‘Whatever,’ as they say in Brazil.

Brazil flag.

Regular readers of this blog will already know that I am a great lover of Brazilian music, but how far that goes back is hard to gauge. I do remember as an eight or nine year old dancing around the living room to Mas Que Nada by Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66.

I knew I should be following my big brothers’ lead and listening to the Beatles, Stones, Kinks, Fleetwood Mac and the myriad of other rock ‘n roll acts of our generation but I was moved by the groove of this exotic music.

Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66

The sound may be a bit ‘easy listening’ or even cheesy to some but I would rigorously defend it as the first introduction of a Bossa Nova/Jazz/Samba song in the mainstream market of it’s time.

In 1962 trumpeter Herb Alpert had a bit of an itch (possibly a Spanish Flea from one of those pesky Tijuana Brass) and decided to start a record label with businessman Jerry Moss. One of the first acts A & M signed was Brazilian pianist Sergio and his Brasil ’66 cohorts. The band was put together in California and was only 50% Brazilian with it’s lead singer Lani Hall (later Mrs. Alpert) hailing from Chicago.

A&M Record label

Mas Que Nada was written by George Best – sorry that should read Jorge Ben in 1962. Easy mistake. The title translates as a sarcastic ‘Yeah, right’, ‘no way !’ or in today’s teenage parlance ‘whatever !’

Oari rai
Oba oba boa
Get out of my way
That I wanna pass
Because samba is really exciting
And I wanna dance [samba]

This samba
That is mixed with maracatu*
It’s an old black man’s samba
Black man’s samba
A samba like this is so nice
You won’t want me to come to the end

(*a regional rhythm from the Brazilian northeast.)

Yes, well! I guess some things just shouldn’t be translated !

Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66

The song got a makeover in 2006 with the Black Eyed Peas making it a rap hit. Dreadful in my opinion though if it gets people interested in hearing the ‘original’ version that’s all good and well. Personally I prefer Al Jarreau’s 1994 version from his Tenderness album.

So excuse me as I grab my caxixis (!) and samba about the living room !



(Post by John Allan from Bridgetown, Western Australia – April 2023)

4 thoughts on “‘Whatever,’ as they say in Brazil.”

  1. You go! As a cover song guy I can tell you that you’re apparently not alone in your love for Brazilian music. Songwriters and their songs are definitely hitting above their weight as they are among the most covered , Antônio Carlos Jobim is the 12 th most recorded author of all time.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m not familiar with much Brazilian music at all but I wouldn’t doubt they have some good things happening there with the Latin beats and the European influences, plus a huge population. I do remember Brazil 66 a bit from when I was a kid. I think my dad might have had a couple of their records and liked them, i didn’t pay a lot of attention to them but they seemed pretty good.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s