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Clara Nunes

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Together with Beth Carvalho and Alcione, Clara Nunes, in life, was regarded as one of the three Queens of Samba. She had (and still has) enormous success with sambas by composers of the hills like "Juízo Final" (Nelson Cavaquinho/Élcio Soares) and "Coração Leviano" (Paulinho da Viola) and songs devoted to her religion, the Candomblé. Among her hits, recorded in her solo 16 albums, there are "Você Passa E Eu Acho Graça" (Ataulfo Alves/Carlos Imperial), "Ê Baiana," "A Deusa Dos Orixás," "Macunaíma," "O Mar Serenou," (Candeia), "As Forças Da Natureza" (João Nogueira/Paulo César Pinheiro), "Guerreira," "Feira de Mangaio" (Sivuca/Glorinha Gadelha), "Portela Na Avenida" (Mauro Duarte/Paulo César Pinheiro), and "Nação" (João Bosco/Aldir Blanc). An orphan since childhood, Clara Nunes became a manual laborer at a factory suffering with difficulties and poverty. In 1960, she won the Minas Gerais section of the national contest A Voz de Ouro ABC and was classified in the third place in the national final. Hired by a radio, she had her own show at TV Itacolomi (Minas Gerais). Also singing in nightclubs, she was appointed for three times as best singer of the year. She moved to Rio in 1965 and was hired by TV Continental. The first record came in next year, A Voz Adorável de Clara Nunes. Singing boleros and sambas-canção, the option for the samba came only in 1968 with her first hit, "Você Passa E Eu Acho Graça" (Ataulfo Alves/Carlos Imperial). In 1970, she had success with "É Baiana" (Fabrício da Silva/Baianinho/Ênio Santos Ribeiro/Miguel Pancrácio) and the Portela samba-enredo "Ilu Ayê" (Norival Reis/Silvestre Davi da Silva). In 1972, she staged her first show, Sabiá Sabiô. The samba "Tristeza Pé No Chão" (Armando Fernandes), recorded in the same year, sold more than 100,000 copies. In 1973, sided by Vinícius de Moraes and Toquinho, she opened in Salvador, the show O Poeta, A Moça e O Violão. In the same year, she performed in Lisbon, Portugal, and, in the next year, in the MIDEM (Cannes, France). In 1974, her LP Alvorecer had the hits "Conto de Areia" (Romildo/Toninho), "Menino de Deus" (Mauro Duarte/Paulo César Pinheiro), and "Meu Sapato Já Furou" (Elton Medeiros/Mauro Duarte), selling 300,000 copies and opening opportunities for other female singers like Alcione and Beth Carvalho. In 1975, she toured several European countries. This was the year in which she released her most successful album, Claridade, followed by the also successful Canto Das Três Raças. In 1980, she had another big hit with "Morena de Angola," written by Chico Buarque especially for her. She died during a controverted varicose veins surgery, provoking generalized consternation. ~ Alvaro Neder

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1943 in Minas Gerais, Brazil

Years Active:

'60s, '70s, '80s