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Dona Ivone Lara

Sempre a cantar

Ivone Lara Da Costa, a.k.a. Dona Ivone Lara, was born in Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro State, in Brazil. A daughter of a traditional singer, she began to compose at the age of 12. One of her first songs was the refrain of a samba-song called “Tiê-tiê” (named after a bird she liked a lot). She studied at the ‘Orsina da Fonseca’ county school, from where she graduated at the age of 17. After her parents death, she moved in with her uncle, a musician named Dionisio Bento Da Silva, who teached her how to play the “cavaquinho” (a small 4-string guitar). In October 1947, she moved to Madureira (a suburb of Rio de Janeiro) and began to attend a samba school, ‘Prazer da Serrinha’, that is no longer existing nowadays. During that period she started to compose, but her works were introduced to the samba community as written by one of her cousins, Mestre Fuleiro (also a composer); this was due to the fact that, back in those days, there was lot of prejudice against women and one could not be accepted as a composer by the community.

 

In 1947 she got married to Oscar Costa, son of the chairman of the ‘Prazer da Serrinha’ samba school. The samba-song “Nasci para sofrer”, she has composed, was elected to represent the school in the carnival parade. When this samba-school disappeared, she moved on to a new one called ‘G.R.E.S. Império Serrano’, which was formed in 1947 by a group of dissidents of the ‘Prazer da Serrinha’.

 

As she continued composing, she achieved broad success with a samba-song called “Não me perguntes mais”. In 1965, her samba, “Os cincos Bailes Tradicionais da História do Rio”, performed by Silas de Oliveira and Bacalhau, reached the fourth row in the samba schools competition; later in 1974, she performed this song herself.

She was the first woman to write a samba tune. She participated in the famous ‘rodas de samba’ (samba get-together) at the Teatro Opinião, in Rio de Janeiro. She is a Godmother of the Imperio Serrano School’s composers, and, since 1968, parades as a member of the Baianas group of that samba school.

 

1970 was for her, the very year, as performing artist and samba-writer when she released her first album, “Sambão 70”, produced by Sargenteli and Adelson Alves, on the Copacabana label. She has, then, recorded with many different labels as Odeon, Copacabana, Warner, Som Livre and RGE.

 

Great Brazilian singers performed many of her songs. In 74, Cristina Buarque de Hollanda recorded the songs “Agradeço a Deus” and “Confesso”. “Sonho Meu”, by Gal Costa and Maria Bethânia, was elected song of the year in 1978. “Alguém me avisou”, was recorded by Gilberto Gil, Maria Bethânia, and Caetano Veloso, and “Acreditar” by Roberto Ribeiro.

To celebrate her 50 years of recording dedicated to samba music, Sony Music releases in 1997 the album "Bodas de Ouro" which features many guests: Gilberto Gil, Beth Carvalho, Djavan, Zeca Pagodinho, Martinho da Villa, Almir Guineto, Araketu, Danilo Caymmi, Adryana Ribeiro, Isabel Filardis and Toni Garrido, Ataulpho Alves Jr. or Netinho.

 

Dona Ivone Lara is an active part of samba history and a very lively example of real, traditional Brazilian samba culture. Her first album for Lusafrica “Nasci  pra sonhar e cantar”, released in June 2001, is highly acclaimed by the press and the public. In October 2004, she is 83 years old, and she returns with a new album, "Sempre a Cantar", recorded in Rio de Janeiro, in the Studio Copacabana.

 

 

Discographie chez Lusafrica

« Nasci Pra Sonhar E Cantar » CD Lusafrica 362542 (2001)

« Sempre A Cantar » CD Lusafrica 362982  (2004)

 

 

 

Dona Ivone Lara - album "Sempre a Cantar"

 

Dona Ivone Lara is a key figure in the authentic, traditional culture of Brazilian samba. She began her career in 1947 and was the first woman in Brazil to write a samba. Her songs have been performed by the greatest Brazilian singers: Christina Buarque de Hollanda, Gal Costa and Maria Bethânia (“Sonho Meu”, voted song of the year 1978), Gilberto Gil, Maria Bethânia and Caetano Veloso. After working with different major record companies in Brazil, Dona Ivone recorded the album “Nasci pra sonhar e cantar” – an endorsement of her career – for the Lusafrica label in 2001. It was universally acclaimed by both critics and public. Today, at the age of 83, Dona Ivone Lara is back with another album: “Sempre a Cantar”, recorded in Rio de Janeiro at the Studio Copacabana.

 

Made in partnership with carioca artistic producer Paulo César Figueiredo (like the previous album, “Nasci pra sonhar e cantar”), “Sempre a Cantar” – the title was suggested by Martinho da Vila – consists of 13 new songs, followed by a medley of three of Dona Ivone’s most famous numbers: “Alguém me avisou”, “Acreditar” and “Sonho Meu”, with backing vocals by the Toque de Prim group.

 

Dona Ivone and Paulo César Figueiredo asked four talented arrangers – each with a very personal style – to work on this new album: Rildo Hora, Leonardo Bruno, Paulão 7 Cordas and Wanderson Martins (also the musical director). The result is a rich diversity, although this does not detract from the record’s overall harmony at all.

 

Accompanying Dona Ivone is the cream of Brazilian music: Carlinhos 7 Cordas, the great instrumentalist and arranger Paulão 7 Cordas, rhythm maestros Marcos Esguleba, Ovídio Brito and Gordinho do Surdo, and other greats, such as Rildo Hora and Dirceu Leite, who understand the language of samba carioca better than anyone.

 

As usual, Dona Ivone has written the music for all the tracks and some of the lyrics too. Her melodic talent is particularly apparent on “Coração Apaixonado”, a romantic samba that showcases the Afro-Brazilian essence of the percussion, as well as “Na Voce Cofessou”, in the purest tradition of the samba schools.  On “Castelo de Ilusão”, the eminent Hamilton de Holanda adds his choro-style bandolim to Dirceu Leite’s delicate flute. Wind instruments play an important role too: “Na Própria Palma” features the great Zé da Velha (perpetuating the tradition of the carioca trombone) and trumpet player Silverio Pontes, while Paulo Sérgio provides clarinet solos on “Vida que a Gente Leva” and “Receio do Amor”. Finally, “O Trovador”, with cello from Hugo Pilger, is something of a tribute to Hector Villa-Lobos, a reference to the favourite instrument of Brazil’s most famous composer.

 

Modern in her outlook, Dona Ivone is happy to work with newer generations whose musical outlook may be different to hers. She joined forces with Sombrinha – representative of the Cacique de Ramos carioca music school – on “Receio o Amor” and Bruno Castro on “Vem Novamente” and “Luz da Paz”. In the introduction to “Força do Criador”, Wanderson Martins’ arrangement suggests a touch of nostalgia, but this is immediately offset by the samba beat. “Nova Era” and “A Cigana” are a reminder of Dona Ivone’s mystic side – she always pays tribute to her personal beliefs in one way or another. Paulão 7 Cordas’ arrangement emphasises the African sonorities. It is at these times that Dona Ivone usually indulges herself with a few steps of samba duro or jongo, in the Morro da Serrinha tradition, swinging and swaying...

 

Produced in the purest samba carioca tradition, there is no doubt that “Sempre a Cantar”, will represent a milestone in today’s production. Out in Brazil in summer 2004, the album is to be released on this side of the Atlantic on the 8th October 2004, on the Lusafrica label.

 

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