Sergio Mendes In the Key of Joy premieres on HBO

1/1 · Por HBO

The HBO original production, which had its world premiere at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in January 2020, presents the life of one of the most important musicians in Latin America and allows viewers to enter the mind of this bossa nova legend and to learn about his impact on pop culture. 

Sergio Mendes In the Key of Joy brings together big names from the world of music that have collaborated with Sergio Mendes or who have somehow been inspired in their work by his musical legacy; it also includes the voices of some of his family members as well as some others that are well-known by Brazilians.

The production includes interviews with Herb Alpert, Carlinhos Brown, Harrison Ford, Lani Hall (singer from Brasil ’66), Quincy Jones, John Legend, Gracinha Leporace (lead singer of Brasil ‘66 and Mendes’ wife), Jerry Moss, Pelé, Carlos Saldanha (Oscar nominated director of the film, Rio) and will.i.am, who give us unique perspectives about Sergio Mendes and his ongoing musical journey.

In order to make the documentary, Sergio returned to Brazil and met with director John Scheinfeld, producer Dave Harding and their team, who were able to capture the beauty, the style and the excitement of Rio de Janeiro and of Niterói, the singer’s birthplace; as well as many other places that Sergio has a strong personal connection to, like in Sao Paulo where he sang with the football player Pelé. The production also gives us one of the best double albums, named after the film, which covers Mendes’ best artistic moments.

Sergio tells most of his story in Sergio Mendes In the Key of Joy with his own words. In order to lend more emotion and intimacy to the story, the production includes 50 recordings from each stage of his career, as well as never-before-seen material such as home movies and personal photos from the Mendes family. 

Brasil ’66

With a father who was a descendent from the African slaves brought to Brazil by the Portuguese, and with a Portuguese mother and ancestors, the diversity in Sergio Mendes’ family gave way to the diversity in his musical sound, which he began exploring from a young age, at a time when he had to face a rare disease that left him in a cast that covered nearly his entire body. Without being able to play with his friends, Sergio channeled all his energy into learning to play the piano and into dedicating himself to classical music.

Some years later, Sergio listens to Dave Brubeck’s revolutionary album, Take Five, and his life is forever changed. He begins playing jazz in small clubs throughout Rio de Janeiro and in the first of many magical encounters that he would go on to have, he meets composer Antonio Carlos Jobim, one of the creators of bossa nova, and Jobim becomes his mentor. In a short amount of time, Sergio becomes an important innovator within this musical movement.

Sergio Mendes keeps playing throughout small clubs in Brazil, but he travels to the United States where he realizes that he should reinvent his music, thus gaining unique recognition in New York’s cultural scene. However, it is with Brasil ‘66 that he took the world by storm and when the doors began to open making him in to what he his today: a Brazilian music legend capable of permeating pop culture. 

His work in the United States included the best collaborations with the biggest artists at that time who had been inspired by his work. He recorded his own version of Mais que nada with the Black Eyed Peas, which made the song even more popular around the world.

Sergio Mendes In the Key of Joy is a journey through the life of Sergio Mendes, his passion, his success and, above all, the musical legacy he has given to the new generations of artists.

The documentary will be available on HBO and HBO GO on April 27.

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