Have you seen the Carioca? It’s not a foxtrot or a polka.
It’s a song, it’s a dance, it will be stuck in your head all day. I was listening to the Fireballs’ version this morning:
What do I love about it? The riff, of course. And the fact that it’s in a minor key, which adds a little mystery to it. Plus the song’s rhythm is unusual and fun to dance to. Play it when you’re alone in the house – I dare you not to dance along.
“Carioca” is a word used to describes things having to do with Rio de Janiero. The song first appeared in the 1933 movie “Flying Down to Rio,” and was sung by Etta Moten Barnett:
The thirties were a very difficult time economically. People were unemployed and hungry, and their only recourse was to perform highly choreographed dance numbers on top of airplanes.
Besides the irresistably catchy “Carioca,” the movie features Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire dancing together on film for the first time. I am a huge fan of Fred and Ginger, and heard the song for the first time while watching this movie.
The song has been covered frequently over the years – here are the Andrews Sisters doing it:
And here’s my personal favorite version, by Caetano Veloso. It’s haunting, like someone reminiscing about a very good time long ago.