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Cartola  

Carlos Sandroni

and one of the founders of Escola de Samba Estação Primeira de Mangueira (literally, First Station of Mangueira Samba School), was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 11 October 1908 to Sebastião Joaquim de Oliveira, a carpenter, and Aída Gomes de Oliveira, a housewife. Although the registrar mistakenly recorded the name “Angenor” on Cartola’s baptism certificate, the name by which he was formally called through adulthood is “Agenor.” Cartola (literally, “top hat”) is a nickname he received while still a teenager. He worked in construction, and used a small “cartola” to prevent dirtying his head with spatters of cement. He adopted the nickname, using it throughout his career as a sambista (samba performer) and musician. In fact, he was even referred to as Cartola by his friends and relatives.

Cartola only completed his studies up to the fourth grade Until the age of 11 he lived in neighborhoods of ...

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Isabel Morais

Mozambican film director, actor, screenwriter, writer, and lyricist, was born on 22 August 1931 and grew up in Lourenço Marques (present-day Maputo) in the former Portuguese-speaking colony of Mozambique in eastern Africa. Rui (also spelled Ruy) Guerra’s parents were Portuguese immigrants. As a teenager he wrote film reviews, shot films, and became involved in anticolonial and proindependent circles.

At the age of nineteen Guerra left Mozambique for further education in France, where from 1952 to 1954 he studied cinematography at the Institute of High Cinematographic Studies in Paris. Between 1956 and 1957 he became assistant cameraman and director on various French films. In 1958 he emigrated to Brazil, where he directed his first feature film, Os Cafajestes (The Hustlers, 1962), which was selected for the twelfth Berlin International Film Festival. The high point of Guerra’s career came when he directed the political and antimilitarist film Os Fuzis ...

Article

Scott Yanow

jazz vocalist and lyricist, was born John Carl Hendricks in Newark, Ohio. He grew up as one of seventeen children, the only musician in his family. As a child, he sang hymns and spirituals in church and at parties. In 1932 he moved to Toledo with his family.

While growing up, Hendricks sang on the radio. His accompanist was sometimes pianist Art Tatum. After moving to Detroit in 1940, he sang with the band of his brother-in-law, Jessie Jones. Hendricks served in the army in Europe during 1942–1946. After his discharge, he studied law at the University of Toledo but found that music interested him more. He taught himself to play drums and worked as a singing drummer for two years in Rochester, New York, and in Toledo in 1951.

After Charlie Parker who was passing through Ohio heard him sing and urged him ...

Article

Barry Kernfeld

jazz singer, lyricist, and tap dancer, was born Edgar Jefferson in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Information about his parents is unknown. It is known that he started dancing around age eight. He also played tuba in a school band and taught himself guitar and drums, experience that later gave his singing a firm musical foundation. In Pittsburgh he was accompanied by the pianist Art Blakey, before Blakey took up drums, and he danced and sang with the Zephyrs at the Chicago World's Fair in 1933. In 1937 Jefferson danced in the Knockouts, a trio that included Dave Tate and Irv Taylor (Little Irv), and he worked in a dance team called Billy and Eddie in 1939. Around 1940 he performed with Coleman Hawkins's big band at Dave's in Chicago. While in the army, around 1942 he was in charge of a drum and bugle ...

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Robert Fay

Andy Razaf had his greatest success writing for Harlem stage shows of the 1920s, collaborating with greats like Willie “The Lion” Smith, Eubie Blake, and James P. Johnson. His most lasting work, however, was with Thomas “Fats” Waller The two produced many of the era s ...

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Barry Kernfeld

song lyricist, was born Andreamentania Paul Razafkeriefo in Washington, D.C., the son of Henry Razafkeriefo, a military officer and nephew of the queen of Madagascar, and Jennie Maria Waller. His grandfather was John Louis Waller, a U.S. consul to Madagascar whose arrest in Tamatave and subsequent imprisonment in Marseilles, France, touched off an 1895 upheaval in Madagascar that resulted in his father's death there and his mother's flight home to the United States, where she gave birth. From the spring of 1896, when John Waller returned from prison, the young Razafkeriefo followed in the trail of his grandfather's ultimately unsuccessful political and entrepreneurial activities in Baltimore, Kansas City, Cuba (for two years), Manhattan (from 1900), and Yonkers (from 1905). By 1911—after his grandfather's death in 1907 and his mother s short lived second marriage which brought the family to Passaic New ...

Article

Noble Sissle first sang in his father's Methodist Church, and he was a soloist in his Cleveland, Ohio, high school's glee club. After serving in World War I (1914–1918) as a drum major, Sissle had enormous success in the vaudeville theater, teaming up with “Eubie” Blake as the Dixie Duo. In 1921 they created Shuffle Along, starring Florence Mills. Shuffle Along changed Broadway musical theater by introducing a Jazz dancing chorus line and the vitality and style of African American music to a more “refined” mainstream theater. Sissle and Blake wrote songs, including the well-known “I'm Just Wild About Harry.” They also produced Runnin' Wild (1924) and Chocolate Dandies (1924). In 1937 Sissle was the cofounder and first president of the Negro Actors' Guild. In 1945 and 1946, Sissle toured Europe with a USO show, performing a re-staged Shuffle Along ...

Article

Annemarie Bean

vocalist, lyricist, and orchestra leader, was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. His early interest in performance was influenced by his father, George Andrew, a Methodist Episcopal minister and organist, and by his schoolteacher mother, Martha Angeline, who stressed good diction. When he was seventeen the family moved to Cleveland, Ohio, and Sissle attended the integrated Central High School. Sissle had begun his professional life by joining Edward Thomas's all-male singing quartet in 1908, which toured a Midwest evangelical Chautauqua circuit. Upon graduating from high school, Sissle toured again, this time with Hann's Jubilee Singers. After brief enrollments at DePauw University and Butler University in Indiana, Sissle got his show business break when he was asked by the manager of the Severin Hotel to form a syncopated orchestra in the style of James Reese Europe Syncopated orchestras also known as society orchestras and ...

Article

Bill Egan

lyricist, orchestra leader, and actor. Noble Lee Sissle was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, the fourth of six children. His parents were the Reverend George A. Sissle, a Methodist Episcopal minister, and Martha Scott Sissle, a schoolteacher. The family moved to Cleveland, Ohio, in 1906. Sissle attended Central High, a racially liberal white school. He joined the school glee club and in 1911 toured professionally with Hann's Jubilee Singers. When his father died in 1913, Sissle returned to Indiana and university studies, initially at DePauw, in Greencastle, and then at Butler, in Indianapolis. He developed lyricist skills writing parodies for the football team. Singing with Joe Porter's Serenaders in Baltimore, he met his future partner, the pianist Eubie Blake.

Blake's playing and composing combined brilliantly with Sissle's singing and lyrics. In 1915 they had their first commercial song success when the vaudeville ...