Rio de Janeiro in 70’s – Lost Samba

Several books had been written about Samba, and its carnival in Brazil, country of football, Amazon and fantasy beaches. Lost Samba is a “202pages” journey in 60’s and 70’s times of Rio de Janeiro city during author childhood in Ipanema, the beach that inspired Antônio Carlos Jobim in 1959 to create “Girl of Ipanema” song while its success encouraged Frank Sinatra to sing it again after 7 years. Richard Klein, The author, on his Facebook page describes his book as:

Wouldn’t it be great if [the book] explained Brazil’s culture and its football, its mentality, its ecology and its politics as well as taught you about Samba, Brazilian Rock, Frevo, Lambada and the Trio Eletrico? What about experiencing revolutions, hyperinflation, the seventies and the eighties, drugs and crime? You will find all of this in Lost Samba: a book about true stories of the bitter-sweet happiness of Rio de Janeiro’s golden youth in the 60’s, the 70’s and the 80’s.

LostSamba Book. From Facebook (Used with Permission)

On 27th of April 2012, Last sambista blog, revealed the story of Lost Samba book which has “cool things in Brazil”:

The writing of this book began in 2008 when I was living, out of all places, in Jerusalem in a flat rented from a writer. With a view to the Old City I thought that if he could make it I also could. It has been a long journey and in the meantime despite the initial underestimation I believe to have learned how to write and to have come up with something good.

Escape from Germany

The author describes how his Jewish family was a victim of Adolph Hitler’s crimes during the second world war. His father lived in Germany in the 1920’s and 30’s and when the situation became unbearable; he and his two brothers moved to Holland. There, one of them married into a rich family, the other one indulged in a bohemian lifestyle while he became the working piglet of the three. However, In 1942, when they heard that Amsterdam’s was about to fall they knew it was time to run.

The father bought the first fishing boat he could find by the docks. With it he and his brother’s family could row out to sea and wait for a larger vessel to pass by and rescue them. This never happened and ten long days and nights went with no food or water aboard and no other boat or sign of life in the open ocean.

One morning a military plane flew over and he had the idea of using a mirror to reflect the sun into the pilot’s eyes. It worked and to their luck the plane was British. The pilot notified his command tower and a ship was sent out to the rescue. The vessel was attacked during the operation and several men were killed.

Lapa in the 40's, Rio's bohemian center then and now. From lostsamba on Facebook (Used with Permission)

They were one of the first official war refugees in the UK and the story made the headlines. Their ordeal brought momentary fame and many dinner parties were held in their honor in the London Jewish community. In one of those events he met a Jewish princess half his age, and almost twice his height from the Headquarters of British Jewry, Golders Green. They must have been an odd couple to look at, but it was war time and the night scene was not jumping if you were not a member of the armed forces.

The news travelled the world and Eleonore Roosevelt got to know about the story and decided to adopt my two cousins. It never happened because my uncle had second thoughts after the Nazis sunk the ship sent to get them.

Refuges in Brazil

The family settled in Rio, Brazil after two days flight from London with stops in Lisbon, Dakar and Recife in the Northeast of Brazil. In Rio, the family established its new life where the author describes his memories of the visit of Queen Elizabeth to the British school, 1962, where he was studying.

Queen Elizabeth in the British School of Rio de Janeiro - 1962. From LostSamba on Facebook (used with Permission)

When we were about to reach the Hall’s entrance, we heard sirens and Mrs Feitosa stopped to look back. We followed her gaze and saw it happen: no one less than Queen Elizabeth the second, her Majesty, head of the British Crown, was entering the British School of Rio de Janeiro accompanied by her entourage.

When Ipanema and Leblon were only happiness. LostSamba on Facebook (used with Permission)

Book’s chapters describe more about Richard’s life experience in Bahia, Sao Paulo, salvador, Nordeste (North east) and eighties crises in Brazil. On Tumblr, the author posted a set of photos illustrated cities of Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, and old Brazilian capital Salvador. Culture, events, football and beaches were his subjects.

Despite that the author has passed times of hyperinflation and the chaos of the eighties, but Brazil 2012 managed to lift itself, pay its debt and became a promising country. For his generation, from the point where the book ends, this seemed impossible. The author published links to purchase the e-book via or hard copy


About Rami Alhames

I'm a Syrian Brazilian, Freelance Translator and Social media contributor @GlobalVoices @GVinArabic, Meedan, in Portuguese, Arabic and English.
This entry was posted in Culture & Life, English, Eudcation & Human Rights, History and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s