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Marlene portrait Brazilian torch singer Marlene (who took her stage name in homage of Europe's Marlene Dietrich) started her career in the 1930s at the tender age of 13(!) and became one of the national stars of radio and stage... She maintained her popularity, and had a professional resurgence in the 1970s, after the bossa nova wave had struck and receded... Here's a quick look at her work...

Discography - Best-Ofs

Marlene "Marlene, Meu Bem" (Revivendo)
Early stuff by this jazz-oriented artist. At first blush, here she may seem merely like a samba-singing Carmen Miranda wannabee and, to be sure, she was definitely molded in Carmen's likeness, even covering many of Miranda's old hits from the 1930s. But there's an extra, undefinable little bounce to Marlene's vocals -- in retrospect, a precursor to her later jazzy-cabaret vocals. She also seems to have covered a fair number of nordeste material, baiaos and rancheira numbers, including some of Luiz Gonzaga's earliest composititions. Kind of an interesting choice for a Paulista of Italian descent... but hey, whatever works!! This disc covers her early work from 1946-59, even dipping lightly into the early Tom Jobim songbook... It's a great CD, one of the most accessible and readily enjoyable in the Reviendo catalog!

Marlene "Serie Bis - Cantores Do Radio" (EMI-Brasil, 2000)
Nice stuff! These are later recordings from one of the radio era's most notable singers. Mainly drawn from albums she did on Odeon between 1958-'60, these songs have a bright, almost girl-grouplike feel to them, which compliments Marlene's girlish voice. Marlene's real heyday was in the late '40s and early '50s, when she starred as a cabaret singer and national radio personality; she still retained a powerful artistic presence well into the modern MPB era. Also included on here are a handful of songs taken from her 1974 live album, Te Pego Pela Palavra -- though the arrangements are sometimes fluffy, her performances are pretty remarkable, especially considering that she'd just turned fifty when these songs were recorded. It also shows the breadth of her interests -- not only did Marlene cover material by modern composers such as Joao Bosco, Milton Nascimento and Gonzaguinha, she actually seemed to have a better sense of how to bridge the gap between their modernistic jazz aspirations and the rough and tumble world of cabaret singing than many of their contemporaries. She certainly compares favorably to the upstart Elis Regina, who was a more daring but less solid performer. Definitely worth checking out, especially for folks who are into the jazz-torchsong side of Brazilian pop.

Discography - Albums

Marlene "...Apresenta Sucessos De Assis Valente" (Sinter, 1956)

Marlene "Explosiva" (Odeon, 1959)

Marlene "Caixinha De Saudade" (Odeon, 1960)

Marlene "Sassarue" (Continental, 1963)

Marlene/Blackout/Nuno Roland "Carnivalia: Eneida Conta A Historia Do Carnaval, v.1" (Museu Da Imagem E Do Som, 1968)

Marlene/Blackout/Nuno Roland "Carnivalia: Eneida Conta A Historia Do Carnaval, v.2" (Museu Da Imagem E Do Som, 1968)

Marlene "E A Maior!" (Fermata, 1970)

Marlene/Gianfrancesco Guarnieri/Toquinho "O Botequim" (RGE, 1973) (LP)
A sweet bossa nova-flavored album, modeled after the La Fusa concerts of poet Vinicius De Moraes and guitarist Toquinho. Marlene plays the "girl" singer part, and there's typically elegant guitar work by Toquinho, while actor Gianfrancesco Guarnieri takes on the role normally filled by Vinicius. Marlene's vocals are sweet though perhaps not stellar. Overall, another lovely record, definitely worth tracking down.

Marlene "Te Pego Pela Palavra" (Odeon, 1974)

Marlene "Antologia Da Marchinha" (Phonogram, 1977) (LP)

Marlene "Estrela Da Vida" (Leblon, 1998)


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