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Elis Regina

Elis Regina was one of the most ferociously talented singers to emerge from Brazil. A perfectionist who was frequently dissatisfied, Regina drove herself and members of her band relentlessly, leading to her being dubbed "Hurricane" and "Little Pepper" by musicians and journalists. Her tempestuous nature aside, she commanded the respect of Brazil's leading songwriters, who lined up for the chance to have her record one of their songs, and for much of her short life was the country's most popular female vocalist.

Born Elis Regina Carvalho Costa in Porto Alegre in 1945 to a working-class family, Regina began singing professionally at age 12 on a children's television show called Clube de Guri. For the next two years she was a regular performer on the program and became a local celebrity. It was during this period that she signed her first recording contract at the age of 13. At 15 she relocated to Rio de Janeiro, where she recorded the first of three records, returning to Porto Alegre between each. Her initial recordings sold well and she was soon a teenage star, as well as the family's principal breadwinner. In 1963, at the age of 18, Regina and her father, in a move designed to further her career, relocated to Rio. Unfortunately, it was around this time that a military junta took over control of the country.

Not long after her move to Rio, Regina became a fixture on Brazilian variety shows. Although the cool, supple, jazzy bossa nova sound was in vogue at the time, Regina preferred more raucous rhythms and full-throated singing. Adding to this was her dynamic, unsophisticated stage presence (which belied a career-long battle against near-paralytic stage fright) that, in American terms, might be best understood if one thinks of the tornado-like force that Janis Joplin could unleash. In 1965, Regina sang the controversial (and nearly censored) song "Arrastao" at Rio's first big popular music festival. In a performance that may well have been the defining moment of her career, she posed in Christ-like crucifixion, tears streaming down her face at the song's conclusion. From that moment on, her popularity rocketed; she went from being one of many successful Brazilian singers to the most popular and highest-paid singer in the country -- at the age of 21.

Although not as overtly political as other singer/songwriters of her generation (e.g., Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil), Regina was not shy about criticizing Brazil's military rule. While touring Europe in 1969 she told a journalist that her country was "being run by guerrillas." Normally this sentiment would lead to either jail or exile (or both in the case of Gil and Veloso), but Regina's enormous popularity protected her somewhat from any public government retaliation. However, the military junta used more insidious strong-arm tactics, such as forcing her to sing the Brazilian national anthem at a ceremony to celebrate the anniversary of the country's "independence." She was roundly attacked by leftist performers for such a public display of pro-government sentiment, and it was years later that her husband revealed that she was threatened with jail if she did not comply with the government's wishes. As the mother of a young child at the time, Regina could not afford to become a martyr.

Regina's career showed no signs of slowing as the 1970s came to a close; some of her best records were recorded during this time, and one album simply called Elis & Tom (recorded in Los Angeles with Antonio Carlos Jobim) has been called by many journalists and musicians one of the greatest Brazilian pop records ever made. However, while her career was in full swing, her personal life was in disarray -- two marriages ended in divorce, and she was raising three children as well as providing for her parents. In the late '70s, after the end of her second marriage, she began using cocaine regularly, but managed to keep her increasing dependence on the drug well hidden from her friends and family. Regina began 1982 by marrying for a third time, signing a new recording contract, and in general, planning for the future. All of this came to a halt on January 19, 1982, when she was found dead of alcohol and cocaine intoxication at age 36. Initially, her death was rumored to be a suicide, but there is no evidence indicating that it was anything more than a tragic accident.

A few days after her death, a memorial concert was held in São Paulo featuring many of Brazil's most famous singers. Over 100,000 grieving Brazilians came to pay their final respects to this gifted, mercurial singer who remains as popular after death as she was in life. ~ John Dougan
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Essential Elis, Vol. 1

1. Aguas De Marco (Waters Of March)

2. Madalena

3. Canto De Ossanha (Chi Dice Non De)

4. Aquarela Do Brasil / Nega Do Cabelo Duro

5. Casa No Campo

6. Dois Pra La, Dois Pra Ca

7. Caxanga

8. Gracias A La Vida

9. O Mestre Sala Dos Mares

10. Nada Sera Como Antes

11. Louvacao (live)

12. As Curvas Da Estrada De Santos

13. Atras Da Porta

x

Track List: Os Sonhos Mais Lindos

1. Fascinacao

2. Amor Ate O Fim

3. Atras Da Porta

4. So Tinha De Ser Com Voce

5. These Are The Songs (Esta E A Cancao)

6. Vecchio Novo

7. Folhas Secas

8. 20 Anos Blue

9. Morro Velho

10. Andancaa

11. How Insensitive (Insensatez)

12. Carinhoso

13. Canto De Ossanha

14. Nega Do Cabelo Duro

x

Track List: Vento De Maio

2. Sai Dessa

7. Calcanhar De Aquiles

9. Rebento

10. O Trem Azul

11. O Medo De Amar E O Medo De Ser Livre

12. Se Eu Quiser Falar Com Deus

13. Aprendendo Jogar

x

Track List: Elis Por Ela

1. Como Nossos Pais

2. Corcovado (Ao Vivo)

3. Canção Da América (Versão 1)

4. Velha Roupa Colorida

5. O Que Foi Feito Deverá

6. Menino

7. O Bêbado E A Equilibrista

8. Mestre Sala Dos Mares

9. Maria Maria (Versão 1)

10. Garota De Ipanema (Ao Vivo)

11. Sabiá

12. Beguine Dodói

13. Ponta De Areia/Fé Cega Faca Amolada/Maria Maria (Ao Vivo)

14. Cobra Criada (Ao Vivo)

x

Track List: Fascination

1. Menino Das Laranjas

2. Upa Neguinho

3. Madalena

4. Lapinha

5. Corrida De Jangada

6. Canto De Ossanha

7. Como Nossos Pais

8. O Mestre Sala Dos Mares

9. Vou Deitar E Rolar (Quaquaraquaqua)

10. Potpourri

11. Arrastao

12. Romaria

13. Mucuripe

14. Casa No Campo

15. Fascinacao (Fascination)

16. Me Deixas Louca (Me Vuelves Loco)

17. Atras Da Porta

18. Caryomante

19. Dois Pra Ca, Dois Pra La

20. O Rancho Da Goiabada

x

Track List: Personalidade

1. Casa No Campo

2. Dois Pra La, Dois Pra Ca

3. Madalena

4. Atras Da Porta

5. Triste

6. Aguas De Marco

7. Mucuripe

8. Romaria

9. Folhas Secas

10. Como Nossos Pais

11. Me Deixa Em Paz

12. Nada Ser Como Antes

13. E Com Esse Que Eu Vou

14. Voce

15. Fascinacao (Fascination)

16. Vou Deitar E Rolar (Quaquaraquaque)

x

Track List: A Arte De Elis Regina

1. Reza

8. Lunik 9

9. Aquarela Do Brasil; Nega Do Cabelo Duro

10. Upa Neguinho

11. Corrida De Jangada

13. Casa Forte

14. As Curvas Da Estrada De Santos

17. Madalena

18. Aguas De Marco

19. Atras Da Porta

20. Casa No Campo

Comments

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Thank you for this beautiful bio. Love her!
Report as inappropriate
This is the first time that I've heard her or her story, WOW. arctic1974 says it best. Why does it always seem that one side only wants to Sing & Dance, and the Other Side just wants Everything there way and They will KILL to get it. And its like that all over the World, Peace2U
Report as inappropriate
Bring on the waters of March!
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One day you will hear my voice i will be my big ever way my brother . is big and your people . ����
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"É promessa de vida no seu coração!!" Awesome!!
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Love love love this artist bravo Bravo
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OMG... Love it!!!
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Michael A. Missiras, Ph.D.
Trumpet/Corn e t / C o m p o s e r
NYC/ arctic1974@g m a i l . c o m

The utter joy on this cut is a wonder to behold!! I look forward to this cut constantly!!
Report as inappropriate
Michael Missiras
Trumpet/Corn e t / C o m p o s e r
NYC/ arctic1974@g m a i l . c o m

So sad that this great artist was cut down in her absolute prime. And as so many jazz musicians were as well. I am still left spellbound by her artistry.
Report as inappropriate
I always look forward to hearing this artist. And I am never disappointed in any of her work. Bravo!!

Michael Missiras
Trumpet/Corn e t / C o m p o s e r
NYC/ arctic1974@g m a i l . c o m
Report as inappropriate
I'm always moved by the profound artistry of this singer.

Michael Missiras
Trumpet/Corn e t / C o m p o s e r
NYC/ arctic1974@g m a i l . c o m
Report as inappropriate
One of Bossa Nova's greatest artist.

Michael Missiras
Cornet/Compo s e r
NYC/ arctic1974@g m a i l . c o m
Report as inappropriate
Awesome READ thank you all for sharing~ Lateresa
Report as inappropriate
Elis Regina was a very exceptional singer that represented Brazil in a big way and no female singer can top her these days.
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castillo_san d o v a l
PLEASE get a clue. She said Brazil was being run by gorillas, not "guerrillas" . Gorilla is the derisive term for military dictators. Otherwise the statement makes no sense.
Report as inappropriate
XOXOXOXO
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Ep patta ep hahaha
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Captivating. Elis Regina is one-of-kind. Sensational singer.
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MS REGINA HAD FLOW !! OBRIGADO X
Report as inappropriate
Are there any bad women vocalist in Brazil. I do not think so.
Report as inappropriate
Kiss your left hand
Say your crushes name
Close your hand
Choose a weekday
Post this on 15 other stations and on that weekday your crush will ask you out
Report as inappropriate
Espectacular !
Report as inappropriate
Great lasting wow
Report as inappropriate
E la luz la maniana
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mlmendez7
Wonderful!
Report as inappropriate
Beautiful voice!
Report as inappropriate
Come e bella!
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Elis and her music so Beautiful. So tragic. She is...the greatest.Wil l always love her and her gift.
Report as inappropriate
Pure music!!!!
Report as inappropriate
Ela era tremenda cantante!... B r a s i l ! !
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Another rendition of this classic !!! Obrigado !! X
Report as inappropriate
Que Tremende!
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sacredfun6
The bio should stress the musical genius and joy first, and leave the temperamenta l and moody comments as a footnote... yes, beautiful and sad.
Report as inappropriate
Eu tè amo "com ease que eu vou"
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dmellol
Elis will always be loved by the brazilians. Incredible artist with remarkable talent.
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curitiba4lif e 5 0
Wow, sounds like Whitney Houston. People need the Lord.
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valencia44
Dejaste abandonada la ilucion que habia en mi corazon por ti !...que bella cancion!
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gridvu
great emotional singer, but very sad ending
Report as inappropriate
Nice love song
Report as inappropriate
oui j; adore.....
Report as inappropriate
Check out this video of a recording session with Jobim singing Aguas de Marco.

She is an incredible talent.

http://www.t h e a t l a n t i c . c o m / e n t e r t a i n m e n t / a r c h i v e / 2 0 1 2 / 0 9 / a l l - j o b i m - a l l - t h e - t i m e / 2 6 2 9 9 1 /
Report as inappropriate

The Brazilian Edith Piaf, according to Leila Mandel...I second that fact.
Report as inappropriate
My father's land- thanks daddy
Report as inappropriate
525433228
I know something Portuguese that's from Heaven. My love angel. Straight from Heaven.
Report as inappropriate
525433228
E com esse que eu vou is a good song.
Report as inappropriate
atringale4
A cool and hip voice from heaven.
Report as inappropriate
laceyjwatson
I'm falling so very in love with Elis Regina...wha t a wonderful sound. Huge Talent. Love it.
Report as inappropriate
Elis, the greatest yesterday,to d a y and forever. Need to say anythingelse ?
Report as inappropriate
Juan Francisco Santiago Gonzalez de Puerto Rico:Hay muchas mujeres cantantes que han cautivado mi vida:Sarah Vaughan,Carm e n McRae,Ella Fitzgerald,L u c e c i t a Benitez,Patt y Austin,Lunna , p e r o Elis Regina & Gal Costa me conquistaron el corazon.Amo el Bossa Nova & el Jazz,Elis Regina sera inrreemplasa b l e , s u voz,registro s , t e s i t u r a .
Report as inappropriate
A beautiful human being, her tears are audible on the record she did with Jobim. Such a big heart --- not a wonder that it burst before she reached her prime.
Show more

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