herbie Mann. That meeting would change Tom's career forever.

He was quite nervous and, consequently unconfortable at the moment of his presentation and like other made mistakes but suddenly he stoped, breathed and had the cleverness to re-start from the beggining.

Among the Brazilian people Tom was but the only one who could speak English and he perfectly did it at the end of his performance: "It's my first time in New York and I'm very, very, very glad to be here. I'm loving the people, the town, everything. I'm very happy to be with you." Those words joined to his recognizable talent won the American musician people.

How Insensitive (lyrics)

Song: Antonio Carlos Jobim
Lyrics: Vinicius de Moraes
Translation to English Norman Gimbel

1.How insensitive
2. I must have seemed
3. When she told me that she loved me
4. How unmoved and cold
5. I must have seemed
6. When she told me so sincerely

7. Why she have asked
8. Did I just turn and stare in icy silence
9. What was I to say
10. What can you say
11. When a love affair is over

12.Now she's gona away
13. And I'm alone
14. With a memory of her last look
15. Vague and drawn and sad
16. I see it still
17. All her heartbreak in her last look
18. How she must have asked
19. Could I just turn and stare in icy silence
20. What was I to do
21. What can one do
22. When a love affair is over

How Insensitive - comments

The lyrics tell us about a regretful male who now reflect about his past reaction facing, but not involved with, the end of a relationship.

At lines 4 and 5 he refers to himself as unable one to deal with the situation, when she declared she loved him, line 3, instead he stared wordless.

Through the metaphors "cold and icy silence" he represents the absence of emotion or passion in which now the former love was turned into. "Ice" here is used to replace love which people understand "worm".

We can also observe his complete astonishment don't knowing what to say or what can say - lines 9 and 10, what changes in something suitable to everyone at lines 20-21 "what was I to do, what can one do" at an specific hard moment: "when a love affair is over".

In the third stanza he glances to the past considering that "now she's gone away and I'm alone with the memory of her last look" lines 12, 13 and 14. It reveals the detail that now he's painful for hasn't been, at least, a bit tender with her. Even if he wasn't in love, he feels he could have been friendly, a little, with her.

Considering the structure "I must have seemed" and "She must have asked", line 2 and 18 the vocabulary is very easy. Ordinary adjetives like unmoved, cold, alone, vague and sad are in your everyday conversation, only "drawn" is seldom used.

The girl from Ipanema - who was she?

Helô Pinheiro

It's not true that the song "The girl from Ipanema" was written and composed at a cafe called Veloso and now a days called Garota de Ipanema, on the corner of Vinicius de Moraes and Prudente de Moraes streets, in Ipanema, Rio.

Tom and Vinicius never produced at a public place, neither togehter nor alone. The Veloso were to them a place to share friendship, play and sing, talk and drink, drink a lot of whisky.

Tom composed the melody at his house in Rio and Vinicius wrote the lyrics in his winter houser in Petrópolis. Originally the poem was rather different in meaning and previously destinated to a play under the tittle of "The girl who goes by".

The girl herself was a student who Tom and Vinicius watched numberless times going or coming to/from school, the beach, the dentist, shopping... and who lived nearby the Veloso cause that was his way to go/come everywhere.

Heloisa Eneida Menezes Paes Pinto, called Helô, 15, 1,69 tall, green eyes and long black hair. Sometimes she entered at Veloso to buy cigarretes to her mother. People there held their breathes.

Importan Brazilian and American singers recorded that song. Singer like Pery Ribeiro, Tamba Trio and Claudete Soares in Brazil and Nat King Cole, Peggy Lee and Sarah Vaughan in USA at those times.

Helô herself whistled the tune on her way to the beach. Her father, a hard and conservative Army officer, prohibited the reporters to approuch her, interview and take photos of her. She was already 18 and engaged with a young from a tradicional family when they were told that Helô was, in fact, the girl of the song. Her father and her fiance didn't permit her to accept to invitation of being the simbol of Rio 400 years anniversary. Later, already married they didn't permit her to be the main actress of the movie with the same polemic name of the song.

However, in the May 1987 edition of Playboy Brazilian Magazine, readers from all Brazil could admire in details her plenty generous beauty and sensuality, even 25 years after the cration of the song.


To finish we can also add he composed over 300 songs, alone or in partnership with famous Brazilian and American lyric writers and also with his family.

"Tone" as he was called by Frank Sinatra belonged to a generation who remarked the nature value and the care people have to take with the earth. He found lyricism everywhere. He played and sang the tree, the bird, the wind, the forest, the wave and the sea, the cloud and the ski, the boat and the whistrle of a train or the flight over the city. Everything could stimulate him to create. More than that he was the composer of the universal love, painful or happy love.


Castro, Ruy. Chega de Saudade. Companhia das Letras, SP, 1991
Echeverria, Regina. Furacão Elis. Círculo do Livro, Rio, 1985.
Vários autores. O Som do Pasquim. Codecri, Rio, 1976.
VEJA (magazine). Editora Abril. - December 14th, 1994.
TIME (magazine). December 19th, 1994.
Martins, Dileta Silveira e Zilberknop, Lubia Scliar. Português Instrumental. Prodil Ltda. Porto Alegre, 1989.
Hornby, A.S. Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary of Current English. Oxford University Press, 1989.


JOBIM Antonio Carlos. Antonio Brasileiro. Globo Columbia. Rio 1994.
SINATRA Frank. Francis Albert Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim. Warner Bros Records Inc. NY 1967.

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