Simone Bittencourt de Oliveira

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Simone
Simone cantora Brasil.jpg
Background information
Birth name Simone Bittencourt de Oliveira
Also known as Cigarra (Cicada, Buzzer)
Born (1949-12-25) December 25, 1949 (age 64)
Salvador, Bahia, Brazil
Genres Romantic, MPB, Samba
Occupations Singer
Years active 1973- present
Labels Odeon, EMI, Universal
Associated acts Ivan Lins, Chico Buarque, Sueli Costa, Isolda, Martinho da Vila, Milton Nascimento
Website www.Simone.art.br

Simone Bittencourt de Oliveira, better known as Simone, is a Brazilian singer and a major performer of Música Popular Brasileira (MPB) who has recorded more than 31 albums.[1]

Biography[edit]

Simone was born on December 25, 1949 in Salvador, Bahia as the seventh daughter in a family of nine children. During her teenage years she was a professional basketball player and moved to São Paulo to become a member of the women's national basketball team. She studied in Santos (São Paulo), majoring in Physical Education.

Career[edit]

Her music career began when a close friend and guitar teacher Elodir Barontini invited her to sing at a dinner with Odeon´s marketing manager. At the end of this encounter, specially scheduled for her performance, came an offer of a contract to record not one but four albums at once. Her eponymous debut album [2] was recorded in October 1972 at low cost and with a few musicians, conducted by José Briamonte. This inaugural edition circulated only among friends, relatives and artists; ten years later it would be re-edited and with a different cover. On March 20, 1973, Simone was launched for the press in a closed meeting at the Hilton Hotel in São Paulo; later on she would appear for the first time ever on a TV program, for 'TV Bandeirantes'. This was followed by another show on Mixturação[3] (director/producer Walter Silva, April 1973), a TV Record program where she was one of the promising new talents. Thus success gradually took place.

A previous sportswoman who had already met success was now a stage presence, supported by her family – her father, an opera amateur singer, and her mother, a pianist, from whom she received a great stimulus. Before becoming familiar to the Brazilian audience, she was one of those invited to participate in an international tour in Europe, starting with a presentation at the Olympia in Paris.[4] This tour was organized by Hermínio Bello de Carvalho,[5] regarded as one of the most important Record producers in Brazil. They performed at Olympia, Madison Square Garden in New York, Belgium and Canada with great success, launching two albums – Brasil Export 73 e Festa Brasil [6] - both produced by Hermínio Bello, who would also produce the next two albums, Quatro paredes and Gotas d´água, the last with Milton Nascimento´s production.[7]

Success, shows, TV festivals[edit]

In the late 1970s, by 1977, she reached national recognition in Brazil, notably with Jura Secreta, Face a face and O que será. The last, composed by Chico Buarque, was featured in the soundtrack of the film Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands, by Bruno Barreto, which helped to popularize the music. It was an outstanding year when she also met Chico Buarque at the studio: "O que será opened doors for me and my career."

In the following year (from June 16 to September 15, 1978), her name stood by those artists of the Projeto Pixinguinha which aimed to travel around the country with renowned and also new talented singers. An excerpt of the Projeto comments on her growing success: In 1977, beyond launching 'Face a Face' and the Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands soundtrack, she was acclaimed in a spectacle at the 'Museu de Arte moderna'. At the 'Teatro Clara Nunes', directed by Hermínio Bello de Carvalho, she presented 'Face a Face'. She is improving her performance in each spectacle and is featured now among Brazil's best singers. She has just recorded 'Cigarra', singing Gonzaguinha's 'Petúnia Resedá' as well as songs by Fagner and Abel Silva ('Sangue e Pudins'), Milton Nascimento and Ronaldo Bastos ('Cigarra'). Her ultimate career ascension, however, was still not outlined. (Excerpt by Funarte.) Along with Belchior, young Simone brought crowds to João Caetano theater for her Seis e meia performance on August 25, 1977, and was highly acclaimed when singing Gota d´água; Seis e meia marked her first national recognition.[8]

Two years later, on December 12, 1979, her next CD Pedaços was launched at Canecão Rio de Janeiro) and became a new turning point for her, acclaimed by critics and drawing an audience of 120,000 people to this concert tour;[9] Pedaços gave her her first golden disc.[10]

The largest album seller of the 1980s[edit]

According to Revista Veja (Brazil's largest weekly news magazine), Simone Bittencourt de Oliveira was born twice. The first time, in 1949, in a lower class Salvador area, in Bahia. The second time was last February 7th at the 'Morumbi Stadium', in São Paulo, when she raised a vibrant chorus of 90,000 at the 'Canta Brasil' spectacle, singing 'Caminhando'. When her presentation ended, she was another shining star in the sky. Success was assured her career's first golden disc and an eponymous program for Rede Globo, recorded alive at the 'Globo Theater' (March, 1980). The program, Simone Bittencourt de Oliveira, was the first of a series called Grandes Nomes. Also in this glorious year of 1979, she was present at the Festival de Música Popular Brasileira, interpreting Para Lennon & McCartney (by Márcio and Lô Borges and Fernando Brant). In 1982, the same magazine would declare Simone to be the largest album seller of the decade,[11] on the cover, with an extensive seven pages of coverage.

From the 1960s, when the Festival de Música Popular Brasileira series was launched (Rede Record), until the 1980s, Brazilian television achieved its peak with the record audiences of those broadcast programs from live music festivals. Mulher 80 (Rede Globo) was one of these remarkable ones; the program exhibited a series of interviews and musicals aimed to discussing women's role in society with an approach to the national music evolution and the indisputable predominance of female voices: presenting Elis Regina, Maria Bethania, Fafá de Belém, Marina Lima, Simone, Rita Lee, Joanna, Zezé Motta, Gal Costa and the extra participation of Regina Duarte and Narjara Turetta, from the Malu Mulher TV series. In an interview given to O Pasquim journal (nº 572, from 13th to 19 June 1980), Elis Regina talks about her: Elis, from all of these new talents, is there anyone to look at with attention?: "I Like Simone very much. Potentially, there is a talent to bloom out. She is a beautiful woman, her repertoire is very good and she is very well guided by Flávio Rangel and Nelson Ayres."

At the age of 32, she became the first female singer to fill the Maracanãzinho Stadium. In February 1982, 15 to 20,000 people crowded Canta Brasil to see her perform music by Milton Nascimento, Ary Barroso, Chico Buarque, Tom Jobim, Fernando Brant, Vítor Martins, Paulo César Pinheiro, Hermínio Bello de Carvalho, Isolda, Sueli Costa and Abel Silva. In December 1983, she drew a crowd of 150 thousand people to Quinta da Boa Vista to see a live transmission of Rede Globo for a New Year's TV show.[12]

As her success grew, Simone became increasingly involved in political activities. She helped raise funds with Nordeste já,[13] a Brazilian version of the American charity efforts We are the world or USA for Africa. The 155 chorus of voices recorded a compact disc with two songs of hers, Chega de mágoa and Seca d'água.

In May 2006, in a pocket show at Bourbon Street Nightclub in São Paulo, Simone and her band presented a romantic repertoire and delighted the audience with unusual arrangements, within a jazzy tone, for the Credicard Project. Among her most recent presentations, the standouts include the ones in Peru, where she was praised by the audience who stood by the stage clapping for more than five minutes straight; and in Miami, along with Ivan Lins, where she was acclaimed by critics who considered the show one of the best ones in recent years. By June 2007, the Coliseum of Santos enthusiastically received an icon of MPB who had once been a humble resident. Amigo é Casa, sharing the stage with Zélia Duncan, was a show for the recording of an eponymous DVD and aimed to mark the partnership she evolved along with Zélia Duncan for the past two years.[14]

Repertoire[edit]

In the history of MPB the tradition of romanticism was overly intensified during the 1980s and the themes of romantic love, passion, were thoroughly explored by singers and composers. Simone, whose repertoire has been predominantly romantic since the beginning of her career, is one of them, and she is for this reason categorized as a romantic singer. Her repertoire includes some 350 interpretations, one of the largest and most diversified among Brazilian female singers. The themes of romantic love, passion (Começar de Novo, Jura Secreta, Corpo, Medo de Amar nº2, Raios de luz, Lenha), samba (O Amanhã, To Voltando, Disputa de Poder, Ex-amor), and religious songs (Cantos de Maculelê, Reis e rainhas do Maracatu, Então é Natal, Ave Maria, Jesus Cristo), are the most frequent on her work.

During her childhood and teenage years, the main influences on this romantic repertoire were Roberto Carlos, Maysa Matarazzo, of whom she is a great fan and who has a great influence on her work, Dolores Duran, Ângela Maria, Nora Ney -- the most relevant names of the samba-canção or fossa (gloom) genre. Often compared to bolero, for the featured exaltation and exploration of romantic love or the suffering of a non accomplished love affair was also called "elbow ache" (jealousy, heart ache). Samba-canção preceded the bossa nova music style, with which Maysa was associated. But this one, inheritor of the American jazz, presented more refined, gentle, soft melodies and interpretations, rather than the more bitter or melancholic ones. Maysa's legacy, although it points to a bossa nova bias, is that of a more dramatic singer and it would be more properly linked to the bolero and samba-canção rhythm.[15] Simone's manifested fondness for boleros results from this musical heritage.[16]

Among her albums recorded after the 1980s, a period regarded as a more popular one, those that stand out include Simone Bittencourt de Oliveira (1995), featuring ballads among other classic and consecrated samba composers; Café com leite (1996), a tribute to Martinho da Vila; Seda pura, an incursion into pop (2001) and Baiana da gema, a tribute to Ivan Lins (2004)--works regarded as a reunion of a more refined repertoire and more selective arrangements. Probably most renowned among these is Café com leite, in which she notably interprets Martinho da Vila's sambas. Singer and composer Caetano Veloso publicly offered his admiration for this album: Simone's album of Martinho da Vila's compositions, I find divine, divine and yet it went unheralded... The press acted as if it was nothing special. It is divine. His repertoire fits her very well—that album is the kind I like to listen to at home, alone, together with my favourites. She gave clarity to those compositions, it is beautiful. And it was a project conceived as the recording of a singer perfectly suited to interpret a composer, I don't know how it came to be, but it is beautiful, it is a wonderful result. And she is a great singer, very good, I adore her. A very beautiful voice which makes one feels good.[17]

As an interpreter of others' compositions, Simone has foregrounded Ivan Lins, Vitor Martins, Milton Nascimento, Fernando Brant, Paulo César Pinheiro, Gonzaguinha, Chico Buarque, Martinho da Vila, Fátima Guedes, João Bosco, Aldir Blanc, Isolda, Roberto Carlos, Hermínio Bello de Carvalho, Paulinho da Viola, Sueli Costa e Abel Silva. Her current repertoire includes Zélia Duncan, Cássia Eller, Adriana Calcanhotto, Aldir Blanc, Joyce, Martinho da Vila, Paulinho da Viola and Zeca Pagodinho.

Começar de novo[edit]

The song Começar de novo, from her Pedaços album (1979), stands out as her single most outstanding success, in part for it being also the theme song of the TV series Malu Mulher (Rede Globo, 1979), a primetime soap opera that involved controversial issues at that time such as women's liberation, divorce, abortion and domestic violence. The character Malu (played by Regina Duarte) was the first to take birth-control pills on a TV drama. Simone was chosen to interpret it instead of Maria Bethânia, who also sought that distinction.[citation needed] The composition, that was written especially for the series, by Ivan Lins and Vítor Martins, became a great success at the time and a landmark in the history of MPB.[18]

Começar de Novo was also recorded by Barbra Streisand and Sarah Vaughan.[19] with English lyrics entitled "The Island". The North American producer Quincy Jones stands as one of her greatest admirers of this interpretation; admiration which he extends to her talent, citing Simone as "one of the world's greatest singers".[20] Alongside Jones, stands Brad Mehldau, who compares her to Sarah Vaughan and Dinah Washington, referring to her strong identity, passion and grace".[21] Julio Iglesias [22] also refers to Simone as one of his favourites among Brazilian female singers.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Travessia: A vida de Milton Nascimento. Maria Dolores. 2006. Rcb Publisher.
  • 1985, O ano em que o Brasil recomeçou. Edmundo Barreiros e Pedro Só. 2006. Ediouro Publisher.
  • História sexual da MPB. Rodrigo Faour. 2006. Rcb publisher.
  • Nada será como antes, a MPB nos anos 70. Ana Maria Bahiana. 2006. Senac Publisher.
  • Timoneiro - Perfil Biográfico de Hermínio Bello de Carvalho. Alexandre Pavan. 2006. Casa da Palavra Publisher.
  • Toquinho: 40 anos de música. João Carlos Pecci. 2005. RCS Publisher .
  • Viver de Teatro - Uma biografia de Flávio Rangel. José Rubens Siqueira. Nova Alexandria Publisher.

Discography[edit]

EMI[edit]

  • 1973 - Simone
  • 1973 - Brasil Export
  • 1973 - Expo Som 73 - ao vivo
  • 1974 - Festa Brasil
  • 1974 - Quatro Paredes
  • 1975 - Gotas D'Água
  • 1977 - Face a Face
  • 1978 - Cigarra
  • 1979 - Pedaços
  • 1980 - Simone Ao Vivo no Canecão
  • 1980 - Simone (Atrevida)

Sony BMG / CBS[edit]

  • 1981 - Amar
  • 1982 - Corpo e Alma
  • 1983 - Delírios e Delícias
  • 1984 - Desejos
  • 1985 - Cristal
  • 1986 - Amor e Paixão
  • 1987 - Vício
  • 1988 - Sedução
  • 1989 - Simone (Tudo por Amor)
  • 1991 - Raio de Luz
  • 1991 - Simone - Procuro Olvidarte (Espanhol) (featuring Hernaldo Zúñiga)
  • 1993 - Sou Eu
  • 1993 - La Distancia (Espanhol)
  • 1995 - Simone Simone
  • 1995 - Dos Enamoradas (Espanhol)

Universal / Polygram[edit]

  • 1995 - 25 de Dezembro
  • 1996 - Café com Leite
  • 1996 - 25 de diciembre (Spanish)
  • 1997 - Brasil, O Show - Live
  • 1998 - Loca (Espanhol)
  • 2000 - Fica Comigo Esta Noite
  • 2001 - Seda Pura
  • 2002 - Feminino - Live

EMI[edit]

  • 2004 - Baiana da Gema
  • 2005 - Simone ao Vivo

Biscoito Fino[edit]

  • Amigo é Casa (CD)
  • Amigo é Casa (DVD)

EMI[edit]

  • O canto da Cigarra nos anos 70 (CD)

Brazilian soap opera theme songs[edit]

  • Um desejo só não basta (Corpo a Corpo) - Sony
  • Pensamentos (Explode Coração) - Universal
  • Íntimo (Uma Esperança no Ar) - Sony
  • Naquela noite com Yoko (Brilhante) - Sony
  • Quem é Você (A Próxima Vítima) - Sony
  • É festa (Senhora do Destino) - Universal
  • Sentimental demais (Laços de Família) - Universal
  • Será (Perigosas Peruas) - Sony
  • Desafio (Mulheres de Areia) - Sony
  • Apaixonada(Pantanal) - Sony
  • Então Me Diz (Belíssima) - EMI
  • Raios de Luz (De Corpo e Alma) - Sony
  • Muito Estranho (Desejos de Mulher) - Universal
  • Veneziana (A Lua me Disse) - EMI
  • Seu Corpo (Sassaricando) - Sony
  • Loca-Crazy (Torre de Babel) - Universal
  • Tô Que Tô (Sol de Verão) - Sony
  • Anjo de Mim (Anjo de Mim) - Sony
  • Em Flor (Roda de Fogo) - Sony
  • Amor explícito (Corpo Santo) - Sony
  • Carta Marcada (Araponga) - Sony
  • Beija, Me Beija, Me Beija (O Amor Está no Ar) - Universal
  • Uma Nova Mulher (Tieta) - Sony
  • Sob Medida (Os Gigantes) - EMI
  • Saindo de Mim (Chega Mais) - EMI
  • Medo de Amar nº 2 (Sinal de Alerta) - EMI
  • Povo da Raça Brasil (Terras do Sem Fim) - EMI
  • Mulher da Vida (Champagne) - Sony
  • O Tempo Não Pára (O Salvador da Pátria) - Sony
  • Começar de Novo (Malu Mulher) - EMI
  • A Outra (Roque Santeiro) - Sony
  • Desesperar jamais (Água Viva) - EMI
  • Face a Face (O Pulo do Gato) - EMI
  • Valsa do Desejo (Força de um Desejo) - Universal
  • Mundo Delirante (Elas por Elas) - Sony
  • Vento nordeste (Pé de Vento) - EMI
  • Existe um céu (Paraíso Tropical) - EMI
  • Jura secreta (O Profeta e Memórias de Amor) - EMI
  • Cigarra (Cara a Cara) - EMI'
  • Ela disse-me assim (Os Imigrantes - Terceira Geração) - EMI
  • Então vale a pena (Salário mínimo) - EMI
  • O que será (Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands) - EMI
  • Enrosco (Paixões Proibidas) - EMI

References[edit]

External links[edit]