Song 35 – Christmas In Rio!

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Folks, it wasn’t that long ago when this song came to me… I was waiting in a parking lot. I had my trusty ukulele with me and, after checking that there wasn’t anyone nearby, I pulled it out for a strum. The first words that came to me were, “The sun shines down on Rio”. I was strumming slowly, so I sang the words slowly. It was funny, in an ironic way; a sad song about how bright and sunny Rio de Janeiro is. Out of curiosity, I played and sang faster and, much to my surprise, the melody worked even better. “That’s it! That’s my holiday song!” I exclaimed before looking around the parking lot again to make sure I was alone. I wasn’t, and got a funny look from a guy parking a fancy sports car.

When Papai Noel shows up, the party begins!!!!

When Papai Noel shows up, the party begins!!!!

With the chorus in hand, the rest of the song wrote itself in the next few minutes. All that was left was a little research on what Christmas would be like in Rio (having never experienced it myself). Here’s what I found…

On the commercial side of things, Papai Noel and Bom Velhinho are both names for Santa Claus. It’s believed he lives in Greenland (which, incidentally, is where Fezzik is from – for all you fans of The Princess Bride). There is also a secret santa event called Amigo Secreto. More traditionally, the Brazilian version of Silent Night is Noite Feliz. The manger scene is called presépio, and a reenactment of the nativity is called Os Pastores. However, Brazilians add a dramatic twist to this story by having a gypsy try to kidnap the little baby Jesus while he’s learning about colors and shapes. (Note: only the iTunes / Amazon version has the bit about os pastores – we ran out of time making the video!) Lastly, there’s a midnight mass called Missa do Galo (the mass of the rooster). I added the bit about eating a feijoada just because that’s what I’d be doing.

Although I’d like to take credit for playing and recording everything, this song wouldn’t be the same without Brian Risk, who made this crazy awesome video and played all kinds of parts in the song, and Robert Cantrell, who add the amazing Brazilian percussion parts, helping me out every step of the way. I’m lucky to have these guys help bring my parking lot visions to reality!

Have a great December! Here’s the song sheet.


2 thoughts on “Song 35 – Christmas In Rio!

  1. Fletcher says:

    Love it. Hysterical Josh. Great animation!!

    1. Josh says:

      Thanks Fletcher! I just got your email to your latest blog entry and I’m loving it:

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