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Clementina De Jesus


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The low voice of the partido-alto singer Clementina de Jesus was only discovered outside her community when she was 62. Immediately acknowledged both nationally and internationally as a highly expressive singer, she still had time to participate in historic events like the Rosa de Ouro, Zicartola (at the Teatro Opinião), Noitada de Samba, and others. She has recorded and performed with artists of stature such as Nelson Cavaquinho, Turíbio Santos, Pixinguinha, João da Baiana, and many others. As a child, Clementina de Jesus listened to folkloric and religious music (jongo, partido-alto, ladainhas, etc. ) sung by her mother. She remained an amateur for decades, participating in Carnaval blocos, and singing in church choirs and rodas de samba (samba get-togethers). After 20 years working as a maid, her career was launched in December 1964 by the classical guitarist Turíbio Santos at Kleber Santos’ Teatro Jovem (Rio de Janeiro) in the show O Menestrel. A few months later, in 1965 when she was 63, Clementina de Jesus had her definitive public consecration after being featured in Hermínio Bello de Carvalho’s musical Rosa de Ouro at the same theater. Performances, which also featured Araci Cortes, Paulinho da Viola, and Elton Medeiros, followed in Bahia and São Paulo. De Carvalho’s first album was this live show, released in the same year as Rosa de Ouro, Vol. 1, followed by a second volume released two years later. On this album, Clementina de Jesus presented the virtually unknown genre of jongo with songs like “Benguelê” (Pixinguinha/Gastão Vianna) and “Boi Não Berra.” She also performed sambas like “Sementes do Samba” (Hélio Cabral) and “Nasceste de Uma Semente” (José Ramos), and the lundu “Bate Canela.


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