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Friday, May 20, 2022

Elsa Soares, pushing the boundaries of Brazilian music, dies at 91

Elsa Soares, a samba singer whose meteoric rise from favela to fame was later marred by a scandalous romance with one of Brazil’s most famous football stars, died Thursday at her home in Rio de Janeiro. She was 91 years old.

Her death was announced in a statement on her official Instagram account, adding that she “sang to the end”.

With beautiful features that have been compared to Eartha Kitt and a gruff voice reminiscent of Louis Armstrong, Ms. Soares became one of the few black singers in Brazil who starred in films in the 1960s and on television in the 70s.

Her first album “Se Acaso Você Chegasse” (“If you happen to come in”), released in 1960, introduced scat singing in samba. Her second film, A Bossa Negra (1961), lacked a boss nova. Instead, it introduced the samba popular in the favelas, thus bringing back the African roots of a sound whose international success was attributed to the removal of the samba drums and the addition of complex jazz harmonies.

As her fame grew, she stayed true to her roots. “I never left the favela,” she liked to tell reporters, and often ended the show thanking the audience for “every piece of bread my kids ate.”

Such conversations were almost unheard of in the 1960s in Brazil, where, despite the yawning gulf between rich and poor and despite having a larger black population than any other country outside of Nigeria, public discussion of issues of poverty and race was considered inelegant. .

RCA Records refused to offer her a contract after learning she was black, and she sang in Copacabana nightclubs for several years before signing with Odeon Records in 1960, where she began a long recording career, subtly – and sometimes not so subtle – pushing the boundaries. Brazilian music.

But by the 1980s, she might have been better known as the wife of the soccer star known as Mane Garrincha, considered second only to Pelé in Brazil, than for her music. When Garrincha left his wife and eight children to marry Mrs. Soares, it was a national scandal. She was widely humiliated and called a homeowner. Angry fans threw stones at their house in Rio and even opened fire on it.

It wasn’t until the early 2000s, long after her husband’s death, that Ms. Soares orchestrated an unlikely comeback, bringing in young composers and producers who were just beginning to discover her music. Her new songs were even more direct than her previous ones in addressing social issues, openly defending the rights of blacks, gays, and especially women.

Elsa Gomez da Conceicao was born on June 23, 1930 in the Padre Miguel favela in Rio de Janeiro. Her mother, Rosaria Maria da Conceisan, was a laundress; her father, Avelino Gomez, was a bricklayer who played the guitar and loved samba.

Her father forced her to marry Lourdes António Soares when she was 12 years old; by the age of 21, she was widowed and the mother of five children.

She said that a desperate need to buy medicine for a sick child led her to venture into singing on a popular radio talent show when she was 15 years old. pins. She was nearly laughed at backstage until show host Ari Barbosa asked her what planet she came from. She disarmed him with her answer: “The same planet as you is the Planet of Hunger.”

“At that moment, everyone who was laughing sat down in their seats and everyone fell silent. I finished singing and he hugged me, saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is the moment a star is born,” Ms. Soares said in a 2002 TV interview.

Her singing career took off, leading to film and television appearances. She was one of the few black Brazilian women who achieved fame at the time.

However, her career was soon overshadowed by a passionate affair with Manuel Francisco dos Santos, known as Garrincha. Their romance began at the 1962 World Cup in Chile, where she represented Brazil as an artist, and where her career could have taken a very different turn: she also met Louis Armstrong, who invited her to tour the United States with him, but instead she decided to follow her heart and return to Brazil with Garrincha. This move would be disastrous.

Under the pretext of the public and the press, the couple was forced to move to São Paulo and, eventually, to Italy, where they spent four years. They got married in 1966.

When the couple returned to Brazil in 1975, Mrs. Soares was pregnant with their son, Manoel Francisco dos Santos Junior. By then, Garrinchi’s alcoholism had become a serious problem. In 1969, he was drunk driving when he had an accident that killed Mrs. Soares’ mother. He beat Ms. Soares, who became known for visiting bar owners, begging them not to serve her husband. But her efforts were in vain; Garrincha died of cirrhosis of the liver in 1983.

When their son died in a car accident in 1986 at the age of 9, Ms. Soares was devastated and left Brazil. She spent several years in Los Angeles, trying in vain to launch an international career.

She credited Brazilian singer-songwriter Cayetano Veloz for helping her get back into music when she was about to give up, introducing her on her 1984 album Velo.

But throughout the 1980s and 90s, her activity was uneven, and it was not until 2002 that she regained her success by contacting composers and producers from São Paulo, where she played samba sujo (“dirty samba”), to record an album “Do Coccix Até”. o Pescoço” (“Coccyx to Neck”), which was nominated for a Latin Grammy Award.

In 2016, her A Mulher do Fim do Mundo (Woman at the End of the World) won a Latin Grammy for Best Brazilian Popular Music Album.

Ms. Soares is survived by her children, Joao Carlos, Gerson, Dilma and Sarah, as well as numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her son Dilson died in 2015.

She continued to find success with younger audiences in the new century, working tirelessly into her 90s, exploring musical styles including electronic dance music, punk rock and free jazz, and recording albums that fearlessly tackled social issues.

The title of her album “Planeta Fome” (“Planet of Hunger”), released in 2019, directly indicates how her career began on a radio talent show that forever changed not only her life, but also the direction of Brazilian music.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
World Nation News is a digital news portal website. Which provides important and latest breaking news updates to our audience in an effective and efficient ways, like world’s top stories, entertainment, sports, technology and much more news.
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