Once upon a time - in the late 1950s - in a kingdom far, far away - Brazil - a group of hopeful students and young musicians dreamt of building a better world. They envisaged a Utopia free from stress and struggle, where people led an easy-going life and possessed a 'don't worry, be happy' attitude. They started a six-year-long revolutionary movement based on a boundless passion for music that embodied that happy-go-lucky philosophy. They called the emerging music style bossa nova, which is Portuguese for 'new trend'. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the genre, Asia's bossa nova queen Lisa Ono will perform at two sold-out concerts as part of the Hong Kong Arts Festival this month. The laidback beats were first linked to hippy tastes and social irresponsibility, but later broke into Brazil's mainstream thanks to three revolutionary heroes. They were musician Antonio Carlos ('Tom') Jobim - father of bossa nova, - poet and lyricist Vinicius de Moraes, and singer-guitarist Joao Gilberto. Bossa nova is often regarded as a fusion of cool jazz and samba, but with a unique rhythm structure and simple instrumentation. Piano is occasionally added to the ever-present finger-plucked guitar and airy singing, and it tends to be light on percussion. The Girl From Ipanema is probably the most famous bossa nova song in the world. It first appeared on a collaboration album between Gilberto and saxophone player Stan Getz, yet another bossa nova legend. It was performed by Gilberto's then-wife Astrud, an amateur singer until this song brought her fame. The song about a charming girl with an alluring gait has been reinterpreted countless times. Bossa nova is an extremely versatile, adaptable genre. Musicians who try to interpret and arrange songs based on the Brazilian formula often end up with a commercial success. French group Nouvelle Vague is a one such example: they remake 80s pop songs in bossa nova style, resulting in familiar tunes taking on a whole new, fascinating vibe. Well-loved, Grammy-winning bossa nova star Sergio Mendes has also experimented with the sound recently; on his 2006 album Timeless, he takes his original numbers and crosses them with jazz, funk and even hip hop. In recent years, many Chinese singers have released bossa nova-tinged records, including Cheer Chen, Susan Wong Tsui-shan and Joanna Wang Ruo-lin. But of the crossover efforts in the market, Eric Lee's When Bossa Nova Meets Erhu is undoubtedly the most innovative and intriguing. The Brazilian-born Japanese Ono almost single-handedly introduced the genre to Asia, after spending her childhood and much of her young adulthood surrounded by the music. The gifted musician began her career at 15, and is one of the few Asians to have worked with Jobim. Even if you haven't got tickets to see Ono, picking up a bossa nova album is the perfect way to beat the stress and strains of everyday life.