by Oliver Wang
Finding a good summer tune amongst the immense Brazilian catalog feels like cheating; how is the country that perfected bossa nova, samba, and tropicália going to make it hard for one to find an ideal set of tracks for the season?
That said, it means a song like this must stand on the shoulders of giants:
From 12" (Polydor, 1977)
"Onda" means "wave" so this is already a summer song by intent but that wouldn't mean much if Cassiano (a contemporary of Tim Maia) didn't pull everything together with a song that mostly feels like one long chorus but it's a hook that's so good, so easy to find yourself singing without realizing it, you don't want to hear it end. The first time I heard this, I thought they were singing "all night" rather than "onda" but someone, my accidental substitution seemed to fit the song just as well.
One more on the Brazilian tip:
Jay Dee: Rico Suave Bossa Nova
From Welcome to Detroit (BBE, 2003)
Jay Dee, aka J-Dilla was one of the early hip-hop producers to recognize the remarkable melodic and rhythmic possibilities of working Brazilian styles into his production and this tune was a small, but memorable, tribute. RIP. (By the way, Quantic (Will Holand) shared a previously unreleased cumbia version of this song, called "Cumbia De Dilla" on the new "Best of Quantic" mix done by KCRW's Jeremy Sole. It's around 22 minutes in).