Marisa Monte: 9 things you didn't know about Brazil’s MPB star

by Brazil Club - Let The Music Take You There on 11/10/2017 - 05:34 pm

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Marisa Monte: 9 things you didn't know about Brazil’s MPB star 


Marisa Monte: Things you may not know

Brazil Club 411: You may think you know Marisa Monte, but there are some surprising facts and trivia that even the biggest Monte fans may be shocked to read. Here, Marisa sits for a cover photo shoot with Bravo to mark her 45th birthday.


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Marisa Monte is celebrating 30 years of her stellar career; making a name for herself in the 1990s as a rising star in Brazilian music, where her talent and popularity resulted in four Latin Grammy awards. Fast Forward to the present; representing Rio’s Summer Olympic launch in London and now, where her role with the Supergroup Tribalistas could result in Brazil’s ‘Album of the Year’.

Projecting a private and sophisticated demeanor, Monte has become one of the world’s most admired Brazilians, but there are still a ton of facts and trivia you probably don’t know about this southern star of MPB.


1.    Marisa Monte moved to Italy to study opera


Photo: Promotional                               


It’s true. When she was 14, Monte wanted to become an opera singer like her early idol Maria Calles. So she studied lyric singing and five years later (after a few hits and misses with Rio’s Pop/Rock club scene) moved her zip code to Venice and Rome, where she began training in Bel canto.  But after 10 months, Monte returned to Brazil after realizing that she did not want to live away from her homeland.



2.    Her father has been a Director of Rio’s legendary Portela Samba School

Photo: Marcos Serra Lima                                 

Marisa Monte grew up in a nurturing musical environment. Her father, Carlos Monte, an economist, was a cultural director at the Portela samba school and that’s how she grew to appreciate Rio's deeply-held traditions of Samba. Portela is Rio’s reining Carnaval champion and its 2018 theme hints at the story of Emma Lazarus, who wrote the poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty.



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Listen: 'Marisa Monte's 30th Anniversary Special'

It's a ‘Best Of’ show to celebrate her 30th Anniversary in music, from her very first single to her latest hit songs. Parbens!




3.    Her very first single became a cult classic

Photo: Promotional                                

Perhaps it was her 1982 role in Rocky Horror, but for whatever the reason, Marisa Monte became something of a cult icon in Rio at the start of her career. But she’s not sure why: “As soon as I showed up, I was given the ‘cult’ label and curiously, it is still around today". Maybe it’s because Monte doesn’t behave like the Diva moniker that’s been given to her by the press. "When I’m away from the stage, I don’t act the way a popular singer is expected to be." Good for you, Marisa!


4.    She leads a personal life, in public


Photo: Uncredited                                

In 2002, Marisa Monte became pregnant during the lead-up to the album ‘Os Tribalistas’ and she decided to set aside her career, and stay out of the public eye. The simultaneous release of ‘Infinito Particular’ and ‘Universo Ao Meu Redor’ marked her return in 2006. "Simple things make me happy,” she says. “To admire a toucan, to dry my hair in the sun, to make a meal for my two children. I do not have the goal of making money.”



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5.    Monte respects the traditions of Brazil’s diverse musical history

Photo: Uncredited                                

When she signed her first contract with EMI Brasil, one of the first things Monte did was to do a deep dive into the label’s archives. “They were the oldest record company in Brazil, and they had all that Carmen Miranda, Pixinguinha and Dorival Caymmi stuff”, she said. It reportedly took months to go through it all, but her research laid the basis for her creative path. Here she is with Paulinho da Viola, who created the term "Old Guard" to honor the veterns of the Escolas do Samba.


6.    She’s sold more than 11 million albums… and nearly a third of those came from one album

Photo: Archive                                 

Marisa Monte has won numerous national and international awards, but it was her 2002 recording with Tribalistas (L to R, Carlinhos Brown, Monte, Arnaldo Antunes) that sold the most: nearly 3 million copies worldwide. Last August, they reunited for a new ‘Tribalistas’ album and their popularity hasn’t waned: Brazil Club’s Facebook announcement for the debut reached more than 9,000 fans in a heartbeat.


7.    Marisa Monte Is descended from one of the oldest Italian families in Brazil

Photo: Wikipedia Commons - Pediboi                                  


Marisa Monte was born in Rio de Janeiro, daughter of Carlos Saboia Monte and Sylvia Marques de Azevedo Monte. On her father's side, she is descended from the Saboias, one of the oldest Italian families in Brazil.


8.    Rolling Stone likes her. A lot.

Photo: Uncredited                                 

Marisa is considered by Rolling Stone Brasil to be the second greatest singer in Brazilian music history, behind only Elis Regina. That’s quite a compliment!


9.    Monte has a new songwriting partner

Photo: Miguel Vassy                                 

Although many of her best-known songs have come from partnerships with Carlinhos Brown and Arnaldo Antunes, recently Marisa Monte has been seen with a new talent who goes by his surname: Silva. The two met after he honored her on an episode of TV Globo’s ‘Versões’. This week, Lucio Silva is in London to present his show ‘Silva Canta Marisa’, his interpretation of many Monte favorites.