Count your blessings. A familiar saying this year. For vocalist Daniela Soledade, 2020 hindsight and a phone call from Brazil brought deeper meaning to this time-tested phrase.
My Favorite Things: Daniela Soledade lifts our spirts with the warmth of Brazil.
Maybe you’ve clicked in to one of the many livestreams by Daniela Soledade and guitarist Nate Najar this year. The popular ‘Love & Bossa Nova’ series has buoyed the spirits of Brazilian jazz fans near and far.
There’s no doubt that music has helped to sustain us this year.
But, for a while, the music stopped. For Daniela and her two children, the pandemic turned from headline news to quarantine. And as it so often does, reality hit home. Then, a surprise.
Thanksgiving weekend, and a new song from Daniela arrived in our inbox: a beautiful, Bossa Nova arrangement of My Favorite Things. Our streaming station gave the song its broadcast debut on December 4th and today, the official video launches, too.
The story behind Daniela Soledade’s My Favorite Things
Recently, Connect Brazil interviewed Daniela Soledade to talk about her recording of My Favorite Things, her childhood memories of Christmas in Brazil and what inspired her to choose the song. It’s a story that could only happen in this most unusual year of years.
As a daughter of a musical family growing up in Rio de Janeiro, you were certainly exposed to a variety of music and movies from Europe and America. Do you have childhood memories of Julie Andrews singing My Favorite Things?
Absolutely! My father loves Julie Andrews and showed me songs from the movie when I was a child. He especially loves My Favorite Things and suggested it would sound great in Bossa Nova style.
Here, Christmas music is woven into the fabric of our culture. But the idea of Christmas music in Brazil is much different. What are your impressions of this American tradition?
Christmas in the US is magical! With the wonderful Christmas classics in both music and movies, the elf on the shelf, decorating cookies, leaving cookies and milk for Santa by the tree, the mistletoe (that was a hard one for me to understand), the decorations everywhere in the streets, special holiday drinks, there is just so much tradition when it comes to Christmas in the United States! Christmas in the US is very special!
This song wasn’t intended to be a Christmas song: it became a holiday tradition due to The Sound of Music on television. Why did you choose to record My Favorite Things?
This year, my two toddlers and I had COVID and during our quarantine, my oldest daughter asked me to show her one of my favorite movies. I decide to show them The Sound of Music for the very first time, and they were both hypnotized by it! They watched it for several days in a row, and next thing you know we were singing the songs in the house, just like the movie. I played guitar and they sang along, it was great!
And you received a phone call.
During the same week, without knowing that I was watching the movie with the children at home, my father called me and suggested “Why don’t you record My Favorite Things? It would sound great in Bossa Nova and I love that song!.” Nate Najar also liked the idea, and immediately came up with the rhythm for the song as a Bossa Nova in ¾ time, and the rest is history.
What are your memories of Christmas traditions in Brazil?
We don’t have nearly as many Christmas activities in Brazil as we have here in the US, but I do have very fond memories of family getting together and delicious foods during the holidays in Brazil. Brazilians celebrate Christmas on Christmas eve, not on Christmas day. We get together for dinner on Christmas eve with the entire family, and we all wait (including the children) until midnight to toast and open gifts. Oh, I remember Rabanada! It’s like delicious French toast, but it comes from Portugal to Brazil, and it’s everywhere during the holidays!
Tell us about how the session for My Favorite Things went.
My Favorite Things went very well, I’m very happy to be working with musicians that are so talented and can truly deliver a wonderful performance. I am also excited about the orchestral arrangement in the song; it is the first time I’ve had an orchestra in a recording of mine, and I am in heaven about it! Of course, this was all Nate Najar’s idea, he is my secret weapon! He coordinated the orchestral arrangement with the wonderful Los Angeles composer Craig Sharmat, arranged the band, produced, recorded, filmed and released it! All at the highest level of everything he puts out into the world! I am so very lucky to have him by my side in all of my projects.
I’ll bet fans would love to know which Christmas song are on your ‘favorites’ list. Any chance we’ll hear one or two of those next year?
My favorite Christmas song is Vince Guaraldi’s ‘Christmas Time is Here’ from the album A Charlie Brown Christmas. I’ll never forget when I first heard that album, which I would say is my favorite Christmas album. I also like ‘River’ by Joni Mitchell and ‘I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm’, both of which I learned for a performance at the “Nate Najar’s Jazz Holiday” concert at the Palladium Theater last year. I am not sure yet what we’ll do for the holidays next year, there is so much to draw from, but I’m definitely looking forward to it!
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