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Bossa nova is a style of Brazilian music popularized by Antônio Carlos Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes and João Gilberto. Bossa nova (which is Portuguese for "new trend") acquired a large following, initially by young musicians and college students. Although the bossa nova movement only lasted six years (1957–63), it contributed a number of songs to the standard jazz repertoire.

The musical style evolved from samba but is more complex harmonically and is less percussive. The influence on bossa nova of jazz styles such as cool jazz is often debated by historians and fans, but a similar "cool sensibility" is apparent. Bossa nova was developed in Brazil in 1958 by Gilberto, with Elizete Cardoso's recording of Chega de Saudade in Canção do Amor Demais. Composed by de Moraes (lyrics) and Jobim (music), the song was soon after released by Gilberto himself.

The initial releases by Gilberto and the 1959 film, Black Orpheus brought huge popularity in Brazil and elsewhere in Latin America, which spread to North America by way of visiting American jazz musicians. The resulting recordings by Charlie Byrd and Stan Getz cemented its popularity and led to a worldwide boom with 1963's Getz/Gilberto, numerous recordings by famous jazz performers such as Ella Fitzgerald (Ella Abraça Jobim) and Frank Sinatra (Francis Albert Sinatra & Antônio Carlos Jobim), and the entrenchment of the bossa nova style as a lasting influence in world music for several decades and even up to the present.

The first bossa nova single was perhaps the most successful of all time: The Getz/Gilberto recording "The Girl from Ipanema" edited to include only the singing of Astrud Gilberto (Gilberto's then-wife). The resulting fad was not unlike the disco craze of the 1970s. The genre would withstand substantial "watering down" by popular artists throughout the next four decades.

An early influence of bossa nova was the song "Dans mon île" by French singer Henri Salvador, featured in a 1957 Italian movie distributed in Brazil (Europa di notte by Alessandro Blasetti) and covered later by Brazilian artists Eumir Deodato (Los Danseros en Bolero - 1964) and Caetano Veloso himself (Outras Palavras - 1981). In 2005, Henri Salvador was awarded the Brazilian Order of Cultural Merit, which he received from singer and Minister of Culture, Gilberto Gil, in the presence of President Lula for his influence on Brazilian culture. .

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