The Feminine Mystique Of Brazilian Song

by Brazil Club - Let The Music Take You There on 03/07/2018 - 02:49 pm

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The Feminine Mystique Of Brazilian Song                                                                    Image - uncredited      

Brazil Club 411: Unique? Perhaps. Impactful? Absolutely. The true nature of Brazilian music is decidedly feminine. 


Point of View

Take a quick peek at any of our streaming channels and you'll see songs from Rio's Marcela Biasi, New York's Bebel Gilberto, Atlanta's Janelle Monae and Sao Paulo's Gisele de Santi. They follow in the path forged by the pioneering women of Brazilian music, beginning with Brazil's first female orchestra leader and composer Chiquinha Gonzaga in the late 1800's, and Tia Ciata, who nurtured Samba's birth in Rio de Janeiro, 1916.

So followed the ‘household names’ of Brazilian music: from Carmen Miranda to Marisa Monte and Elis Regina, who's birthday is March 17th.  

And every year we salute International Woman's Day by celebrating with ‘Songs In The Feminine Key’.

Where do we start? Maybe with Joyce, who was the first femme in Brazilian song to write songs from a woman’s point-of-view. Or Gal Costa – thought of by many as Brazil’s greatest Diva. Newcomers like Patricia Talem, Luisa Maita, Monica da Silva, Fabiana Passoni, Clara Moreno, Vanesa da Mata, Céu, Marcela Mangabeira and Patricia Marx lead a new generation that – for the first time – promises to challenge the mostly male hierarchy.

Astrud Gilberto transformed Bossa Nova by coming to New York as João Gilberto’s wife, and then staying on to become the world’s musical ‘girl from Ipanema’. Back home, she was a virtual unknown due to a plethora of rising stars to fill the feminine sky: Nara Leão, Sylvia Telles, Miucha, Rita Lee and Wanda Sa – that’s the beginning of a long list of 60’s stars who paved the way for other women to follow: Rosa Passos, Jane Duboc, Rosalia de Souza, Tutti Bae, Maria Rita, Salena Jones, Bebel Gilberto, Sabrina Malheiros, Zelia Duncan and many more.




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Name Dropping To Make A Point 

Carmen Miranda broke cultural barriers in the 30’s to become a larger than life symbol of Brazilian exuberance, and she carried her country’s music with her. Elizeth Cardoso was the musical mother who incubated the first Bossa Nova song in the late 50’s. Here, she represents a cadre of pre-Bossa female vocalists who ruled Brazilian radio in the first half of our century past, including Doris Monteiro, Hebe Camargo, Dalva de Oliveira and Aracy de Almeida.

And that’s just on the vocal side of Brazilian music. Rosinha de Valança picked up her guitar in the mid-60’s to break into Rio’s studio session scene, and went on to become part of Sergio Mendes’ first US band. She opened the door for generations of Brazilian women players: Eliane Elias, Badi Assad, Celia Vaz, and Tania Maria continue the tradition.

What about his side of the equator? Lani Hall, Kevyn Lettau, Kenia, Basia, Karrin Allyson, Flora Purim, Luciana Souza  - even Dionne Warwick, Lisa Ono and Sarah Vaughan -  have lent their talents to Brazilian song.

March Birthdays, Plus 'One'

This is but a short list and a survey the universe of Brazilian music would reveal that women make up a close and poweful minority. Men may write more songs and record more hits but the personality of Brazilian music – especially Brazilian jazz, Bossa Nova and MPB – is still indisputably feminine.

March is a month that also celebrates birthdays for Fabiana PassoniCarol Saboya and Astrud Gilberto. We’ll take a break to welcome the arrival of “spring, Brazilian-style” and wrap up the month by lighting another candle for our favorite ‘Girl Form Ipanema’.

'One' more:

Many years ago, I was able to play a part in preserving Elis Regina’s life story, the English version of the book ‘Furacão Elis (Hurricane Elis) by Regina Echeverria and translated by Robert St-Louis. It’s free to read anytime from this page. And if you have not yet introduced yourself to Giselle de Santi’s music (and here award-winning song) please be sure to visit the Lounge page at Brazil Club sometime soon.


Happy Listening

Scott Adams


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This Week on The Sounds of Brazil : 'Songs In The Feminine Key’


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03/07 3:00 pm CT Wednesday: Streaming debut at Brazil Club

03/07 5:00 pm ET Wednesday: Brasil Radio 93.1 FM + 810 AM (encore)

03/09 8:00 pm ET Friday: Jazz City Radio

03/10 6:00 pm CT Saturday: Chat Box 'Meet Up',

03/11 10:00 am ET Sunday: Wave 105

03/11 12:00 pm CT Sunday: Smooth Jazz Expressions

03/11 2:00 pm CT Sunday: WDCB 90.9 FM Chicago

03/11 5:00 pm ET Sunday: Downtown Dayton Radio

03/11 7:00 pm ET Sunday: Brasil Radio 93.1 FM + 810 AM

03/11 8:00 pm ET Sunday: WHJZ New Buffalo

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