Sergio Mendes: Filipino fans in for a ‘musical journey’
Sergio Mendes, one of the most successful Brazilian artists of all time, promises his Filipino fans a “musical journey” tonight, Saturday, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, where he will hold a concert to celebrate the 50th year of his band Brasil ’66.
In an interview with the Inquirer, Mendes says he and his band will perform all of the classics that Filipinos have loved all these years, including “Girl from Ipanema”, “One Note Samba”, “Mas Que Nada” and “Never Gonna Let You Go”, which he says was a particularly big hit in the Philippines.
Mendes says he is looking forward to the performance tonight as he has always felt at home in the Philippines, with its great audience and affinity with Brazilian music.
“It is always a great feeling to be in the Philippines. I love performing there,” says Mendes in a phone interview.
It also helps that he is coming over to see his old friend Jorge L. Araneta, CEO of the Araneta Group of Companies, who extended the invitation for him to come over and perform once again for his Filipino fans.
“We go a long way back,” Mendes says of Araneta, “I feel honored. He was the first to bring me to the Philippines.”
The March 12 concert is an especially important event for Mendes as it is a celebration of 50 years since Brasil ’66 captured the imagination of a global audience, putting Brazilian music in the limelight.
Mendes says he still cannot believe that he has been able to perform for so long and that bossa nova, which he helped become popular across the globe, transcending cultures, language and genres, continues to connect with old and new audiences.
The producer, composer, keyboardist and vocalist, who has recorded 40 albums so far throughout his career, attributes this rare feat to the “great melodies” that bossa nova – or new trend – brings to the musical table.
The three-time Grammy Award winner has been sharing his music with the audience since 1961 with Dance Moderno and the groups Bossa Rio and the Sergio Mendes Trio. From the mid-1960s to the late 1970s, Mendes established his status by taking numerous albums and singles to the top of the charts.
But it was Mendes and Brasil ’66 that led to global stardom, starting with the performance of “The Look of Love” during the 1968 Oscars, followed by “The Fool on the Hill” and “Scarborough Fair,” classics given that touch of Brazilian rhythm.
His single “Mas Que Nada,” according to his website, marked the first time that a song sung entirely in Portuguese hit Billboard’s Pop chart in the United States.
“Mendes’ signature mix of bossa nova and samba and his distinctive pop instrumentation feature melodies with distinct sophistication and alluring sexiness that ultimately came to define Brazilian music for many music enthusiasts around the world,” it said.
The iconic album “Herb Alpert Presents Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66” has been inducted to the Grammy Hall of Fame, joining Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA”, Rolling Stones “Exile on Main St”, Dr. Martin Luther King jR.s “I Have A Dream” speech and others in the 2012 class of historically significant recordings.
One artist who has had a profound influence on Mendes’ career is Antonio Carlos Jobim, known in the industry as the primary force behind the creation of bossa nova and the composer of “Garota de Ipanema” (The Girl from Ipanema), which has been recorded over 200 times by other artists.
Mendes describes Maestro Jobim as a master of songwriting and melody, the techniques of which he is still trying to get better at.
“Maestro has written more than 600 songs and all of them were wonderful. It is all about the melodies, very romantic, sensual and happy,” says Mendes.
And happy is what he promises Filipinos will feel during this special trip down memory lane. That and celebration.
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