The art in the blood of Júlia Dias: Daughter of multi-artist Maurício Tizumba, actress prepares for ‘Elza: O Musical’ about one of Brazil’s most important singers

photo luiza vilaroel
photo luiza vilaroel

photo Luiza Vilaroel

Note from BW of Brazil: Before I ever knew who Júlia Dias was, I knew who her father was. I remember being in Belo Horizonte (BH), which is the capital city of the state of Minas Gerais, and was in just hanging out on the street killing time as I had about six to wait to catch a flight to São Paulo and then back to Chicago on my way to Detroit. But in BH, I remember flipping through magazines at a news stand when I caught someone reading the culture/entertainment section of a newspaper…It may have the O Tempo newspaper…that, I don’t exactly remember. What I do remember is Maurício Tizumba on the cover of that newspaper and thinking to myself, “Who is this dude looking like Ol’ Dirty Bastard?” For those of you who don’t know who the late member of the Wu Tang Clan Hip Hop collective was, well…Google him. When I see Maurício Tizumba now, I realize that he doesn’t really look like ODB, but if you had seen that photo of Tizumba performing, making that face with that hairstyle, youda thought the same thing! Tizumba is a very important figure on the BH music scene so when I discovered that he had a daughter that also performed, I wanted to check her out too. The thing is that his daughter, Júlia Dias, has already been featured in a previous post, but as the article didn’t mention anything about her father, I didn’t realize the connection. Of course, I know who she is now and now I’m sharing a little about the artist who has stepped out her famous father’s footsteps and is on her way to making a name for herself with her own talents. Check her out below…

Julia Dias

The art in the blood of Júlia Dias

Daughter of multi-artist Maurício Tizumba, the Minas Gerais native actress prepares for Elza: O Musical, which premieres in July in Rio

dias 2
Júlia Dias is an actress, singer, songwriter and percussionist.

By Franco Malheiro

The art came to Júlia Dias, 27, in a natural way. Daughter of Maurício Tizumba, the singer, actress, percussionist and composer remembers that the first canjas that she gave on a stage, next to the father, were when she was only five years old. She learned music with Tizumba, and soon after, she decided to pursue her career as an actress, studying theater with the Grupo Galpão and later graduating at UFMG University Theater.

filha pai
Dias on stage performing with her father, Maurício Tizumba

“My music school is all about my dad. Especially the oral question of our black ancestry,” points out Dias, who also holds a degree in journalism from PUC Minas. With this consciousness, Julia made art a place of resistance, and now has the opportunity to pay homage in the theater to another powerful black voice, Elza Soares, defined by Julia as a “school”. “Elza is a school not only artistic, but also of life, for everything she went through as a black woman, just like us,” says the singer.

Elza: O Musical (the musical), directed by Duda Maia and dramaturgy by Vinícius Calderoni, is set to debut on July 19 in Rio de Janeiro, selected seven black female actresses through auditions and rehersals. The chosen ones – in addition to Júlia, Larissa Luz, Janamo, Khrystal, Laís Lacôrte, Verônica Bonfim and Kesia Estácio – will interpret seven Elzas. But it will not be copies of Elza, says Julia. “Let’s not imitate her or interpret her. The idea is to bring our stories, of black women, to hers, because, in a way, they get confused a little. We all have resistance and struggle as something in common.”

sete elza
Women of the musical ‘Elza: O Musical’ about legendary singer Elza Soares, who was named “The Singer of the Century” by the BBC

For the daughter of Tizumba, it is an honor to pay homage to Elza while she’s still alive. “I am very grateful. It is also a lot of responsibility, but I believe that connecting us with our essence and with our truth of black women, we will be able to do a beautiful job and a pay a dignified homage,” believes the beautiful horizontina (native of Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais).

On three occasions Júlia was able to meet Elza, even sang with the diva, during a show in BH, in 2016. “I think one of the most beautiful things about Elza is the strength she carries to be able to reinvent herself. She’s just strength and beauty,” she praises.

Career. Besides being an actress, Júlia also excels in music. She learned with Tizumba to play percussion, and next to her father she is part of the Tambor Mineiro group, where she currently teaches classes.

Tizumba celebra 60 anos de vida e 45 de carreira com show
Dias’s father, musician Maurício Tizumba, recently celebrated his 60th birthday and his 45th year in the music business

She says that it was with Tizumba with whom she learned to value her craft. “One of the greatest lessons I learned from my father is to look at art as a craft. It is from it that comes our breadwinner. Fame and success are consequences of work. First of all, we are art workers,” she defines.


In the theater, her first play was in 2009, with the show “O Negro, a Flor e o Rosário” (The Black, the Flower and the Rosary). Currently, she is part of the Companhia Burlantins (Burlantins Company) and is one of the founders of the Mostra Benjamin de Oliveira. In addition, she is part of the Coletivo Negras Autoras, acting as composer, singer and instrumentalist. Polivalente, she is also regent of the percussive ensemble of the Associação Cultural Tambor Mineiro (Cultural Association Tambor Mineiro). Still in the theater, Julia is part of the cast of the musicals “Zumbi”, “Oratório”, “Clara Negra”, “O Negro, a Flor e o Rosário” e “Madame Satã”.

In the movies, she recorded a participation in Willi Biodani’s “Além do Homem”, with a debut scheduled for June. “It was a good experience. I feel that I need to explore the audiovisual universe more. I would still like to act in more movies,” she says.

dias 3

Currently, Julia lives in the back and forth between Rio and Belo Horizonte, so that she can work, rehearse and also see her daughter and family. “I have my family in Belo Horizonte, my daughter and my husband live here. I’m going to Rio to work, but I have to hurry back, because the longing hurts,” she says. According to her, the routine isn’t heavy, since she has already become accustomed to flow. “Anyone who works with art needs to get used to the rush. Living on art in Brazil demands a warrior soul,” she says.


“Clara Negra”, da Companhia Burlantins
“O Negro, a Flor e Rosário”, da Companhia Burlantins
“Madame Satã”, Grupo dos Dez
“Zumbi”, com direção de João das Neves
“Oratório”, da Companhia Burlantins
“Saga de Dom Quixote”, Companhia Burlantins
“Era”, Negras Autoras
“Negr.a”, Negras Autoras

Black women’s flags are current

With the recent sad episode of the murder of councilwoman Marielle Franco (PSOL-RJ), Júlia Dias, one of the seven Elzas of the musical, says that dealing with the strength, place and empowerment of the black woman – especially portraying and honoring a woman artist like Elza Soares – is quite symbolic and becomes even more necessary in the period through which Brazil is going through.

“It is very symbolic that Marielle, a black woman, was murdered in Rio, where we will premiere the musical. This spectacle is made up of only black women, honoring a black woman with a hard life story like Elza’s,” she points out.

For her, in Brazil it is still very difficult to be a black woman. “Unfortunately, the flags that Elza has always raised, and that other women have also raised, are still current and necessary. This spectacle will be another battle within art that we have to fight daily. But we keep resisting, fighting and raising our flags. Whatever has to be changed, we will fight to change it, always,” concludes Julia.

Source: O Tempo

About Marques Travae 3747 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

1 Comment

  1. That sister is very good at her craft. I watched several of her videos on youtube. I know little Brazilian Portuguese language but I could understand most of the music video. Just awesome!!

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