Xangô Da MangueiraView in iTunes
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A talented improviser, Xangô da Mangueira's uncanny ability of composing in the heat of the moment earned him the nickname O Rei do Partido Alto ("The King of Partido Alto"). Deserving much more recognition, having made a comparable contribution to world music as Cartola and Nelson Cavaquinho, da Mangueira wrote about 150 compositions, some of which were recorded by Clara Nunes, Martinho Da Vila, and himself, as a single and four LPs released during the '70s and in the early '80s. The first came in 1972, called O Rei do Partido Alto -- titled after his nickname. Not mentioning compilations and tributes, he also recorded the following solo albums: Velho Batuqueiro (1975), Xangô da Mangueira Vol. 3 (1978), and Chão da Mangueira (1982). His historic participation in the samba schools of Rio goes back to the '30s at the Unidos de Rocha Miranda. At that time, the samba schools were popular -- a place for the enjoyment and furtherance of unmotivated creativity -- there was no concern for catchy refrains. There wasn't a "bridge" yet, and after the A-part the singer had to improvise the rest of the song. Successful in the demanding task of improvising together with the other partideiros for hours in at a time, he was invited to join the G.R.E.S. Portela samba school. There he was a close collaborator with Paulo Da Portela, who had long been one of his idols (along with Cartola). With Da Portela's departure for the Lira do Amor, da Mangueira went with him, but in 1939, moved to Cartola's Estação Primeira de Mangueira. There he had to pass the competition in a contest to be approved. He not only won, but was appointed the school's third diretor de harmonia, one of the most important functions in a samba school -- coordinating the entrance of the different sections in the parade, among other duties. Continuing to perform this prestigious task, da Mangueira celebrated 53 years as Mangueira's diretor de harmonia in 2000. He was also the school's puxador of the sambas-enredo (the singer who has the responsibility of presenting the samba-enredo during the annual parade) until 1951, when Jamelão took over. ~ Alvaro Neder