Wednesday, June 7, 2023

My Ipanema

"The Girl From Ipanema" was released in 1963.  The song has been one of the touchstones of my life, the fuel for a thousand romantic dreams.  I'll forever associate it with trips to tropical South Florida with my parents as a young boy.  It was a different world from ours, full of white sand and tropical fish in crystal clear water.  It was thatched tiki huts poolside with men and women drinking colorful cocktails.  It was waterways filled with giant yachts and waterside restaurants serving fresh mahi-mahi.   It was walking on the beach with the sea breeze in our faces at sunset.  It was my father and mother relaxing, laughing, becoming tan and beautiful.  

There was always this song. 

It invented a new style and sound.  It changed music forever.  

I could never trust someone who doesn't love it.  There would simply be something broken inside them.  

So. . . Astrud Gilberto has died.  

She was not "The Girl from Ipanema," though.  It was this woman 

Her name was Heloísa Eneida de Menezes Paes Pinto.  She was nineteen at the time Antonio Carlos Jobim and his collaborator saw her walking by their cafe table day after day.  The song was first recorded by Peri Ribeiro (link), but it wasn't until the Gilberto song hit that she learned that the song was about her.  She went on to become an actress and later a television host, and was forever after considered a national treasure in Brazil.  

I lived out most of the romantic dreams that song inspired.  Many times.  And yet

Each day as she walks to the sea,

She looks straight ahead not at me

. . . She just doesn't see. . . .

Palm Beach of my childhood.  It was my Ipanema.  And so. . .  


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