You Know What Song This Will Be About

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

If you follow (or have heard of) the Brazilian experimental-percussion group Uakti, you probably are already aware that they have done their own interpretation of The World’s Greatest Song, Águas de Março by Antonio Carlos “Tom” Jobim.

If, like me, you hadn’t known about Uakti, then this version will be as new to you as it is to me. Very much as with the marvelous David Byrne-Marisa Montes interpretation mentioned earlier, the group is clearly playing with the song, rather than just playing it. But worth knowing about and listening to.

Tim Heffernan, who previously sleuthed out the Slovenian rendition of Aguas, came up with this one too.


We’ve gone this far, why not a little more! Here is a lusher-sounding version with jazz-group backup, flutist, female chorus, and trio of male singers, one of whom is Tom Jobim himself. As happens to us all, he is a decade older and a little heavier than in the glory of his early-1970s duet with Elis Regina. But here goes, with the others in the trio being Chico Buarque and Caetano Veloso:

The reader who sent in this orchestral version adds:

There are many versions in Gal Costa’s pure, beautiful voice, including on the album Rio Revisited with Jobim [for instance this one].

She’s one of the four Doces Bárbaros from Bahía — along with Maria Bethânia, Gilberto Gil, and Caetano Veloso.


We’ve gone this far ….  So now I give you Stevie Wonder, introducing Tom Jobim’s grandson Daniel, live in concert!