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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCD chapter.

In the early 1960s, a genre of music called bossa nova emerged from Portugal and spread in popularity around the world. It’s characterized by a gorgeous union of samba and jazz. If you enjoyed Billie Eilish’s, “Billie Bossa Nova,” which reminded us of the beauty of the genre a few years ago, here are a few other bossa nova-esque bops that you may also enjoy. 

“Falling Behind” by Laufey

This song encapsulates the hopeless romantic theme that bossa nova often entails. Laufey describes what it’s like to be a single hopeless romantic in a world full of couples. Laufey has an incredible jazz voice and vibrato that sounds reminiscent of crooners from the ‘40s and  ‘50s. The soft percussions, harmonies, and light guitar strumming meld together in such a sweet and warm way that just makes you feel comfortable. 

“mother tongue” by Liana Flores

Being half Brazilian, Liana’s music often incorporates a few bossa nova characteristics (often in the soft unparallel rhythmic percussions and guitar strumming). In this song, Liana describes how she feels disconnected from her Brazilian culture as a result of not speaking Portuguese like her mother. Liana’s thematic/genre paradox of conveying this in a modern take of the bossa nova format is what makes me admire the complexity, detail, and heart that she puts into her music. This song only has three instruments: Liana’s voice, a guitar, and a keyboard. It’s a nice slow and reflective song that’s good for late-night studying or pondering.

“Consolation (Consolacao)” by Herbie Mann, João Gilberto, and Antônio Carlos Jobim

I actually discovered this song while waiting at the Sac International Airport. As odd and eclectic as the music they put through their speakers can be, sometimes you can discover random bossa nova songs you never thought you’d find and love. This is an instrumental piece that probably rings the truest to the classic and traditional form of bossa nova. It’s the most jazz-like of the songs listed in the article. The consistent yet lyrical guitar and percussions often help me focus when I listen to this song to study. 

“Bossa Nova Junto A Ti” by Marisol

This song is from a Spanish movie from the ‘60s called, Marisol Rumbo Á Río. It’s a funny movie involving secret lost twins, murder, and music; surprisingly it’s not a telenovela. Nevertheless, there’s a scene in which one of the twins sings this song at a party. Its “doobee doobee doos,” clave stick percussion, and romantic lyrics define this as a perfect fit in the bossa nova genre. The only thing I would say that makes this song a bit different from classic bossa nova songs is Marisol’s flamenco-style singing of the lyrics. Considering the Spanish audience of the film and Marisol being an incredible cantaora (flamenco singer) this difference is understandable, however, this further melding of genres makes sense and actually sounds great. It’s a fun upbeat song that might just make you dance.

I hope you enjoyed reading about these songs and give them a try. Happy listening!

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