The Girl from Ipanema, also known as “Garota de Impanema” is a well-known Brazilian bossa nova song written in 1962 by Antonio Carlos Jobim, one of Brazil’s most famous and prolific composers. The second most recorded song in pop history, it won a Grammy for Record of the Year in 1965. The Portugese lyrics were written by Vinivius de Morales, and English lyrics were written later by Norman Gimbel. Bossa nova is a genre of Brazilian music, and is a lyrical blend of samba and jazz, most commonly performed on classical guitar.

This song was inspired by Heloisa Eneida Menensez Paes Pinto, a 19-year old girl living on Montenegro street in the fashionable Ipanema district in Rio de Janiero. Every day she would stroll past the popular Veloso bar to the beach, and sometimes enter it to buy cigarettes for her mother and leave to the sound of wolf whistles! In the winter of 1962 the composers watched the girl pass by the bar, and it is very easy to imagine why they noticed her – Helô was a 173-cm (five-foot eight-inch) brunette, and she attracted the attention of many of the bar patrons. Since the song became popular, she has become a celebrity!

I recorded this song, The Girl from Ipanema, many years ago and it appears on my very first self-titled Vincenzo Martinelli album. I first heard this song in my youth at a time when I was first starting to play the guitar. As everyone knows, it’s a catchy, jazzy-Latino song, that is great to dance to, and has been popular for a long time.

The song makes me feel exotic because it has a fabulous bossa nova feel coming from the Brazilian music style, and when I recorded it I felt a sense of achievement, because something of another culture was being added to my already exotic and diverse repertoire. The song is rhythmic and melodious, and is really fun to play. When I play the The Girl from Ipanema live, it always captures that magic moment of the rhythm of bosa nova, and audiences respond to this song always in a really positive way. Many artists have recorded this song but I think the very first one that comes to mind is by the famous American jazz saxophonist, Stan Getz, who recorded it many years ago and made it very popular in the United States.

The Girl from Ipanema has a structure of two main themes, which are repeated throughout the song. I have improvised some and made my own arrangement of the song, which is fairly standard in style, and sits very nicely on the Spanish guitar.  The song was recorded in the studio of my friend John Roy, and the technique we used to record it was basic microphone close up and far away techniques to record in a beautiful acoustically creative room. Instrumentation used for this song was basically my Grand Concert Series Yamaha guitar in a solo setting. John Roy produced this song in his studio in Man Ray Park, New South Wales, Australia.

The Girl from Ipanema is really suited to Latin and Spanish style because it comes directly out of the Latin country of Brazil and reflects that musical culture. Girl from Ipanema is part of my repertoire and has been for a long time and I hope it remains this way. My style of performing the song continues to evolve, and it continues to be very well received around the world.


Girl from Ipanema is a very big part of my set and is found as the 6th track on my first album, Vincenzo Martinelli. I certainly hope you enjoy in this song as much as I do! You can enjoy hearing it on my website, and also on my YouTube Channel.

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The Girl from Ipanema