Browse our video list of November birthdays for Brazil’s music makers.
November’s Brazilian Music Birthdays include Samba’s first song, Chicago’s voice of Brasil 66, Bossa Nova’s big break, and Bebel’s mother.
Samba’s First Song – November 6, 1916 | Pelo Telefone
Samba was born in Rio de Janeiro on this day in 1916. Specifically, in the hill district of Estácio, near the small park called Praça Onze (Park Eleven) and the nearby home of an African-Brazilian matriarch, Tia Ciata. Born in Bahia, she began to organize weekend get-togethers for ex-slaves and immigrants from the northeast, and word soon spread that these casual parties were the place to be. And be heard.
Musicians came to play: Donga and Pixinguinha drew on their African and Bahian roots to shape the early sound of Samba, and in time would come to be regarded as the pioneers of Brazil’s unique-to-the-world style. With each passing weekend, the musical cultures of Africa, Bahia, and Rio continued to mingle at Tia Ciata’s home.
The debate over which song was Samba’s first song has intensified. After decades, traditional knowledge is being challenged. Two early ‘Sambas’ have been identified. Baiano’s ‘A Viola Está Magoada’ from 1914 and ‘Em Casa De Baiana’ by Alfredo Carlos Brício in 1913.
However, Donga’s ‘Pelo Telefone’ (On The Telephone)is the only one of the three registered with Brazil’s National Library. It was recorded in 1916, and this date reflects the official record.
You can listen to part of that original recording here.
Lani Hall – November 6 | The Fool On The Hill
For millions of Brazilian music fans, Lani Hall’s breathy, softly-edged voice was the defining introduction to Bossa Nova, courtesy of Sergio Mendes & Brazil 66. It’s her birthday today.
Lani was 19 years old, singing in an Old Town club on Wells Street in her native Chicago when Sergio Mendes heard her and asked her to join his newly formed Brazil ’66 ensemble.
“I’d been singing mostly folk-rock and jazz,” she recalls. “When Stan Getz popularized the Brazilian sound I became a huge fan. I remember the first time I heard Sergio I said to myself, ‘Oh that’s the sound I love!” When I joined the band, however, I had no clue that the music would vibrate in me so deeply.”
The L.A. Time’s Don Heckman noted that LaniHall recorded seven albums as one of the lead singers in Brasil ’66 before releasing seven solo albums in the ’70s and early ’80s. One of those led to a Grammy Award for Best Latin Pop Performance in 1986.
Lani Hall’s Brasil Nativo album was released in 1998.
Ary Barroso – November 7 | Aquarela Do Brasil
Ary Barroso is generally considered to be Brazil’s first great pop songwriter. He was the first samba composer to attain international fame. Most importantly, he helped to define his country’s music and cultural place in the world.
Barroso studied law, and worked as a radio announcer, a writer, a TV show host, a politician, and as a soccer commentator. Right along with the Beatles ‘Yesterday’ and ‘The Girl From Ipanema’ Ary Barroso’s most famous song “Aquarela Do Brasil” (or “Brazil”) is listed as one of the 20 most recorded songs of all time. It was voted as the Brazilian song of the Century in 1997 and is regarded by many as Brazil’s unofficial national anthem.
Incredibly, Barroso’s ‘Aquarela Do Brasil’ has been performed more than two million times on radio and television. And that‘s not including YouTube and Spotify plays.
An essential addition to our list of November’s Brazilian Music Birthdays.
Dick Farney – November 14 | Copacabana
If you were a music-loving teen in Rio de Janeiro’s Zona Sul back in the early 50s, chances are pretty good that you coveted membership (plus the little green wallet that came with it) in the Sinatra-Farney Fan Club.
Membership was the musical doorway to the rest of the world – and the birth of Bossa Nova. Let’s tell you about singer Farnese Dutra e Silva, as we remember him on his birthday.
Born in Rio, he changed his name and at 25, boarded a ship bound for New York. Dick Farney set his sights on a career as an American singer, and he succeeded. He was featured frequently on NBC’s radio network and was a regular singer on The Milton Burle Show.
His return to Brazil helped to launch his career as a jazz pianist and crooner. It also led to prolific recordings with more than 80 albums to his credit. Farney was the first to record ‘Tenderly’ and his many hits include ‘Copacabana’ and ‘Voce’, his duet with Norma Bengell.
Celso Fonseca – November 15 | Samba é Tudo
It’s a curious question we mean to ask of Celso Fonseca. Would he consider himself to be first a songwriter or a singer of MPB? It’s a fair question and the answer would be revealing because Celso Fonseca does both things very well. Today is his birthday.
At 26, the Rio de Janeiro native found songwriting success with ‘Sorte’ when it was recorded by Gal Costa and Caetano Veloso. A rush of hits followed. ‘Slow Motion Bossa’, ‘Feito Pra Voce’, ‘Meu Carnaval’ and ‘Samba e Tudo’ all appeared on his Juventude album. The album was nominated for two Latin Grammys.
Celso Fonseca excels as a producer, too. He has guided recordings for Vinicius Cantuaria, Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa, Daniela Mercury, and others.
And then there is his voice. That is where everything comes together. Each song is delivered with the velvety smoothness that has come to define Brazilian song (prior to Anitta’s generational downshift). Fonseca wraps each phrase with tropical warmth. So, it leads us back to that unasked question: Maybe you’ll have to answer it yourself!
Jane Duboc – November 16 | De Corpo Inteiro
Brazilian singer and songwriter Jane (pronounced like ‘Johnny’ but with a soft ‘J’) Duboc celebrates her birthday today. She was born in the far northeast city of Belém do Pará – just south of the equator. A child prodigy, she received a music scholarship for the University of Georgia at Columbus.
Ranked as one of Brazil’s 100 Greatest Voices by Rolling Stone, Duboc’s sonorous voice is heard on 20 albums. Highlights include Paraiso with saxophonist Gerry Mulligan (“the most brilliant moment of my career”), Parituras, and Sweet Lady Jane. Each is critically acclaimed.
Jane is also an accomplished athlete, having won medals in swimming, volleyball, and tennis. So much so, that her hometown of Belem created the Jane Duboc Award to encourage teens in athletic competition.
A poet and author of two children’s books, an asterisk on her CV might also include “actress”. Jane was the unaccredited singer in the jazz lounge scene in the 1984 movie Blame It On Rio with Michael Caine and Demi Moore. Happy birthday Jane! Welcome to our list of November’s Brazilian Music Birthdays!
Carnegie Hall Bossa Nova Concert – November 21, 1962 | Full Concert
Bossa Nova made it to the world’s stage on this day in 1962, at Carnegie Hall in New York. It was a partnership between a music label, a Brazilian airline, and the Consulate General of Brazil in New York. Billboards promoted it as ‘Bossa Nova – New Brazilian Jazz’.
Stan Getz and Gary McFarland were set to play, along with several local musicians. But while just about every Bossa Nova musician in Rio de Janeiro had been hired, no one knew which Brazilians would perform until the morning of the concert.
These included Sergio Mendes, Luis Bonfá, Oscar Castro-Neves, Joao Gilberto, Roberto Menescal and Carlos Lyra. Antonio Carlos Jobim arrived on a separate flight from Rio, about an hour before showtime. With the exception of Bonfá, none of these future stars had traveled outside of Brazil.
Microphone and amplification problems handed the performances from beginning to end. But the crowd of three thousand (including Tony Bennett, Miles Davis, and other musical luminaries) enjoyed the experience.
The concert was even recorded and released as an album, presented here in it entirety.
Carlinhos Brown – November 23 | Magalenha
Today is Carlinhos Brown’s birthday. We’re not sure how to say “hardest working man in show business” in Portuguese, but he has earned it.
Brown, who adopted his last name in tribute to the Godfather of Soul, has an unmatched reputation in Brazil. He is a songwriter, drummer percussionist, and producer. He’s written dozens of #1 hits for singers like Gal Costa, Maria Monte, Gilberto Gil, and Daniela Mercury. He’s performed with Djavan, João Gilberto, and João Bosco.
Brown has served as Caetano Veloso’s musical director. In 1993, he helped to guide Sergio Mendes to a Grammy with Brasileiro. He’s a founding member and guiding force for the Brazilian supergroup Tribalistas, with Monte and Arnaldo Antunes. Today, Brown serves as a judge for The Voce Brasil, now in his 10th season with the show.
Carlinhos Brown is also a two-time Latin Grammy winner. To say that has his finger on the pulse of Brazilian pop is an understatement. Happy birthday, Carlinhos!
Tiago Iorc- November 28 | Nothing But A Song
Our list of November’s Brazilian Music Birthdays has to include this Millennial music maker. Born in Brasilia, and raised in London and the United States, Tiago Iorczeski has grown into a prominent role with the new MPB. Not only as a singer and songwriter but also as an influencer for emerging talent.
Iorc was the force behind the professional launch of the duo Anavitória in 2016. Iorc helped them produce their debut recordings and to establish themselves as one of Brazil’s rising voices in MPB. The following year saw Iorc find success with ‘Nothing But A Song’ and his own debut album, Let Yourself In.
Tiago Iorc sings in Portuguese and English, which he believes is important. “From the moment I decided that music would be my trade, I didn’t see writing in English as a problem. English was my first language,” he said. In the United States, I learned to write better.”
Creative and quixotic, Iorc disappeared from sight for nearly a year. The singer cited social media burnout and fatigue. Iorc has since returned to pick up where he left off.
Miucha – November 30 | O Que Sera
We want to remember and celebrate Miucha today so that her legacy lives on.
Heloísa Maria Buarque de Hollanda was sister to Chico Buarque and siblings, wife to João Gilberto and mother to Bebel Gilberto. Born into a family of Brazilian music royalty and married into another, Miucha’s talent as a singer was often hidden in the shadows of both.
But her musical career still made an impression on Brazilian jazz fans here in America and worldwide.
Miucha released or appeared on more than a dozen albums. Among these, The Best of Two Worlds (with Stan Getz and husband Joao Gilberto) is a highlight. Miucha is featured on several of the album’s most popular songs, marking her professional recording debut. Our best bets? We suggest ‘Double Rainbow’ and ‘Izaura’.
She went on to record a pair of albums with Antonio Carlos Jobim, which led to another pinnacle moment. Miucha was invited to join Jobim, Toquinho, and Vinicius de Moraes for a special show. An instant hit, it stayed at Rio’s Canecão concert venue for more than a year. This led to the album Tom, Vinícius, Toquinho e Miúcha recorded live in Canecão. A tour through South America and Europe followed.
Bebel was born to Miucha and João in New York in 1966 and she made her recording debut at age 11, at Miucha’s side for her mother’s first solo album. In an interview with Kevin O’Donnell, Bebel said “[My dad] taught me to be a perfectionist. But my mother taught me how to lose it. And you can hear it in my music today, I think.”
November’s Brazilian Music Birthdays
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