Flashback: See Eartha Kitt Introduce Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66 Performance of ‘Mas Que Nada’

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Bandleader Sérgio Mendes, the godfather of bossa nova, was Brazil’s most celebrated artist within the Sixties. His hottest recording, “Mas Que Nada,” was initially penned and carried out by singer-guitarist Jorge Ben, a former member of Mendes’ band. According to Ruy Castro’s 1990 e-book Bossa Nova: The Story of the Brazilian Music That Seduced the World, Ben went out for a haircut earlier than a present in Los Angeles and, underneath America’s pervasive Jim Crow legal guidelines, the Afro-Brazilian was turned away. It was then that Ben allegedly dropped off the tour and purchased a one-way ticket again to South America — his music, nevertheless, remained with Mendes.

That similar yr, a navy junta took over Brazil, using a fierce nationalism and anti-imperialism that eschewed all Western cultural affect. It was then that Mendes made a house within the United States the place, with the assistance of Herb Alpert and his dwelling label A&M Records, Mendes would assemble a band of Americans and Brazilian exiles known as Brasil ’66. In their rendition of “Mas Que Nada,” Ben’s throaty wails are changed by the discreet chirps of Lani Hall and Bibi Vogel, trailing after a brisk samba rhythm. Here, they’re launched by Eartha Kitt on her 1967 “Something Special” — by which she opened with a efficiency of “I’m a Different Kind of Cat” — praising them for providing “a brand new look, a brand new sound, a brand new method” to leisure.

Their debut file, Herb Alpert Presents: Sérgio Mendes and Brasil ’66, hit gold within the United States and ascend to the Top Ten of the Billboard 200. Meanwhile in Brazil, the anti-authoritarian, countercultural motion referred to as Tropicália was starting to take form, leaving the apolitical bossa nova period within the mud. The music stays a staple of Brazilian music historical past to today. Mendes later re-recorded his hit in 2006 with the Black Eyed Peas, however the 1966 model solely will get higher with age.