An Ode to Heloísa

By Brianna Duggan

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Yeah, I think they were right. It just doesn’t have the same ring to it as “The Girl from Ipanema.”

You know the song I’m talking about, don’t you? It goes something like, dun dun dun dun dun dun dun-duh-dun?

That doesn’t help? Watch this:

Now do you remember?

Well it turns out that The Girl From Ipanema actually existed!

Her name is Heloísa Eneida Menezes Paes Pinto and throughout the 1960s lived in the stylish Ipanema district of Rio de Janiero. Each day she would walk past the popular Veloso bar-café, not just “to the sea,” but on her daily commute, sometimes stopping inside to buy cigarettes for her mother.

One such day she walked past the songwriter, Vinicius de Moraes, and inspired him to write the hit song. The album won a Grammy for Record of the Year in 1965.

What struck the songwriter about this girl over all others? Moraes once wrote that she was “the paradigm of the young Carioca (a person from Rio de Janiero): a golden teenage girl, a mixture of flower and mermaid, full of light and grace, the sight of whom is also sad, in that she carries with her, on her route to the sea, the feeling of youth that fades, of the beauty that is not ours alone—it is a gift of life in its beautiful and melancholic constant ebb and flow [translated].”

How poetic! No wonder he was a songwriter.

Join us for a celebration of this girl, and a country full of such girls (and men!) at our 3rd annual A NIGHT IN RIO: The Brazilian Carnival Experience, taking place on February 18 at the Neighborhood Theatre in Charlotte. Along with The Girl from Ipanema we will feature more Bossa Nova with music by Reinaldo Brahn as well as other styles including samba and a live batucada.

And who knows, maybe you will be driven to write a song of your own. The girl from North Davidson, perhaps?

You’ll just have to come and find your own inspiration.

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