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Dona Ivone Lara (1921-2018) (also spelled Yvone Lara) is one of the great modern samba songwriters, and a glorious, soulful performer as well. Since the 1970s, she has contributed many great samba cancao hits to Clara Nunes and other samba singers in the 1970s, as well as to Maria Bethania in the early '80s. As a vocalist she was not as compellingly magical as Clara Nunes, as stark as Clementina de Jesus, nor as warbly as Virginia Rodrigues, but somewhere in that general orbit. Her records are as humble and heartfelt as they are powerful and pure... Here's a quick look at her work...


Ivone Lara "Samba Minha Verdade, Samba Minha Raiz" (EMI-Odeon, 1978)

Ivone Lara "Sorriso De Crianca" (EMI, 1979)
A superior collection of Lara's gorgeous samba cancao performances. God, what a voice. And what a writer. Included is her version of her glorious composition, "Sonho Meu" (covered as a duet by Gal Costa and Maria Bethania), which unfortunately melts into one of those '70s-samba medley... But really, with material like this... who can complain? I think this originally came out as an album in the late '70s, but (as with so many Brazilian releases) the liner notes are pretty sketchy. HIGHLY recommended.

Ivone Lara "Sorriso Negro" (WEA-Atlantic, 1981)

Ivone Lara "Alegria Minha Gente (Serra Dos Meus Sonhos Dourados)" (WEA, 1982)

Ivone Lara "Ivone Lara" (Som Livre, 1985)

Ivone Lara "Bodas Da Ouro" (Columbia, 1998)
(Produced by Rildo Hora)

An all-star cast of guest artists join Dona Ivone on this pleasant, understated set... This includes the creme-de-la-creme of MPB and contemporary samba, from Gilberto Gil, Djavan and Danilo Caymmi to Beth Carvalho, Martinho Da Vila, Almir Guineto and Zeca Pagodinho, as well as members of Ara Ketu, Negritude, Jr. and other younger acts... Caetano Veloso doesn't perform on the album, but he did co-write one song with Lara, "Forca Da Imaginacao," sung here as a duet with Carvalho. This album might not totally knock your socks off, but it is quite nice. Worth checking out!

Ivone Lara "Nasci Pra Sonhar" (Lusafrica, 2001)
Solid acoustic sambas, with a lovely old-school style. Decades into her career, Dona Ivone still proves a powerful, soulful performer, and the arrangements throughout are effective and pleasantly restrained. It's fitting that Cesaria Evora's label should put this album out, as in her later years, Lara has taken on a similar gravitas... Perhaps not as bouyant as her classic '70s recordings, but still very, very nice.

Ivone Lara "Sempre A Cantar" (Universal-MZA, 2004)

Ivone Lara & Bruno Castro "Nas Escritas Da Vida" (Microservice Brasil)


Yvonne Lara "Mestres Da MPB" (Warner, 1995)
Gorgeous samba cancao, with deliciously layered production, though also very simple and straightforward. Unfortunately, the CD liner notes don't indicate when, exactly, these tracks were recorded, although Maria Bethania appears on one of the songs collected here. This disc is one of the real finds in this particular series -- one to keep an eye out for.

Ivone Lara "Serie Raizes Do Samba" (EMI, 1999)
This is an excellent collection of her EMI material, drawing heavily from the albums reviewed below. Great stuff -- highly recommended!

Ivone Lara "Warner 30 Anos" (Warner, 2008)

Yvone Lara "Nova Serie" (Warner, 2008)


Leandro Braga "Primeira Dama: A Musica De Dona Ivone Lara" (Rob Discos, 2003)


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