Goodbye To The Diva Baptized As The Brazilian Voice Of The Millennium –


“It is with great sadness and regret that we report the death of the singer and songwriter Elza Soares, 91, at 3:45 p.m. on January 20, at her home in Rio de Janeiro, due to natural causes.” Thus, in a brief statement, the death of the legendary artist was announced, whom the BBC defined in 1999 as the Brazilian voice of the millennium.

Artist of an exceptional personality, managed to prevail not only over poverty and prejudice that its origin entailed, but also to the criticism of Brazilian society for his decision to live as a couple with the soccer star Mané Garrincha (1933-1983), with whom he had a conflictive relationship of 15 years, in which there was violence and alcoholism.

This mythical singer, of enormous versatility, got along comfortably singing samba, bossa nova, MPB, and in recent years pop music. Her talent and natural grace knew how to appropriate different genres and styles, in which, as she herself affirmed, she put all her heart. His contralto voice became for the Brazilian public a seal of quality that was imposed over the years.

Elza Soares Became A Seal Of Quality For The Public.

Elza Soares became a seal of quality for the public.

A successful career

With more than 30 published albums, in 2018 he came to present The woman at the end of the world (2015), at La Usina del Arte, in Buenos Aires. Months later, in October, he premiered, in Rio de Janeiro, his penultimate album, God is a woman, in which he evidenced a true romance with electronic music.

“I’ve always been looking to be able to publish a job where I could talk about all the things that people don’t say,” he said about that album, while saying: “I fell in love with electronic music from my album I live happy, when we put on this show with hits from my career in an electronic costume. It’s a bold and crazy idea; a super modern show”.

Throughout his career he had important hits, songs that became part of the Brazilian popular songbook such as I only dance samba, If you say chegasse, Ostentation, empty hip, assanhada mulatto Y Brazilian watercolor, among other.

Elza Soares, On One Of Her Visits To Argentina, In 2003.

Elza Soares, on one of her visits to Argentina, in 2003.

A childhood with hunger and violence

Elza Soares was born in a Rio de Janeiro favela, on June 23, 1930, in a context of deep poverty; her father, a worker and guitarist (and Elza’s music teacher) and her mother, a domestic worker, she was forced to marry Lourdes Antonio Soares at the age of 12, with whom she had five children, one of whom died of hunger, and experienced domestic violence.

Lourdes He even shot her in the arm, accusing her of being a prostitute for wanting to sing in public. She was widowed at the age of 21, when she began her artistic career, which would last for 65 years.

In Brazil, singing and dancing contests were common, such as the one led by the singer Ary Barroso. Soares, who was the only support for her children, appeared for the money, dressed in her mother’s dress, several sizes larger than hers, which caused the humiliating laughter of those present and the presenter’s mockery.

Elza Soares, In 2018 Brazilian, In The Promo For The Presentation Of Her Album Dios Es Mujer.  Photo Carl De Souza / Afp

Elza Soares, in 2018 Brazilian, in the promo for the presentation of her album Dios es mujer. Photo Carl DE SOUZA / AFP

“A star has been born”

When the famous author of brazil watercolor asked what planet she came from, the artist did not hesitate in her answer. “The same as yours: the hungry planet,” replied the woman, who changed mocking laughter for admiration as soon as she began to sing, and won with the highest marks of the jury. Barroso was prophetic in defining it. “Gentlemen, a star is born”, He said.

hungry planet It is precisely the title he chose for what was his last album, which he released in 2019, when his star and his talent had once again captivated new generations.

At the end of the 1950s, he performed for the first time in Argentina, where he previewed his first album, If you say chegase, which mixes samba with some swing and even scat, in the best jazz tradition. His second album, black bossa He presented it, in Chile, during the 1962 World Cup.

Garrincha And Elza Soares A Love As Intense As The Conflicts They Led.  Photo Ap Photo

Garrincha and Elza Soares A love as intense as the conflicts they led. Photo AP Photo

A love marked by excesses

There he met Garrincha (Manuel Francisco dos Santos), one of the great players that Brazil gave and with whom he had a relationship of fifteen years, in which they lived an infinity conflicts related to violence and abuse of alcohol and other substances.

Although this relationship, in which Soares was accused of leading Garrincha astray, deteriorated the sale of her records, Elza never stopped working or recording records. Between 1963 and 1969, he released ten albums; some of them, like Like a white ball (1966) u Or maximum em samba (1967), of a superlative quality.

Soares and Garrincha were married at the Bolivian embassy in São Paulo in 1968, since divorce did not exist in Brazil. The maximum peak of criticism of their relationship came in 1970, when after their home was machine-gunned, the military dictatorship forced them to leave Brazil.

Elza Soares Singing In Rome, In 1970, After Being Forced To Leave Her Country.  Ap Photo/Gianni Foggia

Elza Soares singing in Rome, in 1970, after being forced to leave her country. AP Photo/Gianni Foggia

Depression and return to the scene

The couple lived in Italy until 1976, the year in which they returned to their country, where they settled the following year. Garrincha died in 1983, due to alcoholism.

In 1986, following the death of her son Garrinchinha in a traffic accident, Elza fell into a deep depression that led her to attempt suicide. It was for that year that he left Brazil and his career until 1994; From then on, little by little, he returned to the stage.

In 1999, in London, the BBC named her “The Brazilian Voice of the Millennium”, as part of a concert that brought together Gal Costa, Caetano Veloso, Chico Buarque and Gilberto Gil; three years later, with his album Do coccyx Até O Pescoco, was nominated for a Grammy for the first time, an award that she would only win in 2016, with her album The woman at the end of the world.

Elza Soares Is An Inescapable Reference Of Brazilian Popular Music.

Elza Soares is an inescapable reference of Brazilian popular music.

With Elza Soares one of the greatest Brazilian singers leaves, one of the great voices of popular music. Passionate, this fighter for the feminist cause managed through his music to carry a message of liberation.



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