Daúde: The “Black Pearl” of Brazilian Popular Music


Note from BW of Brazil: For most, the name Daúde (pronounced “Dah-ooh-gee”) may not be a familiar name in the world of Pop music. But in Brazil of the 1990s and early part of the 2000s, the name conjured up the image of an attractive, brown-skinned woman with a closely-cropped hairdo and an eclectic mixture of various musical genres mixed together in a uniquely Brazilian manner. As black women are rarely allowed to shine outside of the realm of Samba, even with the heavy Afro-Brazilian influence of the northeastern Bahian music, Daúde was a breath of fresh air when she emerged on the music scene with her 1995 self-titled debut CD.  A featured performer in the popular Black2Black music festival in 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, many looked to her appearance as a sign of a comeback that has yet to materialize. 

Daúde: The “Black Pearl” of Brazilian Popular Music

(Article features material from the Dicionário Cravo Albin da Música Popular Brasileira, Real World Records and the artist’s UOL website)

Though this may come as a surprise to those unfamiliar with Brazil’s music scene, Daúde is a rare find: a Black woman in Brazil’s eclectic pop-roots music, known as Música Popular Brasileira (MPB), and the first to fuse MPB with African roots and modern production values, setting the whole thing alight with sensual, driving dance beats.


While many of her peers have been abandoning Brazilian music to undertake rock, hip-hop, techno and dance, Daúde takes the opposite tack. She looks to see how these forms can be brought back to enhance Brazilian music, not to replace it. The mix is all her own and the style she has created is unique.


Born on September 23, 1961 in Salvador, Bahia, to Army Lieutenant Waldemiro Guilherme Santana and Maria de Lurdes Costa de Santana, Maria Waldelurdes Costa de Santana Dutilleux is known artistically as Daúde, a Brazilian singer. Also an actress and model, Daúde resided in Salvador until the age of 11 when she moved to Rio de Janeiro with her parents and three younger brothers and sisters. At 18 she began to study singing at the Instituto Villa-Lobos (Villa -Lobos Institute) and theatre at the Escola Martins Pena (Martins Pena School). She later graduated with a degree in Letters (Literature and Portuguese) at Universidade Santa Úrsula do Rio de Janeiro (Santa Úrsula University of Rio de Janeiro) and a Post-Grad in African History.


Brazilian music has been able to project to the world an expressive, vibrant and cheerful image. Through our Afro-musical heritage, it collaborates so that the Brazilian assumes unreserved its negra and mestiça (black and mestizo or mixed race) identity. From Samba to Funk, Jongo to Jungle, from Maracatu Baião and Carnival, Brazilian music is different, and legitimizes our African origin, crossing the barrier of prejudice, naturally promoting racial democracy.

Cover of 1995 CD "Daúde"
Cover of 1995 CD “Daúde”

Daúde’s music also expresses itself in this way.

Tradition, modernity, spontaneity and sophistication have been the main line of the trajectory of Daúde, adding Afro-Brazilian musical heritage with a coherent collection of references from the Pop world. With a career spanning four successful albums, Daúde has had national and international recognition for bringing to the public a Brazilian sound that travels through a mix of genres – from Samba to Rap, Jongo to MPB (Música Popular Brasileira or Brazilian Popular Music) – and for her strong and sexy stage presence, in dancing shows that come to the rays of theater.

1997's "Daúde #2"
1997’s “Daúde #2”

She began her musical career singing in plays and nightclubs, when the invitation to record her first CD Daúde came in 1995. The album garnered critical acclaim, won the prêmios Sharp de Música (Sharp Music awards), APCA (Associação dos Críticos de Arte de São Paulo or Association of Art Critics São Paulo), and from readers of the Jornal do Brasil.

1999 CD "Simbora"
1999 CD “Simbora”

Two years later, she released Daúde #2 produced by Celso Fonseca and English producer Will Mowat. In 1999, she released Simbora, a CD of remixed songs in which she put together songs from her first albums with the objective of linking the new interpretations to the pleasure of dancing. The sound of this CD definitely fused Daúde’s music, MPB and resources used in electronic music, affirming the importance of music producers and DJs as creative and necessary artists in the current musical scene.

"Neguinha te amo" (2003)
“Neguinha te amo” (2003)

After a four-year break between albums of new material, she returned with her first album on Real World Records. Daúde was the first Brazilian woman to be signed to a contract on the label owned by Peter Gabriel. Her 2003 disc Neguinha te Amo (meaning, “I Love You Little Black Girl”), honored women and contributed to the international public having another vision of Brazilian music, transcending established clichés or tropical stereotypes.

Neguinha Te Amo is really an homage to the Brazilian woman and her strength,” said Daúde, “and to the legacy of mixed races, the happiness, humor and knowing tolerance of the Brazilian people, and, finally, to Africa, expressed naturally and in a modern style. I never doubted what I was doing. Even with the world in such a mess, this is what carried me through the making of the album. Throughout, my challenge was to show another side of Brazilian music.”

The stories she tells on Neguinha Te Amo are richly varied, and they’re told in the language of the music as well as in the lyrics. Through the percolation of loops and beats, Daúde is seeking to re-emphasize the African soul of the music while she bolsters the innately Brazilian. “The African element is natural to Brazilian music,” Daúde explains. “It’s expressed through rhythm and often directly in the singing style, vocalization and improvisation. It doesn’t need flourishes and vibrato.”


Daúde collected songs that treat romantic topics, but so, too, social and political ones. She explains, “Muito Quente”, for example, describes how black brothers and sisters can feel about themselves, with positive imagery that’s also full of humor. “Crioula”, a duet with the great Jorge Benjor, is a celebration of black Brazilian womanhood. And “Uma Neguinha” describes a personal experience that all women of color will recognize. They will also identify with many other things on the album. The need to make the album went way deeper than just wanting to further my professional career.”

None of this is to say that Neguinha Te Amo is some intellectual exercise. Far from it. Daúde’s voice and attitude sail over a music that’s got a sensual, funky swagger, that’s very earthy, rhythmic, danceable, sexy. “I like songs that move me,” Daúde says. “This emotion isn’t linked to place, it could be Brazilian, it could be from anywhere. With the best Brazilian music, there can often be a perfect marriage of harmony, melody, rhythm and lyrics.”

Throughout her career, she has released four music videos has had 10 songs on radio station playlists throughout Brazil and has made several tours in Brazil and abroad.

Daúde's performs at the 2012 Back2Black festival in Rio
Daúde’s performs at the 2012 Back2Black festival in Rio

In 2012 she participated in the Black2Black festival in the Espaço Cultura Gare da Leopoldina, in downtown Rio de Janeiro. In the same year she finalized the CD Código Daúde, which featured several cameo appearances, including Alceu Valenca, Nelson Sargento, Marcos Valle, Jam da Silva, Marcos Esguleba, Arthur Maia, Jesse Sadoc and Nicolas Krassik. Her fans await the new release anxiously. “Our Black Pearl of Brazilian popular music,” enthuses one on her website, “without doubt you’re the swingingest muse.” Her reputation at home is inestimable: “Daúde, you are the pride of us all.”

Among the videos below are the classic Jorge Ben song, “Crioula”, released in his 1969 album that describes a beautiful black lady, descendant of noble Africans that by geographic carelessness was born in Brazil. “Canto de Ossanha” is the Baden Powell/Vinicius de Moraes collaboration from the classic 1966 Os Afro-Sambas LP that has been covered countless times over the past four decades.

“Véu Vavá” was written by popular songwriter/musicians Celso Fonseca and Carlinhos Brown, and “Naja”, is a tribute to negritude and the dynasty of the pretty black lady, a theme by Paulinho Camafeu, a Bahian composer identified with the traditions of Afro-Brazilian culture.  “Pata Pata” is a re-reading of the 1967 international hit of the great South African singer Miriam Makeba.

Source: UOL, Dicionário Cravo Albin da Música Popular Brasileira, Real World Records


Daúde – Crioula


Daúde – Pata Pata

Daúde – Quatro Meninas


Daúde – Muito Quente

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. She is AMAZING!! You must buy her music….it might have too much drums for anglophonic audience but it is so rooted in African beats! Love her! One of my favourites!

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