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Cauby Peixoto

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Biography

Cauby Peixoto is considered by many as Brazil's best singer. With his velvety and low timbre, influenced by Orlando Silva and Nat "King" Cole, Peixoto coined an individual style interpreting a kaleidoscope of genres ranging from tongue-in-cheek cheesy boleros to mambo (especially in the early '70s), romantic sambas-canções (his strongest point) such as his biggest hit "Conceição," and even a little bossa nova and jazz. Having remained a popular artist for over 50 years, he knew how to renovate his style and keep his aura, also improving his interpretations over the years. Peixoto was paid tribute by many important artists who wrote songs especially for him, such as Tom Jobim ("Oficina"), Caetano Veloso ("Cauby! Cauby!"), Jorge Benjor ("Dona Culpa"), and Roberto Carlos/Erasmo Carlos ("Brigas de amor"). Since 1951, he has recorded over 61 78 rpm, 51 LPs, and 20 CDs, having participated as a singer in over ten films. Cauby Peixoto was raised in a musical environment. His father was a guitar player, his uncle was Nonô (Romualdo Peixoto). Peixoto also had as a cousin, singer Ciro Monteiro. His siblings are pianist Moacyr Peixoto, trumpeter Arakén Peixoto, and singer Andyara. His first public appearance as a singer was at a novice radio show in 1949, in Rio de Janeiro. In that period, he started to sing in nightclubs. The first album came in 1951, with the samba "Saia Branca" (Geraldo Medeiros). The next year, he moved to São Paulo, performing in nightclubs and at Rádio Excelsior. In 1954, he had his first hit, "Blue Gardenia" (Bob Russel/Lester Lee, version by Antônio Almeida/João de Barro). In the same year, Peixoto was invited to join Rádio Nacional by entrepreneur Di Veras, who devised for him a launching strategy mirrored in the American methods. Some two years later, Peixoto became the idol of the masses, when he had his biggest hit with the samba-canção "Conceição" (Jair Amorim/Dunga). He would also have success in that period with "Nono Mandamento" (René Bittencourt/Raul Sampaio), "Prece de Amor" (René Bittencourt), "Ninguém É De Ninguém" (Humberto Silva/Toso Gomes/Luís Mergulhão), and "É Tão Sublime o Amor" (P. Francis Webster/Sammy Fain, version by Antônio Carlos). Portrayed by Time and Life magazines, Peixoto was launched in the U.S. under the stage name Ron Coby, where he recorded with Paul Weston and Percy Faith's orchestras. In 1959, Peixoto had another season in the U.S. (14 months), where he recorded "Maracangalha" (Dorival Caymmi) in the English version ("I Go"). From 1964 to 1968, he dedicated himself to perform with his siblings at his celebrated Drink nightclub, having recorded a live LP there with Leny Eversong. In 1970, he won the San Remo Festival (Italy) with "Zíngara" (R. Alberteli, version by Nazareno de Brito). From the late '60s to the late '70s, he was considered dated, compared to the vigorous movements of that period devoted to the younger generations in Brazil. Sensible to the audience's reaction, Peixoto adopted a more theatrical/extravagant style in his outfits and scenic persona, and a more restrained and "classical" identity in his vocal renditions that again brought him the public's interest. It was around 1979 when he participated with "Bolero de Satã" on Elis Regina's album. Cauby! Cauby! (1980), the commemorative LP of his 25-year of career, represented a complete renovation of his standard repertory, with songs by Caetano Veloso, Roberto Carlos/Erasmo Carlos, and the hits "Loucura" (Joanna/Sarah Benchimol) and "Bastidores" (Chico Buarque). From then on, he enjoyed stable success. Rediscovered by critics, Peixoto and Ângela Maria were paid tribute at the 1993 Prêmio Sharp award ceremony. In 1995, Dionne Warwick, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa, and Zizi Possi participated on his CD Cauby Canta Sinatra.

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