No. 35 — Pages 16-17: Elizeth Cardoso | Zé Maria & Jorge Ben

  • Dorival Caymmi — Caymmi e o Mar
    (1957) Odeon MOFB 3011
  • Henrique Simonetti — Panorama Músical
    (1956) RGE RLP 001
  • Orlando Silva — Carinhoso
    (1959) RCA Victor BBL 1009
  • Elizeth Cardoso — Noturno
    (1957) Copacabana CLP 11013
  • Albertinho Fortuna — Prelúdio
    (1963) Continental PPL 12073
  • Lúcio Alves — Lúcio Alves… Interpreta Dolores Duran
    (1975) EMI-Odeon/Coronado SC 10072
  • Zé Maria — Tudo Azul
    (1969) Disco Lar LPDS-32.008

This double-page spread from the book features a brilliant singer and the story behind one of the best known songs from Brazil.

Elizeth (or Elizete) Cardoso Valdez (1920-1990), one of Brazil’s most cherished singers, was a most versatile vocalist performing a wide range of genres in more than 50 years of artistic work. She was born into a very musical family with six siblings, and began working at the age of ten in a number of small jobs before she was discovered by Jacob de Bandolim, who was invited to her 16th birthday party by one of her brothers. Jacob de Bandolim introduced Elizeth Cardoso to Rádio Guanabara, where she appeared in a programm with such popular stars as Aracy de Almeida and Noel Rosa, and was immediately hired to appear weekly. In 1939, after three years of radio work, Elizeth Cardoso started to perform in clubs, movie theaters, ballrooms and as crooner for various orchestras. Despite her increasing popularity, the fourties proved to be a difficult decade with ongoing financial troubles and her first marriage that failed, leaving her as a single mother.

Giving support by Ataulfo Alves, she got her first chance to record in 1950, but her debut single Braços Vazios b/w Mensageiro da Saudade was withdrawn by the record label due to alleged technical problems. She got a better chance soon afterwards, recording the single Complexo b/w Canção de Amor for the newly founded label Todamérica. At first, the arrangement by Pachequinho for the samba-canção Canção de Amor, written by Chocolate and Elano de Paula, proved to be too complicated for the violinists. It was up to the saxophonist Zé Bodega to fill in for parts of the musical accompaniment to have the song recorded. Canção de Amor became an instant success, paving Cardoso’s way to work in the best radio stations and even getting her first TV show. In 1951, she followed the success of her debut with Barracão by Luís Antônio and Oldemar Magalhães, ending as one of the biggest hits of that year. In 1952, after her debut as an actress in O Rei do Samba, she was invited to appear at the prestigious Copacabana Palace, being the first coloured artist and only the third Brazilian to perform there. She refused and preferred to appear at the Casablanca club, a place frequented by music critics, and proved sucessful with a performance hailed by the journalists. In 1954, Cardoso’s participation in the first recording of Sinfonia do Rio de Janeiro by Antônio Carlos Jobim and Billy Blanco became her album debut, followed by her first album as a solo artist, Canções à Meia Luz, the next year. Almost 50 original albums were to come until 1990.

The album Noturno from 1957 ranks as one of her most memorable performances on record with highly elaborated renditions of songs such as Chão de Estrelas by Silvio Caldas and Orestes Barbosa and Na Baixa do Sapateiro by Ary Barroso. The same year, Elizeth Cardoso was asked by Vinícius de Moraes to record an album with songs he had composed with Antônio Carlos Jobim. The resulting release of Canção do Amor Demais in early 1958 is considered as the launch of bossa nova. Although most of the arrangements feature samba and samba-canção, this is due to the fact that the tracks Chega de Saudade and Outra Vez introduced the then revolutionary syncopation of João Gilberto’s guitar on record. In 1959, Cardoso recorded Manhã de carnaval and Samba de Orfeu for the motion picture soundtrack of Marcel Camus’ Orfeu Negro. From 1960 to 1964, her five volume album set A Meiga Elizete, with accompaniment by Moacyr Silva and Walter Wanderley, established her also as a top album seller, including hits like Deixa Andar and Na Cadência do Samba. In 1960 and 1961, her two album collaborations titled Sax & Voz with saxophonist Moacyr Silva became another success, producing the hit O Amor e a Rosa. The critically acclaimed 1963 album Elizete Interpreta Vinícius, arranged and conducted by Moacir Santos, introduced a number of new songs with lyrics by the poet such as Canção do Amor Ausente and Consolação.

In 1964, Elizeth Cardoso was the first popular vocalist to perform Héctor Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Número 5, an aria for solo soprano and cello orchestra or alternatively guitar accompaniment. When she finished this piece of classical music at the Municipal Theater of São Paulo, the audience applauded with standing ovations. Cardoso was in tears, choked with emotion, perhaps feeling rewarded for having succeeded in overcoming the hardships of her career such as prejudices against her dark skin. The following year saw the release of Elizete Sobe o Morro, an album which is considered a landmark recording of Brazilian popular music, just as the two volume album set Ao Vivo no Teatro João Caetano from 1968, which rank as one of the top live recordings. This historic show was performed to raise funds for the Museum of Sound and Image in Rio de Janeiro, featuring Elizeth Cardoso with Jacob do Bandolim and his group Época de Ouro as well as Zimbo Trio, with whom she would perform recurrently until the end of her career.

Nicknamed ‘A Magnifica’ and ‘A Divina’, Elizeth Cardoso is quite rightly one of the biggest stars of Brazilian popular music. With her skilfull singing, supported by a distinctive timbre with an appealing vibrato, she was a vocalist of great emotionalism and artistic expressiveness.

Playlist Elizeth Cardoso:

1. Olhos Verdes (Vincente Paiva) from the album Noturno (1957)
2. Pela Rua (Ribamar – Dolores Duran) from the album A Meiga Elizete (1960)
3. Dá-me Tuas Mãos (Erasmo Silva – Jorge de Castro) from the album Grandes Momentos com Elizeth Cardoso (1962)
4. Outra Vez (Antônio Carlos Jobim) from the album Canção do Amor Demais (1958)
5. Valsa sem Nome (Baden Powell – Vinícius de Moraes) from the album Elizete Interpreta Vinícius (1963)
6. Meu Mundo é Seu (Roberto Nascimento – Macalé) from the album A Meiga Elizete No. 5 (1964)
7. Retrato do Morro (Nonato Buzar – Hamílcar Pereira) from the album Quatrocentos Anos de Samba (1965)
8. A Flor e o Espinho (Nelson Cavaquinho – Alcides Caminha – Guilherme de Brito) from the album Elizete Sobe o Morro (1965)
9. Apelo (Baden Powell – Vinícius de Moraes) from the album Muito Elizeth (1966) with Som Três
10. Serenata do Adeus (Vinícius de Moraes) from the album Ao Vivo no Teatro João Caetano – Vol. 2 (1968)

Apelo performed by Elizeth Cardoso and Zimbo Trio on TV (1970)

The art work for Noturno is uncredited.

The art work for Caymmi e o Mar is uncredited with photograph by Otto Stupakoff.



The art work for Panorama Músical is by Dirceu Córte-Real.


Lúcio Alves… Interpreta Dolores Duran is the 1975 reissue of A Noite de Meu Bem from 1960 with its art work by César G. Villela and photograph by Francisco Pereira.


Lúcio Alves — A Noite de Meu Bem (a)    Lúcio Alves — A Noite de Meu Bem (b)

Organist Zé Maria deserves special credit for introducing Mas Que Nada on record, featuring the composer as vocalist before he had his own recording. In early 1963, while performing with Os Copa 5 (João Theodoro Meirelles on tenor sax, Pedro Paulo on trumpet, Toninho on piano, Manuel Gusmão on bass and Dom Um Romão on drums) at the nighclub Bottle’s, Zé Maria introduced two songs by the still unknown Jorge Ben, Mas Que Nada and Por Causa de Você, Menina. Shortly after, both songs were recorded for the first time on Zé Maria’s album Tudo Azul – Bossa Nova e Balanço with Jorge Ben as vocalist.

Zé Maria — Tudo Azul    Zé Maria — Tudo Azul (b)

The day after that recording, the label Continental recorded the songs with a jazzy accompaniment by J.T. Meirelles & Os Copa 5 as Jorge Ben’s debut release, issuing Por Causa de Você, Menina as A-side and Mas Que Nada as B-side. After radio stations immediately got enthusiastic about Mas Que Nada, Jorge Ben switched labels to Philips, who issued the single in reverse order. After this, Mas Que Nada became not only the biggest hit of 1963 but one of the most covered songs from Brazil, internationally best known in the 1966 version by Sérgio Mendes and his Brasil ’66.

Playlist Zé Maria featuring Jorge Ben:
1. Mas Que Nada (Jorge Ben) from the album Tudo Azul – Bossa Nova e Balanço (1963)
2. Por Causa de Você, Menina (Jorge Ben) from the album Tudo Azul – Bossa Nova e Balanço (1963)

Tudo Azul was originally issued in 1963 by Continental, titled Tudo Azul – Bossa Nova e Balanço, and reissued in 1969 by Disco Lar with the title abbreviated to Tudo Azul. The front cover of this reissue shows the photograph from Albertinho Fortuna’s album Prelúdio from 1963 in a reworked version.

Zé Maria — Tudo Azul (reissue a)

Zé Maria — Tudo Azul (reissue b)

Albertinho Fortuna — Prelúdio (a)

Albertinho Fortuna — Prelúdio (b)


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