Note from BW of Brazil: It goes without saying that these two stories were the biggest items of the week in terms of black culture. First, on Monday, I came across the news that Raquel Trindade, the daughter of one of Brazil’s greatest black poets, Solando Trindade, a great cultural icon in her own right, had died at age 81. Then on Tuesday morning (April 17), I was in my car when I heard Maria Bethania’s famous cover of the classic samba “Sonho Meu”, meaning ‘my dream’, by legendary singer/composer Dona Ivone Lara. Before I heard the DJ come on, I remembered that Lara’s birthday, April 13th, had just passed, giving her 97 years of life on this planet. Every year, I have good reason to remember this date. It is the birthday of Soul singer Al Green, but it also the birthday of yours truly!
But then after the song ended the DJ broke the news of why he had played that particular song. Dona Ivone Lara had become one of the ancestors on the previous day. We lost Raquel and Dona Ivone in consecutive days! What a way to start the week! I would probably need a few hours to fully explain what these two amazing women have meant for the preservation of Afro-Brazilian culture, but today, I just wanna share the news. The week has been so hectic that I’ve only been able to share this sad news now.
We all know that someday, our own mortality will come to claim us, but in the in the past decade or so, I marveled at how the strength of these two women kept them going. Dona Ivone Lara kept singing right up to the very end and even in recent years, when we saw her appearing onstage in a wheelchair, her warm voice continued to bring us joy in that way that only singing along to a wonderful song can. I also felt this sort of vitality whenever I saw Raquel give an interview or dancing along with performers several times younger than she as she continued to pass the baton of black cultural preservation that her father passed on to her decades ago. Both of these women will be remembered for the lives they touched and the memories they leave behind. Rest in power rainhas!
Dona Ivone Lara dies at age 97
The first woman to do a samba-enredo in a samba school, singer is icon in the history of Brazilian music
Courtesy of El País
Dona Ivone Lara, one of the main names in Brazilian samba, died on Monday night, April 16, at age 97, as a result of cardiac insufficiency. The singer was hospitalized in a hospital in southern Rio de Janeiro since last Friday, her birthday.
According to the G1 news site, she had already had anemia and had to receive blood donations.
Dona Ivone Lara was born on April 13, 1921, in Botafogo, in Rio. She lost her parents early, from whom she received her first musical influences. She was raised by her uncles, during which time she learned to play cavaquinho and developed her love for samba. She graduated in Nursing and worked as a social worker until 1977, when she started to dedicate herself only to music. She married Oscar Costa, president of the Prazer da Serrinha samba school, with whom she had two children, Alfredo and Odir, who died in 2008.
Samba cannot stop, Dona Ivone Lara already said
– Carlos Latuff (@LatuffCartoons) April 17, 2018
Considered the Dama (Lady) of the Samba, Dona Ivone Lara was the first woman to make a samba-enredo at a samba school, the “Cinco Bailes da História do Rio” (Five Dances of the History of Rio), in 1965. Her compositions were recorded by interpreters like Clara Nunes, Roberto Ribeiro, Maria Bethânia, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Paula Toller, Paulinho da Viola, Beth Carvalho, Mariene de Castro and Roberta Sá and Dorina. Among her successful compositions are “Sonho Meu” (My Dream), “Sorriso Negro” (Black Smile) and “Alguém me avisou” (Someone warned me).
The death of Dona Ivone Lara caused a commotion in the world of music and was lamented by several artists, among them the singers and composers Elza Soares, Marisa Monte, Emicida and Criolo and the actor Lázaro Ramos, among others.
Our dear Mrs. Ivone Lara, the lady of the samba, continues her brilliant path and is now illuminating the sky. Thank you, Dona Ivone! https://t.co/BeZ09QwGPF pic.twitter.com/sMBL7lRs0f
– Marisa Monte (@marisamonte) April 17, 2018
Dona Ivone Lara is a giant. Unique artist. Whenever I was sad I would sing “alguém me avisou” and, with the power of these verses, I would get the strength to walk. This is a power that few songs have, and it’s her verses that do it. Thank you, Mrs. Ivone. Rest in samba. pic.twitter.com/lVZVMf8KdU
– Lazaro Ramos (@olazaroramos) April 17, 2018
President Michel Temer also lamented the death of singer-songwriter Queen of Samba.
Our greatest cultural expression, the samba, loses its greatest expression, Dona Ivone Lara. She has broken strong barriers to this day, both in her Império Serrano (samba school) and in the humanization of psychiatric treatment, with Dr. Nise da Silveira. It comforts me to have honored her still in life. pic.twitter.com/JgtkAVAX9x
– Michel Temer (@MichelTemer) April 17, 2018
Raquel Trindade dies, plastic artist and matriarch of the black culture, at 81
Daughter of the poet Solano Trindade, she was responsible for the founding of the Nação Kambinda de Maracatu (Maracatu Kambinda Nation)
Courtesy of RBA
Raquel Solano was also known by the nickname of ‘rainha Kambinda’ (Queen Kambinda)
The writer, plastic artist, folklorist and dancer Raquel Trindade died at the dawn of Sunday (15th), in Embu das Artes, in the metropolitan region of São Paulo, at the age of 81. The funeral was held Monday (16). Raquel’s body was veiled yesterday afternoon at Teatro Popular Solano Trindade, founded 43 years ago by her in honor of her father, who in 1950 created the Teatro Popular Brasileiro (Brazilian Popular Theater).
The place is a reference in the preservation and promotion of cultura negra e popular (black and popular culture). It offers courses, workshops and presentations of Afro-Brazilian dance, hip-hop, open rehearsals of coco de Alagoas, maracatu, jongo da Serrinha, jongo mineiro, bumba meu boi, orixás rhythms and others.
Raquel Trindade was responsible for the founding of the Nação Kambinda de Maracatu (Maracatu Kambinda Nation). Even without a university degree, she was a lecturer at Unicamp, with the group Urucungo, Puítas and Quinjengues [names of Bantu musical instruments], and was the intellectual responsible for the Identidade Cultural Afro-Brasileiro (Afro-Brazilian Cultural Identity) extension course at the Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp).
She was also known by the nickname “rainha Kambinda” Queen Kambinda”, a reference to the Cabinda African nation, recognized for being matrilineal. Considered a griot, guardian of the knowledge, history and culture of Afro-Brazilian peoples, Raquel is the author of the book Embu: de Aldeia de M’Boy a Terra das Artes, published in 2004 and reissued by Noovha América Editora in 2011.
In the plastic arts, she made her first solo exhibition in 1966 and was one of the founders of the Praça da República arts movement in São Paulo. In 2012, she received the award in the rank of Commander of the Order of Cultural Merit.
In an interview with Portal O Taboanense, State Representative Analice Fernandes lamented the death of the artist and activist of Women’s Rights. “Raquel Trindade will always be part of Embu and Brazilian culture. An artist who dedicated her life to promoting Afro culture and defending the rights of women and minorities,” she said.
Still according to Analice, “her trajectory, like that of her father, the poet Solano Trindade represent the plurality of our culture and the importance of these people in the formation of our society. I also want to leave a loving embrace to all her family, who are my dear friends,” says Analice Fernandes.
The president city council of the city, Hugo Prado, wrote that “Raquel’s story is confused with the story of Embu das Artes. Great person and a complete artist, she will leave an irreparable void for the culture not only here, but in the region and in the country. The news of her death brings sadness to all who knew and followed her trajectory and, at the same time, a feeling of gratitude for her art and talent. “
The poet Sérgio Vaz lamented the death of his writer friend. “Raquel was a wonderful human being, a woman who through her art and wisdom taught us that the fight against racism is a struggle of all who believe in human dignity. It has always been an honor to be a contemporary with her. There are people who die and become even more alive. Rachel is forever.”
For the journalist Márcio Amêndola, from the Fato Expresso newspaper, Raquel’s death is terrible and sad news for Embu das Artes and the entire artistic community, especially Afro-Brazilian movements. “Rachel was one of the greatest and best people I’ve ever met. She founded with her father, Solano Trindade, the TPB – Teatro Popular Brasileiro, in Rio de Janeiro and after the death of her father, Raquel created the Solano Trindade Popular Theater.
Amêndola also recalls that Raquel “commanded the struggle and cultural activism of Embu for decades, taking the name of the city to the whole world” and “for her work, she was a guest lecturer at Unicamp and Universities of Rio de Janeiro. Received, in her name and her father’s, the Commendation of Cultural Merit of the Republic, delivered by President Lula.”
The mayor of Embu das Artes, Ney Santos, expressed himself through a note published on the city’s website. “It is with regret that the City of Embu das Artes informs of the death of the plastic artist Raquel Trindade, at age 81. She was hospitalized at the Instituto do Coração de São Paulo (Incor) for a few days ago and passed away this morning.”