David Cook

CARNIVAL

Remembering Tom Jobim’s One Note Samba

 

 

now a crimson note is sounding

petal falling through the breeze 

 

remembrance of a single plucked note -

other notes will swiftly follow

 

dancers touch and sway together

steady themselves against the one note -

 

passionate energetic couples

spinning in each other’s orbit

 

electric through the hours past midnight

caressing as the dawn approaches

 

leave the dance still slowly dancing

night and day poured into one note -

 

essence of the unending samba      

love distilled in just one note

Commentary

The Mardi Gras Carnival in Rio de Janeiro is probably the world’s biggest party. An ocean of colour, noise and music, and held together by the unceasing and unceasingly changing rhythms of the samba.

 

Antonio Carlos Jobim’s bossa nova compositions, based on the samba, and popularised in the US by Stan Getz, Joao and Astrud Gilberto, still haunt the popular imagination. Their dreamy arrangements are very different from the flamboyance of the Carnival, but they too are interwoven with the samba beat. My personal favourite is One Note Samba. It uses the idea that one is not only the first number, but the undivided one that precedes all number. Repetition becomes sincerity becomes love. Wonderful! Here follows my own small tribute to the vitality of Brazil. Let us hope the full brilliance of the festival returns in 2022, after its cancellation in 2021.

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