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Rosa Passos

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Rosa Passos is a contemporary singer in Brazil who is dedicated to a genuine evolution of Brazilian music, devoid of fashionable trends or commercialism. She has established herself firmly in the country’s artistic scenery, acknowledged by such artists as João Gilberto, Maria Schneider, Clare Fisher, Paquito D’Rivera, Johnny Alf, Nana Caymmi (who recorded two of her compositions), and even the number one enemy of bossa nova, the music researcher J.R. Tinhorão.

Passos’s father was very fond of music and he started all his six children on an instrument. Passos’s perfect pitch capabilities led her to begin playing the piano at the age of 3.

When she was 11, she heard João Gilberto’s Orfeu do Carnaval, which changed her life. Passos abandoned the study of piano and decided to be a singer. She began listening to Gilberto compulsively, and learned the violão from listening to Gilberto’s records. Her other vocal influences were Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Etta James, Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, Shirley Horn (who has declared herself to be a fan), Cole Porter, and George Gershwin. However, Rosa’s main influences remain João Gilberto and Dorival Caymmi.

In 1968 Passos performed on Salvador-based TV show, Poder Joven. In 1969 she began to participate in music festivals. In 1972, she entered her song “Mutilados” in the Globo Network’s Festival Universitário, under a pseudonym and won the first place.

Because she couldn’t find any interest in the media for her delicate, swinging, truthful style, she continued to play and compose at home, attending college in the meantime.

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