Luiz Bonfá (1922-2001) was one of the world’s most versatile composers and romantic
lyricists on the guitar. He was born in Brazil but also lived in the USA where he performed. He is mostly known for his composition
“A Day In The Life Of A Fool” (Manha de Carnaval) but composed many other songs as well as recording over 90
As a child he showed enormous talent and studied with Isaias Savio, who knew from day one that
Luiz was gifted. He started performing in the 1940s and started a group called the Quitandinha Serenaders, which gained prominence
and many of his songs were being recorded by other popular singers. His compositions can be heard in the film “Black
Orpheus” directed by Marcel Camus and won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1960.
His technical excellence and virtuosity captured the ears of the world, his romantic overtones,
crisp notes and phrasing is still enjoyed today by many aficionados of the guitar. Many songs appear at times to be played
by three guitarists, but there was no overdubbing, it was simply - Bonfá’s masterful
hands. I was lucky enough to spend an evening with him in at his condo in Leblon in Rio de Janeiro in 1976. Also there,
was his wife Maria-Helena Toledo.
I have made an attempt to better understand his music by working on 38 of his compositions
although recorded were never published for the general public and it took time
to listen to each note and phrase to figure out the various positions and techniques that would work best to hopefully come
close to sounding like the delicate musical impressions he left us with. As most of you know, there are video clips of
Bonfá that you may enjoy that are on THE BONFA PROJECT on Youtube, so I encourage you to go there where you can also watch me demonstrate how to play them.
Just type Bill Dee in the searchbox. Better yet, go out and buy his CD re-masters or old LPs and listen to him.
About the collection. In all cases I have tried to establish the correct positions by way of
chord charts, which are merely guides - so all that is left to do is for you to provide the patience, dedication and
the fingering for the melodies. Any errors you may find will hopefully be dismissed in view of the challenges I faced
on this project. I always enjoy and value, hearing other interpretations of these songs, so if you do find an error or a better
chord or an easier position, please let me know, it would be greatly appreciated.
To access songs, simply email me at address below and I will send them to you as a
.gif or .pdf file. Perhaps start with one or two songs, work on them and get back at a later date where I will send
you a few more.