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Dona Ivone Lara
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.