Brazil’s nightly TV novelas love to reimagine history, but there’s a sad-but-true soap opera playing out in real time, involving one of Brazil’s legendary musical families. Folha de S.P. picks up the story, and if the headlines were in English they might read like this: João Gilberto Falls On Hard Times.
For many of us, it is difficult to believe that, even as Bossa Nova prepares to celebrate its 60th birthday this summer, João Gilberto, 87, has been facing financial difficulties and is being pressed in opposite directions by members of his family on whether or not to pay back a R$ 5 million (US$ 1.5 million) loan.
On one side of the argument is Claudia Faissol, the mother of Mr. Gilberto’s youngest daughter. She believes that he should pay back the loan and has reached an agreement with the bank to broker the negotiation.
On the other side are his older sons: João Marcelo and Bebel Gilberto. They believe the contract’s terms are exploitative and that Faissol has ulterior financial motives to settle, and have decided to hire lawyers to try to stop the negotiation.
“She tricked an elderly man. She belongs in jail”, said João Marcelo Gilberto. “All the rates were settled between the bank and the lawyer who was in charge at the time”, said Ms. Faissol.
In 2013, João Gilberto signed a contract with a bank and a canceled tour back in 2011 led to a time of financial unrest. Since he had been given a million-dollar advance, he was sued and he lost the lawsuit.
The ‘João Gilberto Falls On Hard Times Story’ Could Be A Tragic Loss
The article states, that “According to the contract, the bank now owns 60% of the proceeds from Mr. Gilberto’s first four CDs.”
If we are to believe that the term ‘CD’ means ‘albums’, the these are not just any recordings. João Gilberto’s first four albums comprise the birth of Bossa Nova, including 1959’s ‘Chega de Saudade’, ‘O Amor, O Sorriso E A Flor’ (1960) and ‘Joao Gilberto’ (1961).
João Gilberto had earlier been awarded ownership of the recordings and was in the process of re-mastering them to properly reflect their original sound.
Here’s hoping that this story plays out to a happy ending for all concerned and that Bossa Nova’s first recordings remain in safe hands. Then it will be ‘João Gilberto Falls On Hard Times’ no more.