Friday, 19 October 2018

Angela Maria dies

Angela Maria, 89, Brazilian singer who inspired a generation, dies

By Lis Moriconi
11 October 2018

Angela Maria, the Brazilian singer who became a national sensation in the 1950s and inspired a generation of artists with her piercing, sometimes hoarse, often melancholy voice, died on 29 September 2018, in São Paulo. She was 89.

Her husband, Daniel D’Angelo, announced the death in a video posted on her Facebook page.

Angela Maria had a wildly successful recording career and performed in sold-out halls well into her 80s, her voice still vibrant. She was equally at home performing tangos, cha-chas and boleros. She recorded more than 650 songs and appeared in 20 films.

She was also the subject of intense tabloid scrutiny. At a time when divorce was frowned upon in Brazil, she broke a cultural taboo by marrying four times, most controversially to Mr. D’Angelo, with whom she had moved in when she was 52 and he was 18.

She once explained the popularity of her music by noting that it drew on the heartache of Brazilians, a people well acquainted with hardship. But its appeal was universal.

“Everybody suffers,” she said in a television interview in 1988. “And this suffering is what I convey through the songs I sing.”

Unlike other radio stars of her era, she retained a strong following during the bossa nova and tropicália eras in the late 1950s and 1960s. She was still performing frequently when samba made a comeback in the ’70s and weathered changing styles into the ’90s.

“Angela came out of the Italian bel canto tradition and had Latin American influence, especially the bolero,” said Rodrigo Faour, who wrote a biography of her. “Her voice is powerful, it’s warm and mesmerizing, it’s not music you can put on in the background. And it had an ‘open sesame’ effect. Every time she sang, doors opened.”

She was born Abelim Maria da Cunha in Conceição de Macabu, Rio de Janeiro State, on 13 May 1929, the 10th child of Albertino Coutinho Cunha, a farmer who later became a Baptist pastor, and Julita Maria da Cunha. Because the family was very poor, Abelim spent part of her childhood living in other households, sometimes doing menial work.

Her talent was first spotted when she sang in churches as a teenager. Eager to sing for larger audiences, she would sneak out of services against the wishes of her family to compete in amateur radio competitions, which she entered under what would ultimately become her stage name. The competitions yielded prizes, which she stashed in a shoe box at home. She soon began entertaining the idea of recording an album.

As a young adult, she made a meager living working in a factory, where she dazzled colleagues by belting out semi-operatic songs like Gounod’s “Ave Maria.”

Angela Maria became an instant hit when radio stations began playing her first records in the early 1950s. By the end of the decade, having won numerous awards and become the country’s most well-paid singer, she began hosting live television shows. She maintained a punishing schedule, often shuttling between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

Among her biggest hits were the rumba “Babalu” and the ballads "Labios de mel" ("Honey lips"), “Não Tenho Você” (“I Don’t Have You”) and “Vá, mas Volte” (“Leave, but Come Back”).

Her music had an impact on many prominent Brazilian musicians, including Milton Nascimento, Maria Bethânia and Djavan. The renowned singer Elis Regina said she had been “tremendously influenced” by Angela Maria.

The Brazilian singer and actress Carmen Miranda was also a fan. Angela Maria was startled to learn that Ms. Miranda — who was older and had became a luminary in Hollywood — was an avid collector of her albums.

Ms. Miranda contacted her to request a meeting 14 years after leaving Brazil. “She was my idol,” Angela Maria said. “When I heard she wanted to see me I froze.”

Along with Ms. Miranda and Dalva de Oliveira, Mr. Faour said, “Angela became the matrix of Brazilian singers.” He added, “She gave popular composers powerful, sophisticated renditions.”

Angela Maria married Mr. D’Angelo on her birthday in 2012, after they had been together for 33 years. In addition to him, she is survived by four children.

Angela Maria was sometimes chided for her over-the-top rendition of songs and her flashy dresses. She took the criticism as a compliment.

“It makes me proud,” she once said. “Brazilians are gaudy.”

A version of this article appears in print on Oct. 12, 2018, on Page B13 of the New York edition with the headline: Angela Maria, 89, Aching Voice of Brazil’s Melancholy.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Jeanette Adib, a show business journalist

from left to right: Jeanette Adib, Jair Alves, Linda Baptista, her sister Dircinha Baptista, unknown, Claudete Soares & singer Lucy Rosana. 

Friday, 10 August 2018

Gilda Lopes continued...

As we have seen, it was first posted here on 2nd April 2012 - Gilda Lopes was a Brazilian hopeful who worked at the Brazilian Embassy in Rome in the late 1950s.

In a short period of less than 3 months - from September to Christmas Eve 1962 - Gilda Lopes lived from heaven to hell. After relentlessly pursuing a career as a singer since 1960, she finally hit the big time when 'O trovador de Toledo', her 1st recording for EMI-Odeon hit Number One throughout the country and Gilda Lopes became the darling of radio, TV, newspapers and magazines. 

Before 1962 was through, Gilda had sold more than 100,000 discs, bought a great apartment in fashionable Copacabana and was on her way to record her first album for Odeon. The week before Christmas 1962, tragedy struck her mercilessly when her 9 year-old son Jean Bayard was the victim of  dreadful accident while travelling in a bus from Porto Alegre-RS to Rio de Janeiro with his grand-mother. 

'Revista do Radio' no. 680 (29 September 1962) introduces Gilda Lopes to its readers.
Gilda Lopes' 'O trovador de Toledo' at #1 at the Revista do Radio's chart on 13 October 1962.
Revista do Radio no. 687 (17 November 1962) acknowledges Gilda Lopes is a phenomenon due to her having sold 100,000 copies of 'O trovador de Toledo' in a few weeks; and warns Angela Maria , who had also recorded a different version of the French tune 'L'arlequin de Tolède' - that she had a new 'rival'. A hundred thousand singles was the greatest amount a Brazilian act could sell then. It was the equivalent of a million records sold in the USA or Japan.
Revista do Radio no.696 (19 January 1963); a small note at 'Mexericos da Candinha' gossip column which was probably ready by late December 1962 eerily says: 'You should see how handsome Gilda Lopes' young man of 9 is'. The 'young-man' was Gilda's 9 year-old son Jean Bayard, who was victim of a harrowing accident in which he nearly died.  
Revista do Radio no. 699 (9 February 1963)

'Revista do Radio', Brazil's top show business weekly rag since 1949 was not exactly an example of excellence. Have a really good look at these 3 different articles about Gilda which were published in a 4-month period and you'll see that RR probably had paid her a visit once, took as many photographs as possible and used them all at different times. The magazine was really slow to catch up with the news. The accident with Gilda's son happened the week before Christmas 1962 but RR only gave a hint of the accident on 9 February 1963, more than a month later.

Actually it looks like this article was already made - for the emphasis is on Gilda's buying of a grand duplex apartment on Rua Dias da Rocha in fashionable Copacabana - when someone said: 'Wait a minute, there was a tragedy here so we have to squeeze it in somehow'. Here's the article in its original Portuguese:

Gilda Lopes experimentou 2 emoções diferentes, quase a um só tempo: recebeu uma fortuna pela venda de seus discos - foi a grande revelação de 1962 - e comprou uma apartamento duplex na Rua Dias da Rocha em Copacabana, no valor de 18 milhões de cruzeiros (USD 36,000 que corresponde a USD 300,000 em valor atualizado em 2018).

A informação chegou à RR por outros canais, sabendo-se que a cantora prefere não divulgar o fato para não ser mal interpretada. Gilda, no entanto, sofreu um abalo fortíssimo ha alguns dias quando soube do acidente em estrada com sua mãe e seu filhinho ocorrido em Curitiba, ficando o menino gravemente ferido, embora esteja a salvo.

Revista do Radio n. 703 (9 March 1963). 'Revista do Radio' finally catches up with the news nearly 3 months later:  

Desde algumas semanas a cantora Gilda Lopes sofre um terrível drama, angustiada inclusive pelo complexo de culpa. Tudo aconteceu à época em que se sucediam os desastres de avião, no Brasil e em outras terras. Alarmada com aquelas tragédias, Gilda Lopes não permitiu que seu filho (de apenas 8 anos) voltasse para o Rio, juntamente com sua vovó (e mãe da cantora) em viagem aérea. Conta-se, mesmo, que o menino, pelo telefone, pediu à sua genitora que o deixasse viajar de avião. Ela não concordou e impôs o regresso através de ônibus. E o pior aconteceu. 

Foi difícil à reportagem apurar a extensão da dolorosa ocorrência. Sabe-se, apenas, que o ônibus em que viajavam o filho e a mãe da cantora sofreu, próximo de São Paulo um abalroamento. O choque foi colher precisamente a criança, causando-lhe ferimentos profundos e suspeita de esmagamento de um dos braços. Infelizmente a suspeita confirmou-se quando a criança foi conduzida ao hospital, onde os médicos, sem outros recursos, tiveram que amputar-lhe o braço, para salvar-lhe a vida. 

Em desespero, a artista foi para junto de seu filho, ausentando-se de todas atividades artísticas. Foi impossível localizá-la. Gilda dedicou-se inteiramente ao seu pequeno Jean, não se sabendo, mesmo, se ela voltaria àquelas atividades. 

Cumpre acrescentar que o menino Jean vinha do Rio Grande do Sul, em companhia de sua avó, mãe de Gilda, que no acidente sofreu fraturas em 5 costelas, permanecendo vários dias, em um hospital, em estado desesperador. 

Agora, felizmente, a mãe de Gilda Lopes encontra-se fora de perigo. A cantora levará o pequeno Jean aos Estados Unidos, a fim de por lá seja-lhe adaptado um braço mecânico.

'Revista do Radio' n. 711 (4th May 1963) finally gets an interview with Gilda Lopes who tells her her whole story. 

Quem vê Gilda Lopes alegre, cantando num programa de TV, nem de leve pode imaginar o drama que viveu e ainda vive. Em 31 de Dezembro de 1962, a mãe da cantora e seu filho de 9 anos, Jean Bayard, vinham de Porto Alegre-RS, quando perto de São Paulo, o ônibus em que viajavam sofreu violento desastre, capotando na estrada. Entre as as outras vítimas menos atingidas, Jean e sua avó não foram tão felizes. Deixemos que a própria Gilda Lopes conte o que aconteceu.

"Foi o pior Ano Novo que já tive em minha vida. Mamãe fraturou 3 costelas e uma delas perfurou-lhe o pulmão. Ela esteve vários dias entre a vida e a morte e, embora já esteja melhor, não está totalmente recuperada. Meu filho sofreu esmagamento do braço esquerdo e teve que amputá-lo, quase à altura do ombro. Ele demonstrou ser uma criança de grande força de vontade porque, poucos dias depois de operado, já estava desenhando, coisa que adora fazer. 

Durante 2 meses, abandonei minha carreira e fiquei com minha mãe e meu filho na Beneficência Portuguesa de São Paulo. Emagreci tanto que meus amigos quase que não me conheciam mais. Sofri o que não desejo ao meu pior inimigo, se é que tenho algum. Mas agora, felizmente, tudo vai entrando novamente nos eixos". 

A entrevista tem lugar no belo apartamento da cantora em Copacabana, no Posto 4. Ela frequenta o posto que reside usando seu maiô de uma peça só, preto. Mas quando quer queimar-se, pega seu carro esporte Isabella, manufaturado pela Borgward, de cor gelo, de 2 lugares, e, de bikini, vai dourar a pele na Barra da Tijuca.

Recuperada de seu esgotamento físico e nervoso, causado pelo acidente, Gilda voltou às suas medidas - 1,65 m de altura, 53 kg de peso, 95 cm de busto e quadris e 59 cm de cintura - que combinam com seus longos cabelos castanhos claros. A propósito, ela nos conta: 

"Já fui 'Rainha dos Estudantes' em Porto Alegre e 'Rainha do Grupo Folclórico'. Também fui eleita Miss Porto Alegre, 5 meses antes de me casar, mas esse título ficou pouco tempo comigo pois descobriram que eu tinha apenas 15 anos. Depois casei, desquitei-me e ha cerca de 1 ano enviuvei. 

Nasci em Porto Alegre em 17 de junho de 1937 e sou a cantora da família. Minha irmã é pintora, formada em artes plasticas e minha mãe é pianista, tendo dado concertos até os 15 anos de idade, quando casou. Eu também estudei piano, mas apenas durante 6 anos. Estudei ballet em Porto Alegre e no Rio de Janeiro e, durante 4 anos, aprendi dança espanhola.

Depois resolvi ser médica e assim cursei medicina, 1 ano em Porto Alegre e outro no Rio. Desisti para ir viver na Europa, mas talvez ainda volte a estudar, embora me sinta realizada no canto. 

Fiquei 2 anos na Europa, onde era adida cultural à Embaixada do Brasil em Roma. Foi lá que começou minha carreira artística. Um dia o embaixador pediu-me que fosse representar o Brasil num programa da Radio. Fui pensando que era para falar mas queriam que eu cantasse. Acedi e pouco depois recebia um convite da RAI, Televisão Italiana para cantar em um programa. 

Prometeram pagar minha atuação, mas eu tinha pavor de cantar na televisão e, enquanto eu ia recusando, o pessoal da RAI ia aumentando as ofertas. Afinal ganhei 50.000 cruzeiros, uma geladeira, uma televisão e outros presentes. Fui contratada e tive que me registrar como artista. Cantava em Milão e Roma, além de trabalhar na Embaixada. 

Não resistindo à saudade da família, voltei ao Brasil, justamente quando, depois de trabalhar em 'Le bellissime gambe di Sabrina', filme com Mamie Van Doren, lançado em 21 Novembro 1958, era chamada para aparecer em 'La dolce vita' de Fellini. 

Durante 2 anos estive no Brasil sem trabalhar e reapareci ha 8 meses, quando fui contratada pela Odeon para gravar. Tendo ouvido na boite Black Horse uma musica francesa chamada 'L' arlequin de Tolède', resolvi gravá-la em um 78 rpm, que já vendeu 150,000 cópias. O compacto-simples 'Tango italiano' / 'O trovador de Toledo' já vendeu 30,000 cópias, e então a EMI-Odeon resolveu gravar meu LP, que se chama 'Gilda Lopes, a fabulosa'.

Devido ao êxito de algumas músicas desse LP, a fábrica lançou um compacto com 'Ba ba laô' e 'Quero paz' e um 78 rpm contendo 'Padre Don Jose' e 'Hora do amor'.

Para finalizar podemos informar que em junho de 1963, Gilda Lopes irá aos Estados Unidos, para atuar no programa de Ed Sullivan e nessa ocasião levará consigo seu filho, para colocar um braço artificial, que lhe dará todos os movimentos necessários. 

Gilda Lopes tries to find solace reading Norman Vincent Peale's 'The power of positive thinking' (O valor do pensamento positivo). 

Gilda Lopes' first single 'O trovador de Toledo' (L'Arlequin de Tolède) written by Hubert Giraud & Jean Drejac translated into Portuguese by Romeu Nunes - reached #1 as a 78 rpm in late 1962. By early 1963 Odeon re-released it as 33 rpm 7-inches single (7B-014).
Gilda Lopes' second single for Odeon (015) 'A hora do amor' (Les filles de Cadix) wasn't a smash hit like 'O trovador de Toledo' but went high in the charts too reaching #1 in Rio de Janeiro. 
78 rpm 'Tango italiano' b/w 'O trovador de Toledo'.

'O trovador de Toledo' leaps from #10 to Number One in one short week on 23rd September 1962, displacing Bobby Darin's 'Multiplication' from the film 'Come September'. 

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Sylvia Telles goes to the U.S.A.

Radiolandia #337, 1st October 1960. Sylvia (holding a cigarette in one hand and a coat in the other) listens to Oscar's guitar; the girl in the centre is Laïs who was signed by Philips too. 
Oscar Castro Neves says goodbye to Sylvia Telles in style.

Sylvia Telles flew to New York with Aloysio de Oliveira. They met Adalgisa Colombo, Miss Brazil 1958 who had been living in the USA since she was the runner up to the Miss Universe competition in 1958. She actually married Brazilian diplomat Jackson Flores and had a baby boy. Sylvia & Aloysio also also met orchestra conductor Leo Perachi another expatriate who'd been living in the USA for some time.

They left New York and drove in a car all the way to California which took them 10 days. They made a stop at Las Vegas, Nevada where they paid a visit to Leny Eversong who was the main attraction at the Thunderbird night club. It took them 2 days to get booked to see Leny in action. 

Sylvia in Las Vegas, Nevada; Radiolandia #340, 15 November 1960.

Aloysio de Oliveira, Sylvia, Leny Everson & her husband in Las Vegas.
it took 2 days for Sylvia & Aloysio to be able to get in the Thunderbird to watch Leny Eversong starring the biggest show in town. 
Radiolandia #339, 1st November 1960
Sylvia is dazzled by Hollywood star Roberto Conrad; Laïs who was friends with Sylvia has her first 78 rpm single released by Philips: 'Patinho feio' b/w 'Com você' - Radiolandia # 339, 1st November 1960.  

Sylvia at the cover of Radiolandia #315, 16 April 1960.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017


Newton Ferreira de Mendonça was born on 14 February 1927, in Rio de Janeiro. He was an Aquarian just like Antonio Carlos Jobim, his best friend, born on 25 February 1927, only 20 days earlier. 

He lived in Porto Alegre-RS and was back in Rio in 1942, when he was 15 years old. He was a classic-trained pianist and joined his childhood friend Tom Jobim circa 1953. They wrote both music and lyrics for seminal songs like 'Desafinado', 'Samba de uma nota só', 'Discussão', 'Meditação' aka 'O amor, o sorriso e a flor' and others.

As his friend Jobim, Newton played piano at night clubs in Rio which was not good for his health. He had a heart attack in 1959, while working at Carrossel. A yearl later, on 22nd November 1960, Newton had a second and fatal heart attack.

Newton Mendonça was a shy type of entertainer. He avoided the spotlight but somehow received Radiolandia's journalist at his home in October 1960 for a chat. Exactly 4 weeks before he died. 

Newton Mendonça at his piano at home. Radiolandia #337, 15 October 1960
Renato (4 years-old), Cirene his missus, Fernando (1 year-old) & Newton (33 years-old).

Radiolandia #343, 1st January 1961; Newton Mendonça died on 22nd November 1960. 

a simple note at 'Correio da Manhã', 24 November 1960, says Newton Mendonça died in the first hours of the day. Newton had played his piano at a night club and had arrived home. He went to the kitchen to prepare a light meal and get to sleep. Suddenly he felt a sharp pain in his chest and it was Death itself that came to fetch him. 

most of Newton Mendonça's photos available publicly were taken a few weeks before his death.
Cirene holds Fernando & Newton holds Renato - 1960. 
an earlier photo of Mendonça's.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Noite Ilustrada & the racist Brazilian society

Noite Ilustrada (Illustrated Night) was singer Mario Filho's pseudonym. As various Black entertainers before him, he was given a racist-tinged name relating to his dark skin. 

Brazilian society has been a racist society since the 17th century when the Portuguese promoted the African slave traffic that dominated Western society for centuries. 

Well, we're still racist with different shades & forms...

This 1962 Radiolandia articles says: A singer who needs to change his name! 

Radiolandia #367, 1st January 1962

Noite Ilustrada's 1961 album released by Mocambo.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

GASOLINA, a young Black singer in the 1950s...

Antonio Monte de Souza used to work at a gasoline station in Porto Alegre-RS. After knocking off work he used to change into a nice suit and go to Radio Gaúcha to sing at gong shows. People noticed that his clothes reeked of gasoline and that's how he got his nickname. 

In 1953, Antonio up and left Porto Alegre to try his luck in Rio de Janeiro. He went straight to Radio Nacional and asked MC Cesar de Alencar for a chance to sing. 

Nelson Gonçalves took a shine to Antonio and brought him to Sao Paulo where he signed with Radio Record for 7 years.  

'Radiolandia' 15 August 1963.

17.792 - Continental 1960

Escureceu (Talismã-Edmundo Andrade) / Castigou legal (Nancy Wanderley-Newton Ramalho)

Radiolandia #338,  15 October 1960.

Brazilian press usually treated Black people with contempt and derision. This little article on Radiolandia says Gasolina was really thankful to Paulinho Machado de Carvalho the strong-man at Radio & TV Record for having literally saved him from starvation when he signed him up as a singer. 

The magazine goes a little farther on the sterotyping saying Gazolina said: 'I am the poor man's Sammy Davis, Jr. But I assure you I won't be marrying a blonde woman'.  Gazolina meant May Britt the Swedish blonde who married the Black US entertainer. 

Radiolandia #345; Gasolina & Angela Maria in 1961
Radiolandia #359; Paulo Molin & Gasolina in 1961.

Intervalo posted this Gasolina photo as late as 21st July 1963, when he took part in a charity show organized by Rio de Janeiro Archbishop D. Helder Câmara.