<!-- missing image http://blogs.kcrw.com/music/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/FileMFdSantos-Garrincha-227x300.jpg -->Elza Soares had been dubbed the “Brazilian Tina Turner”. She’s been a fixture on the Brazilian samba scene since the 1960’s, and is still performing in peak form today. That’s probably the reason for the Tina Turner analogy. But like many Brazilian musical artists, she prefers staying in Brazil, none of her albums has ever been licensed for distribution here, and if she tours at all it’s on the well-organized and close-proximity European summer tour circuit. She even won the “Best Singer of the Millenium” in 2000 by the BBC in London. But she’s unknown here except for aficionados.
Elza was born in Brazil in 1937. She was married to Manuel Francisco dos Santos (1933-83), better known as Garrincha (“the wren”), who is considered the next greatest soccer player next to Pele. Garrincha was born with a deformed spine, a right leg that bent inward, and his left leg shorter than his right. He actually used these deformities to his advantage as a dribbler and forward. There was a documentary made about him, and Far Out Records in the UK issued a cd dedicated to him.
But back to Elza. She’s a top samba singer, can scat like Louis Armstrong, sing with electronica, and has even performed avant-garde concerts. She’s performed with all the better-known Brazilian talents: Caetano Veloso, Seu Jorge, Chico Buarque, Gilberto Gil, Carlinhos Brown; in other words, everybody.
She is like a good cachaça: not well known up north, but enjoyed by millions of Brazilians. She’s surely earned it. And as I write this blogpost, June 23rd, she’s celebrating here 74th birthday. Tina Turner is now 71. Tina, you have met your Brazilian match.
Here’s a video of her recent hit, a love song to Rio de Janeiro. As we get closer to the Olympic Games to be held there next year, maybe more people will find out about her. Meanwhile, Happy Birthday Elza! Feliz aniersario! Parabens!!!!!