San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica's National Symphony receives Latin Grammy nod

Since 2000, the Latin Grammys have celebrated the unique sound of Latin America, but the most recognizable names are pure pop: Marc Anthony, Buika and Natalie Cole are currently hoping to win Recording of the Year.

But the Latin Grammys haven’t forgotten about classical music, and Costa Rica’s National Symphony Orchestra nabbed a nomination last week for Best Composition of Contemporary Classic. Their album, “Bossa nova sinfónico,” is a tribute to one of the fathers of Bossa Nova, Brazilian composer Antônio Carlos Jobim. The recording was produced last March with 73 musicians, under the direction of conductor Jeremy Fox.

The composition in question was “Abertura Jobiniana,” composed by Rafael Piccolotto de Lima. “Abertura” is a dreamy homage to Jobim that opens the album and lasts nearly seven minutes. Interestingly, the orchestra distributed its album through CDBaby, a popular DIY music site.

In Portuguese, “bossa nova” means “new trend,” and this unique fusion of jazz and samba became hugely popular in the 1960s. “Tom” Jobim achieved immortality with his song “The Girl from Ipanema,” one of the most re-recorded songs of all time. Bossa Nova is exactly the kind of music you might hear in a “Mad Men” lounge – rhythmic, sensual, with hints of big band.

What follows “Abertura” are 12 tracks of Bossa Nova standards, sung in Portuguese and arranged symphonically, culminating in a three-song medley. Overall the album is fast-paced and fun, an enthusiastic throwback to the days of jetsetters and tropical holidays.

While the 14th Latin Grammys won’t take place until Nov. 21, you can download “Bossa nova sinfónico”from iTunes or order a hardcopy from CDBaby. Consider polishing those dancing shoes: the beats are infectious.

Contact Robert Isenberg at

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