25 year ago, it now seems that those first few weeks with WNUA were busy ones.
The Sounds of Brazil’s July 25th, 1992 debut was enough of a success for the station and listeners that only a few days later, I was approached by Program Director Lee Hansen with news of an event that the station invited me to host.
“It’s a ‘meet and greet’ for Sergio Mendes and a chance to give The Sounds of Brazil a proper introduction,” he said (or something like that because honestly, my memory isn’t that good, two and a half decades later). “We’ll promote it and invite your listeners to attend. It’s a great tie-in.”
I recall that last part, because it really was a great tie-in. Twenty-eight and a half years earlier, Sergio Mendes discovered Lani Hall singing in a Chicago nightclub and he invited her to join his new band, set to record in Los Angeles with A&M Records in the early months of 1966.
Sergio’s ‘homecoming’ was in honor of his then-current album ‘Brasileiro’ which was already a familiar part of The Sounds of Brazil’s early playlists. It would go on to win a Grammy for Sergio Mendes and Elektra Records: well-deserved.
Nearly 200 listeners showed up at Café Ba-Ba-Re-Ba to meet Sergio that Monday night and he was gracious to a fault: introducing me to each autograph-seeking fan and telling them about my new Brazilian music show.
The date was August 3rd, 1992; WNUA’s 5th anniversary.
Here are a few pictures from the historic evening courtesy of the Chicago Tribune’s Walter Kale, and at the very bottom… a reunion surprise!
Thanks for listening.