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Bryan McCann

was born 7 March 1913 in Campos, Brazil. His parents were part of the post-abolition, rural black poor in that sugar-planting region. His father painted houses and did odd jobs for the Municipal Guard. The family moved to the city of Rio de Janeiro in the 1920s. Batista was among many Afro-Brazilians who moved from the agricultural hinterland of Rio de Janeiro to the city in the decades following the abolition of Brazilian slavery in 1888. He became part of the city’s working poor, finding employment briefly as a lamplighter. This gave Batista ample contact with the malandros, or urban rogues, he would chronicle in his memorable sambas of the 1930s and 1940s.

By the early 1930s Batista was living by his wits and his talent in the bars nightclubs and theaters of downtown Rio particularly the Lapa neighborhood famous for its bordellos and after hours samba jams ...

Article

Cartola  

Christopher Dunn

Born Angenor de Oliveira in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, “Cartola” (top hat) gained his nickname in the early 1920s because he always wore a fine hat, even while working as a mason. In 1929 he founded the second escola de samba (Samba school), Estação Primeira da Mangueira, together with his partner, Carlos Cachaça. In the Carnival of that year, Mangueira paraded to Cartola's composition “Chega de Demanda,” which he would not record until 1974. Mangueira soon emerged as the preeminent samba school and continues to rank among the top Carnival organizations in Rio de Janeiro.

Throughout the 1930s famous Brazilian radio stars like Carmen Miranda, Francisco Alves, Mário Reis, and Araci de Almeida achieved success interpreting Cartola's songs. In 1940 he participated on two albums titled Native Brazilian Music with Pixinguinha, Donga, and João da Baiana, produced by Leopold Stokowski ...

Article

Donga  

Christopher Dunn

Born Ernesto Joaquim Maria dos Santos, Donga grew up in a social milieu with former slaves from the northeastern state of Bahia who had migrated to Rio de Janeiro after abolition in 1888. His mother, known as Tia Amélia, was a Bahian woman who hosted many Candomblé celebrations in their home in the neighborhood of Cidade Nova. Starting around 1910, a young group of musicians and composers, including Donga, Pixinguinha, João da Baiana, Sinhô, and Heitor dos Prazeres, frequented the famous parties of another baiana known as Tia Ciata. At her house they entertained guests with traditional Afro-Brazilian rhythms such as lundu, maxixe, and marcha, which they mixed with imported styles such as the habanera. In November 1916 Donga registered the song Pelo telefone By Telephone at the National Library becoming the first composer officially to use the ...

Article

was born and raised in the morro (hills) da Cachoeirinha in the North Zone of Rio de Janeiro in the early 1940s. As a youth, Mussum spent nine years in the boarding school Fundação Abrigo Cristo Redentor, where he studied and received a degree as a mechanical fitter. After working at his trade for three years, Mussum enlisted in and dedicated eight years of his life to the Brazilian Air Force. To date, no publication details Mussum’s formative years or family life in Brazil; nevertheless, significant biographical information has been reported in the Brazilian national media and some critical literature pertaining to his artistic career and the end of his life.

It was the renowned Afro-Brazilian actor Grande Otelo (1915–1993 who bestowed the nickname Mussum on Carlos a word that designates an elusive fish in the indigenous Tupi language In the Morroda Mangueira neighborhood of Rio Carlos was ...

Article

Thomas George Caracas Garcia

one of the most important and influential female samba singers in Brazil, was born Clementina de Jesus Silva on 7 February 1901 in the small town of Valença in the state of Rio de Janeiro. She moved to the capital city with her family when she was 8 years old. Known as a singer in her neighborhood from an early age, she was associated throughout her life with the Carnaval samba tradition, performing first for the Portela samba school and later with Mangueira, the most famous and popular samba school. For most of her life, Clementina was an amateur musician; she made her living as a maid until 1963, when she was “discovered” by the composer Herminio Belo de Carvalho, who invited her to perform professionally in a traveling stage show called Rosa de Ouro Golden Rose Carvalho also produced her first recordings which catapulted her to popularity ...

Article

Christopher Dunn

As an adolescent, Clementina de Jesus sang in the choir of the local church in the Oswaldo Cruz neighborhood and later participated in the Portela Samba School. In 1940 she married and moved to Mangueira, home to a rival samba school. For the next twenty years she worked as a maid and sang only for family and friends. In 1964 the composer and impresario Hermínio Bello de Carvalho invited her to perform with the classical guitarist Turíbio Santos. Her professional debut coincided with an emerging interest in roots music among left-wing artists and intellectuals. In the following year, Clementina participated in the highly acclaimed musical showcase Rosa de Ouro, which was later released on two albums. In 1966 she represented Brazil in the First Festival of Black Arts in Dakar, Senegal. In 1968 she recorded an album Gente da Antiga with two early innovators of Samba ...

Article

Allan de Paula Oliveira

was born on 21 November 1947 in São Luis, capital of the state of Maranhão (northeastern Brazil). As a child, she learned to sing and play the clarinet (her father was a master of a military brass band) and studied some piano and accordion. Throughout her adolescence she was involved with singing at local events on some TV shows. In 1968 she went to Rio de Janeiro and began to sing in nightclubs, an environment that allowed her to have contact with many musicians. As a result, she found work at the television station TV Excelsior and went on tour in Chile and Argentina. She sang, for example, at legendary Little Club, a nightclub situated in the Beco das Garrafas (literally “Bottles Alley”), a venue where the great names of bossa nova performed between 1956 and 1963. In 1970 she began a two year tour this time in ...