A Voz do Morro was introduced in 1955 in a performance at the União de Vaz Lobo, a samba school in Rio de Janeiro where Zé Keti also wrote the song. The same year, Jorge Goulart introduced the song on his single A Voz do Morro b/w Valsa de Formatura, superbly arranged and conducted by Radámes Gnattali.
The single accompanied the movie Rio, 40 Graus, featuring A Voz do Morro as the guiding theme of the musical score written by Radámes Gnattali. Rio, 40 Graus was a semi-documentary on the people of Rio de Janeiro and the debut of director Nelson Pereira dos Santos, later censored by the military regime as an alleged deception.
Jorge Goulart’s recording of A Voz do Morro became one of the biggest hits of 1955 and 1956, reaching no. 94 and no. 3 in Brazil’s Top 100. This samba became so popular that more than a dozen renditions were recorded in those two years alone, including single releases by Os Vocalistas Tropicais, Luciano Perrone, Hélio Chaves, Francisco Egydio, Cláudia Moreno, Trio Itapoã and Zilá Fonseca.
A true samba classic, A Voz do Morro has been recorded by about a hundred artists of various genres to this day. It became Zé Ketis most successful composition and a signature tune for Jorge Goulart, who recorded the song once more in 1960 on his album Eu Sou o Samba, this time arranged and conducted by Nelsinho.
Interestingly, Zé Keti formed his group named ‘A Voz do Morro’ in 1960 but he didn’t record the song himself until 1966 when it was included on the group’s debut album Os Sambistas.
Selected recordings of A Voz do Morro:
1. Jorge Goulart from the single A Voz do Morro b/w Valsa de Formatura (1955, Continental 17.197-a)
2. Radámes Gnattali from the opening credits of Rio, 40 Graus (1955)
3. Andyara Peixoto from the album Quando Os Peixotos Encontram (1957, RGE XRLP 5008)
4. Luis Arruda Paes from the album Brasil – Dia e Noite (1957, Odeon MOCB 3000)
5. Fafá Lemos & Luiz Bonfá from the album Bonfafá (1958, Odeon MOFB 3047)
6. Roberto Inglez from the album Dançando Sentimentalmente (1958, Odeon MOFB 3021)
7. Pernambuco do Pandeiro from the album Batucando no Morro (1959, Tiger LP TR-002)
8. Henrique Simonetti from the album Brasil a Jato aka Viagem Musical Pelo Brasil (1959, RGE XRLP 5059 and SBA SBA-008)
9. André Penazzi from the album André Penazzi e Suas Músicas Para Danças (1959, Continental LPP 3060)
10. Zaccarias from the album Música, Maestro (1959, RCA Victor BBL 1040)
11. Jorge Goulart from the album Eu Sou o Samba (1960, RCA Victor BBL 1090)
12. Orquestra Rio de Janeiro from the album Velhas Idéias Novas (1960, Plaza PZ 301)
13. Guerra Peixe from the album Sucessos de Sempre (1960, Chantecler CMG 2085)
14. Demônios da Garoa from the album Demônios em Sambas Infernais (1961; Odeon MOFB 3229)
15. Alexandre Gnattali from the album Samba, Samba, Samba (1961, Columbia LPCB 37189)
16. Portinho from the album Fogo Nos Metais (1963, Philips P 632.138 L)
17. Edmundo Peruzzi from the album Rio-Show (1965, Independente STU-01)
18. Zé Keti & Conjunto A Voz do Morro from the album Os Sambistas (1966, RGE XRLP 5290)
19. The Pops from the album Agora é Samba (1968, Equipe EQ 825)
20. Pedrinho Rodrigues & Os Nacionais from the album Estão Voltando os Bons Tempos (1973, Equipe EQC 5077)
Opening credit sequence from Rio, 40 Graus
A VOZ DO MORRO
Eu sou o samba • A voz do morro sou eu mesmo sim senhor • Quero mostrar ao mundo que tenho valor • Eu sou o rei do terreiro
Eu sou o samba • Sou natural daqui do Rio de Janeiro • Sou eu quem levo a alegria • Para milhões de corações brasileiros • Salve o samba, queremos samba • Quem está pedindo é a voz do povo de um país • Salve o samba, queremos samba • Essa melodia de um Brasil feliz
Eu sou o samba • Sou natural daqui do Rio de Janeiro • Sou eu quem levo a alegria • Para milhões de corações brasileiros