Paulinho Nogueira

Mentor of bossa nova
Click to follow

Paulinho Nogueira, guitarist, singer and composer: born Campinas, Brazil 8 October 1927; married (one son, two daughters) died São Paulo, Brazil 2 August 2003.

The guitarist, composer and vocalist Paulinho Nogueira was a greatly respected figure in his native Brazil, if less well-known internationally. Described by the composer and pianist Tom Jobim as one of the mentors of bossa nova, he rose to fame during the style's boom years in the early 1960s and recorded right up to his death. He was also renowned as a teacher, influencing and composing songs for many younger players.

Nogueira grew up in a musical family, and began learning to play on his father's 1937 Del Vecchio, which he would later inherit and use throughout his career. In an interview last year he recalled being shown the ropes on it by his older brother João:

It was love at first sight. Ever since I started to play, still a boy, I was enchanted with this instrument and I excelled as a soloist.

He largely taught himself, by l istening to radio broadcasts of Brazilian artists of the late 1930s and 1940s. None inspired him more than Aníbal Augusto Sardinha, a virtuoso guitarist popularly known as "Garoto".

I'd listen to him with guitar in hand and cop whatever I could. Some of his style rubbed off on me by osmosis. I consider him the only idol that I ever had in my career.

As a teenager, he honed his technique with his brother Celso's group in Campinas, and, in 1953, he joined João in São Paulo city, doing a three-year residency at the Itapoan night-club. By 1958 he had recorded his first album, A Voz de Violão ("The Voice of the Guitar"). On its release the following year, he became caught up in the bossa-generated vogue for the nylon-stringed guitar, which he gave his own unique sound by not using the nails on his right hand. His third album, Sambas de Ontem e de Hoje (1961), produced his first hit, "Menino, Desce Dai".

During the mid-1960s he regularly appeared on the weekly television programme O Fino da Bossa alongside other stars of Brazilian music such as Marcos Valle, Baden Powell, Tamba Trio and the great Elis Regina, with whom he later recorded a definitive version of the traditional song "Carinhoso". In 1970 he scored his own Brazilian No 1 with "Menina" - another of his occasional vocal performances in what was largely an instrumental output.

The previous year he had designed a new instrument called the Craviola, which combined the sounds of a harpsichord and a guitar and caught the imagination of musicians outside Brazil, including Led Zeppelin's guitarist Jimmy Page. Over the next three decades, Nogueira took part in projects celebrating the guitar and Brazil's tradition of instrumental music.

Jon Lusk