Our musical saga begins with the composers that built samba as a genre
We are going to do a series of posts listing some of the most influential composers or singers that helped to create one of the most Brazilian genres. Samba has an African root but was mixed along the years with many different rhytms reiventing itself. In this first part of our saga, let’s meet some of the important characters of the first years.
1. Sinhô (1888 – 1930)
José Barbosa da Silva had incentive from his family to study music. He became a professional pianist by 1911 and used to attend the parties and gatherings at Tia Ciata’s house, considered the nest of modern samba. That’s why he found strange when Donga registered Pelo Telefone as his own, since he believed it was a collective work as many songs played at Ciata’s. It became a sort of roasting musical contest. Sinhô was the first to record a song as a “marcha” a kind of samba that became very popular during carnival.
His greatest hits were: Jura.
Gosto Que Me Enrosco – original recording with Sinhô & Donga playing guitar
2. Noel Rosa (1910- 1937)
Very talented singer and composer, Noel Rosa traced a sytle that would have many followers. Some of his songs were like a chronicle of Rio de Janeiro in the beginning of the 20th Century. He also recorded songs from the poor composers from the favelas, helping them to be accepted. He learned to play as a teenager and took part in many music bands. He died very young of tuberculosis but left a large work revered until nowadays.
Conversa de Botequim (Bar Talk)- original recording:
Feitio de Oração (Prayer), singer: Marisa Monte:
3. Ary Barroso (1903 – 1964)
He was orphan at 7 years old and was raised by his grandparents. At 18 he went to Rio to Law School but never actually practised. To earn a living he used to play the piano at night clubs and movie theaters. In 1930 he received a prize for a “marchinha”. He composed many songs that made of him the most important author in the Radio Era. In 1939,it was released the hit that would become a sort of an informal Brazilian national anthom performed abroad by Carmen Miranda:
Aquarela do Brasil, original recording
Na Baixa do Sapateiro (Bahia), by Gal Costa
4. Ismael Silva (1905-1978)
Son of low working class parents, he started composing samba by the age of 15. Five years later he became friends with Francisco Alves, a popular singer, and Noel Rosa. By the end of the 1920s, Ismael created a carnival group alongside with friends that would be considered the birth of the samba schools. Until then, sambas were close to chorinho and maxixe, two other rhythms. Ismael and his group created instruments and a way of playing samba that became the standard for many many years.
Se Você Jurar
Ao Romper da Aurora
5. Pixinguinha (1897-1973)
Maestro, composer and instrumentalist he is considered a genius of Brazilian music. He started his career still a young boy playing in movie theaters and later in carnival organizations, night clubs and revue theaters. He consolidated the very Brazilian genre known as chorinho. And his main hit was criticised because of its jazzistic influence. He composed songs with Donga, João de Barro, and many others.
Carinhoso, singer: Orlando Silva