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Noel Rosa

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Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (1910 – 1937)

Noel de Medeiros Rosa (December 11, 1910 — May 4, 1937) was a Brazilian songwriter, singer, and guitar/banjo player. One of the greatest names in Brazilian popular music, Noel gave a new twist to , combining its Afro-Brazilian roots with a more urban, witty language and making it a vehicle for ironic social commentary.

Noel Rosa was born in Rio de Janeiro into a middle-class family of the Vila Isabel neighbourhood. An accident with a forceps at his birth caused the disfigured chin that would haunt him all his short life. He learned to play the bandolim while still a teenager, and soon moved on to the guitar. Although Noel started medicine studies, he gave most of his attention to music and would spend whole nights in bars drinking and playing with other samba musicians. Together with Braguinha and Almirante he formed the musical group “Bando de Tangarás”. Soon he started composing sambas, and had his breakthrough with “Com que roupa?”, one of the biggest hits of 1931 and the first in a string of memorable compositions.

In the early 1930s Noel Rosa started to show signs of a tuberculosis. He would occasionally leave for treatment on mountain resorts, but always ended up coming back to Rio and the nightlife. In 1934 he married Lindaura Martins, a seventeen-year old neighbour, but that didn’t keep him from having affairs with other women.

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