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Almir Sater began unpretentiously in the '80s in a genre despised by mass media, the caipira (hillbilly) music, out of sheer passion. Becoming an accomplished violeiro (player of the viola caipira, the ten-string Brazilian instrument executed upcountry) soloist, enjoyed crescent success in the whole country. His doleful compositions and interpretations for songs by his fellow citizens (Paulo Simões, Geraldo Espíndola, Geraldo Roca, among others) became cherished by the urban people anxious for an idealized and romanticized appeal to nature. In fact, Sater was the right man in the right place. A talented musician/singer, he also knew how to take advantage of his good looks (explored in highly popular coast-to-coast soap operas) in a moment where Brazil was long since aware of the cultural and imagistic richness of Bahia and other places from Northeast and Rio and was ready to consume the wild beauty of the region of the Pantanal. Sater draws his style from a movement that began in the '60s by composers Paulo Simões and Geraldo Espíndola, among others, which blended the caipira tradition of Mato Grosso as represented in the national radio since the '30s by Délio & Delinha with American folk elements as proposed by Bob Dylan and other artists. He learned to play a little violão (acoustic guitar) when he was young, but at 20, moved to Rio to study law. He wasn't too proficient at the guitar, as his close friend filmmaker Cândido Fonseca, also from Campo Grande, testified: "He used to bother us with always the same couple of songs, so we used to untune his violão, as he wouldn't be able to tune it again and would stop playing." But he was then taken by the sounds of the viola and took classes with the highly popular artist Tião Carreiro from the duo Tião Carreiro & Pardinho. Abandoning law school, he returned to Campo Grande and formed the duo Lupe e Lampião with Maurício Barros. In 1979 he moved to São Paulo SP, where Tetê Espíndola, also a fellow citizen, was making her debut in the national scene through her group Tetê e o Lírio Selvagem (with her sister Alzira Espíndola and brothers Geraldo Espíndola and Celito Espíndola). Working with the group, Sater met other artists linked to the caipira (redneck) tradition celebrated in Minas Gerais, São Paulo, and Mato Grosso do Sul, like Diana Pequeno, whom he also accompanied. His early solo works were presented in the Vozes e Violão project. His first album came in 1981, Almir Sater (Continental), with special guest Tião Carreiro. The second album (Doma, 1982) presented the compositions of his longtime friend and talented lyricist Paulo Simões, responsible for a great number of Sater's hits. With Simões, he formed the Comitiva Esperança in 1984, which, for three months, traveled through the isolated region of the Pantanal with a TV team collecting testimonies and images of nature, music, and culture, resulting in a medium-subject film (released in 1985) and Sater's album Almir Sater Instrumental (Som da Gente, 1985). 1986's Cria marked the collaboration with upstate São Paulo's Renato Teixeira, also a renowned proponent of the caipira genres. In 1989, he opened the Free Jazz Festival (Rio) and went to Nashvile (U.S.) where he recorded Rasta Bonito, which introduced country music into his style. As the main character of the soap opera Pantanal (TV Manchete), which achieved the noted deed of surpassing in popularity TV Globo's competition, Sater gained enormous popularity and became a mainstream artist in Brazil. His compositions with Paulo Simões (among them, "Comitiva Esperança") and other important songs interpreted by him (like "Trem Do Pantanal" by Geraldo Roca/Paulo Simões) became hits in several different artists' interpretations. He also worked in the soap opera Ana Raio e Zé Trovão as a main character and in TV Globo's O Rei Do Gado. ~ Alvaro Neder