João Donato de Oliveira Neto was born on 1934 in Brazil, the son of a military father. Still a teenager, he demonstrated more musical than scholastic ability and so left school in 1949. He lived with fellow musicians, played guitar in the bars of Rio de Janeiro and, of course, talked about music. In the 1950s he visited the Sinatra-Farney Fan Clube, considered by many specialists as the school that created the Bossa Nova. Donato befriended individuals such as João Gilberto, Tom Jobim, Vinícius de Moraes, Johny Alf, and others, although he never recorded with them.