In 1992, James Woodall was asked to write an article about a Brazilian musician he'd never heard of, called Chico Buarque. He discovered that Buarque was a national hero in his native country and that interviewing him was a bit like a Latin American interviewing Paul McCartney. Woodall fell under Buarque's spell and began an affair with Brazilian pop music which has lasted to this day. His new passion took him to Brazil and in particular to Rio de Janeiro, world capital of Carnival and samba. Over several visits, he met with Chico Buarque, discovered the city's immodest beach culture and took part in Carnival. He met Chico Buarque's great contemporary, Caetano Veloso and other stars. Picking up Portuguese on the hop, he learnt a great deal about Chico Buarque's life and about the strange and dangerous city where he lives. This book is as much a hymn to Rio de Janeiro as it is to the music that beats at its heart.