Note from BW of Brazil: OK, so we’re a day late…But, here’s a Happy (belated) Birthday (Parabéns! Feliz Aniversário!) wish to one of Brazil’s most beloved Samba singers and now an elected state official, Leci Brandão. This short feature doesn’t really do Leci’s career justice she will be featured again on BW of Brazil very soon. But for now, learn a little about her and check out a few of her songs and thoughts in the videos below.
by Tamara Baranov
Leci Brandão, the first woman to join the composer’s wing of the Mangueira Samba School and today a voice in defense of the disadvantaged turned 69 yesterday. The singer, songwriter and current state deputy member of the PCB (Partido Comunista do Brasil or Communist Party of Brazil) (elected in 2010) of São Paulo, has her trajectory based in the fight in defense of a more just and caring society.
In her biography, Leci said that from the moment she decided to follow her artistic career she made a commitment that she would make art an instrument in defense of the underprivileged. Always a pagodeira (pagode musician), she had already gained prestige as a member of the composers wing of one of Rio’s most important Samba schools, Mangueira. Her song “Ombro Amigo” was featured in the novela Espelho Mágico in 1977, but without calling attention to the subject of the lyrics.
However, Leci only became known to the general public when she defended the song “Esta tal Criatura”, at the festival of Rede Globo (Globo TV) in 1980. Her commitment to the gay cause spawned several songs inspired by events that she witnessed or went through. At that time, Leci Brandão’s voice defended gays with courage.
The short bio below is taken from Wikipedia, both the English and Portuguese version
Leci Brandão da Silva, Rio de Janeiro, September 12, 1944) is a Brazilian singer and composer of Brazilian Popular Music (Música Popular Brasileira or MPB) beginning her career in the early 1970s. She is the daughter of Pérola Negra, one of the artists who pioneered the making Brazilian pagode music popular throughout the land. Her performance of “Quero Sim” won the National Meeting of Samba Composers in 1973. Leci has recorded 20 albums and three CDs. As an actress Leci appeared in novela (soap opera) Xica da Silva playing the role of Severina.
One of Leci Brandão’s latest performances was in 2005 with Raça Brasileira: 20 Anos (DVD: Raca Brasileira, rated NR, one hour/2005) with many other Brazilian samba greats (i.e. Beth Carvalho, Arlindo Cruz, Almir Guineto, etc.).
As an Afro-Brazilian, a woman, and an artist, Leci Brandão has long taken opportunities to declare herself against racism and all other forms of discrimination. She is a member of the Conselho Nacional de Promoção da Igualdade Racial (National Council of the Promotion of Racial Equality) and the Conselho Nacional dos Direitos da Mulher (National Council of the Rights of Women). She has lent her name, voice and cache by performing in LGBT events against homophobia.
Here, starting at the 2:27 mark are a few of Leci’s thoughts on the situation of Afro-Brazilians, Samba, Carnaval and her own music taken from the 1982 documentary The Spirit of Samba: Black Music of Brazil (overdubbed in English).
Here are a few of Leci’s songs. The first four are from her 1970s LPs and the last is taken from a 2012 live performance.
Essa Tal Criatura
Antes que volte a ser nada
Samba da Alforria (2012)