Delicately Creative: Rosa Passos

by Brazil Club - Let The Music Take You There on 04/04/2018 - 03:20 pm

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Bossa 60: Rosa Passos                                                                                                                 Image - Sony Music

Brazil Club 411:  Bossa Nova is 60 years old. really? We're taking the entire year to celebrate Brazil's timeless song style. This month, Rosa Passos has a birthday, too. Here's how one of Brazil's most talented voices made her mark.



Delicately Creative

Of the many Brazilian musicians we love to follow on Facebook, it’s pretty clear that Rosa Passos is one of the most engaged with both her fans and with her music videos. Bossa Nova turns 60 this year, and her talent plays its part in telling Bossa’s story.

Passos had two albums under her belt by the time Ivan Lins and his songwriting partner Vitor Martins launched their own label, Veles Musica in 1991, and she was quickly signed. Her introduction to American fans came a year later via The Sounds of Brazil with ‘The Best of Rosa Passos’ and her legendary ‘Festa’ album.

First impressions count a lot with Brazilian music fans outside of Brazil, and what struck me initially was her uncanny resemblance to the Father of Bossa Nova, João Gilberto, who was an early inspiration.

Back then, I wrote: “Some say that singer and songwriter Rosa Passos has made a pact with the devil for João Gilberto's musical soul and got the better part of the deal.” One Brazilian journalist wrote "You can't listen to Rosa Passos without falling in love."

Delicately creative on her own terms, Passos steadily rose out of the "best kept secret" category by virtue of her early performances on Kenny Rankin's award-winning "Here In My Heart" CD and a clutch of critically acclaimed solo albums on Brazilian imprints. She recorded and toured with Yo-Yo Ma and received an honorary Doctorate. US labels gave us several more before she returned home to her Brazilian roots.

Portuguese explorers landed near Salvador, Bahia on April 22, 1500, making April Brazil’s Month of Discovery. Make a discovery of your own with our Five Favorites by Rosa Passos. Enjoy!



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Five Favorites from Rosa Passos

Here In My Heart – Kenny Rankin

A ‘must have’, Rankin’s ballad-like style and delicate control are a perfect match for the Bossa sound. One of the many highlights is the US debut of Brazilian singer Rosa Passos on a pair of English/Portuguese duets: “These Eyes” and “Stay.”


Her second album, Amorosa mirrors Joao Gilberto’s ‘Amoroso’ album of a decade earlier, with Passos interpreting his recordings song by song, even extending her creative touch to the title: Look closely to find the Portuguese word for ’love’ attached to her name.

Entre Amigos – Rosa Passos & Ron Carter

Critically-acclaimed as a high point for both musicians, this album “brings together the subtle, yet powerful voice of one of Brazil’s most talented vocalists with the experience and versatility of one of the most influential bassists in Jazz history,” according to label’s 2003 Press Release. And we agree. Timeless jazz.

Fado at City Winery Chicago 4/3 & 4/10


The first album that really showcased not only her songwriting talent but her splendid vocal delivery, too.  Just one listen to Festa’s opening track, ‘Dunes’ will convince you, but happily, Passos includes 11 more, with classics from many of Brazil’s legendary songwriters to round out a memorable recording.

To Love Again: The Duets – Chris Botti

Considering her four decades of crafting five-star recording, maybe a single song from Rosa Passos singing in English (rare!) on someone else’s album is an odd choice to make a Five Favorites list, but ‘Here’s That Rainy Day’ will leave you breathless. Turn down the lights, choose cognac not wine and… listen.



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This month, Rosa Passos has a birthday, too. Here's how one of Brazil's most talented voices made her mark.