The guitarist Rosinha de Valença. Photo: Playback / Youtube

Well friends, today we come to the 30th album featured in Quintessence. On the eve of International Women's Day, the mea culpa of this humble scribe fits here: only now did I realize that this space has become a sort of "Clube do Bolinha da Música Brasileira", because until now no album featured here had been dedicated to female composers, instrumentalists or performers.

Don't think you, reading friends, however, that this poor columnist has been afflicted by notorious misogyny. On the contrary. Distinction between genres, with the exception of cataloging the unfolding of musical aspects, is something that does not exist in my disco, in my research, nor in my thinking.

Let's go, then, to the possible alibis of this male chauvinist elusively confessed: in the period covered in this column – between 1960 and 1980 – it is clear that male production in our popular music, a historical symptom, is volumetric and predominant.

Except for the great singers of the 1950s and 60s – Elizeth, Dalva, Claudette, Doris, Alaíde, Flora, Wanda, Leny, Nara, among others – authorial works signed by women, unfortunately, only started to be more valued in Brazil, the from the 1970s – a decade marked by the affirmation of super-interpreters such as Gal Costa and Maria Bethânia.

Yet another contemporary, in the middle of the second decade of the 21st century, the albums dissected here depend on the prerequisite of having virtual files available online, and they are scarce, so that our readers can listen to the entirety and, thus, understand, in fact, what are we talking about. You yourself will be able to verify, in a quick search on the internet, associating female names of Brazilian artists with the item “full album”, or “full album”, the results, unfortunately, are meager.

Cover of the LP released in 1964 by Elenco. Photo: reproduction

Faced with this limitation, let's go to the topic of today's column: the masterful guitar of a girl born, on July 30, 1941, in the countryside of Rio de Janeiro, in the same city of Valença that gave us Clementina de Jesus, that unique talent, which by the baptismal name Maria Rosa Canellas.

In addition to her brother Roberto, a regional musician active in Valença, Maria Rosa was also the niece of the guitarist Fio da Mulata, one of the most sought after musicians in the Época de Ouro do Rádio, who performed alongside Araci de Almeida, Ademilde Fonseca and Lúcio Alves, among others.

Fio also directed freshman programs on Rádio Clube. Under the influence of Roberto and her uncle, her first teacher, Rosinha began studying guitar in childhood.

At the age of 12, he was already impressing the local public, performing at dances and participating in regionals. In 1960, at 19, she abandoned her studies for good, concluding that the path to music was irreversible. Three years later, in early 1963, overcoming her enormous shyness, Rosinha moved to the state capital in search of greater projection for her artistic career.

In Cidade Maravilhosa, he was lucky enough to cross the path of chronicler Sergio Porto – the late and brilliant Stanislaw Ponte Preta. And it was he who took the prodigious girl to introduce her to Aloysio de Oliveira, the boss of Elenco, and to another six-string ace, Baden Powell – who had also stunned the Carioca public, upon arriving from the quiet Varre-Sai. with a guitar the size of the world.

Immersing myself in the bohemian and masculine universe of Beco das Garrafas, Rosinha started an eight-month season of shows, which was hugely successful and consolidated her name on the instrumental circuit, at the legendary Bottles. She was also given carte blanche by Aloyiso to produce, for Elenco, her debut album. Launched in 1964, Introducing Rosinha de Valença is one of the classics of the carioca label.

The beautiful cover was produced with the excellence of the duo Cesar Villela (graphic art) and Francisco Pereira (photo). In the midst of an exuberant uncredited art, but apparently by the illustrator Fortuna, the back cover has text by Sergio Porto, in which the chronicler explains the reason for the artistic name given by him to the guitarist:

“I cannot praise Rosinha. I am the girl's godfather. When she arrived in Rio from Valença, I was the one who took her, for the first time, to perform in public. The success was huge. That day I chose her name, 'Rosinha de Valença', because I thought she plays for an entire city”.

LP back cover. Photo: reproduction

To accompany the girl, on the eve of snatching cities around the world, Aloysio – as usual, producer of the thin biscuit – summoned a top-notch team: drummer Dom Um Romão, bassist Sergio Barroso, flutist Jorginho and guitarist and pianist Oscar Castro Neves, kindly provided by the record label RGE.

Theme author to London, in which he does vocal scats with Rosinha, Castro Neves is also the LP's arranger. The repertoire includes classics from the nascent bossa nova, such as Ela and Carioca, by Tom and Vinicius and my longing, by Donato and João Gilberto, from bossa paulista, the Straw Doll Theme, by Vera Brasil and Sivan Castelo Neto, and an afro-samba that was born classic, Consolation, by Baden and Vinicius. complete the LP sadness in me, by Mauro Tavares and José Guimarães, square 11, by Herivelto Martins and Grande Otelo, I threw the stick at the cat, the children's theme, in the public domain, and With what clothes, the classic by Noel Rosa, interpreted in the small and shy voice of Rosinha (by the way, the girl's shyness with rustic mannerisms, according to legend, inspired Jorge Ben to compose the delicious bush bug, one of the highlights of Ben is Samba Good, Babulina's third album).

Still in 1964, Rosinha integrated in the Paramount, the legendary theater of Walter “Pica-Pau” Silva, the show The Fino da Bossa, megasuccess of TV Record, presented by Elis Regina and Jair Rodrigues. The guitarist also collaborated with artists such as Nara Leão, the Bahian women of the Quarteto em Cy and Eliana Pittman.

But the borders were literally invisible to Rosinha from 1965 onwards. At that time she went on tour to the United States as part of the Brasil 65' of the pianist from Niteroi, Sergio Mendes, alongside Jorge Ben, Chico Batera, the bassist of Bossa Três, Tião Neto, and the singer Wanda Sá.

At the beginning of the American tour, Jorge would leave the group, after suffering prejudice in a barbershop in Los Angeles when he was ignored by the pair of professionals at the salon, who idly read the daily newspaper when he arrived at the establishment. Opening quotes, the regrettable episode is narrated by Ruy Castro in Chega de saudade and reproduced below.

“Jorge sat nonchalantly in one of the empty chairs, said 'beard and hair' and waited. He only touched himself when one of the barbers told him, using just one corner of his mouth 'we're busy'. Ben left there and went straight to Varig to buy the return ticket.”

Rosinha's American incursion also resulted in participation in another beautiful album, Bud Shank & His Brazilian Friends, LP by the American saxophonist and flutist, which features the participation of master João Donato, released by the Pacific Jazz label.

Even without the presence of Jorge Ben, driven by the re-reading of two songs of his own, More than nothing e it rains rain, Sergio and his troupe would conquer the USA. Under the codename Brasil 65', the group released two albums, both with Rosinha's guitar reigning sovereign and singer Wanda Sá as an interpreter: Brasil'65 Wanda de Sah featuring Sergio Mendes Trio e In Person at El Matador!: Sergio Mendes & Brasil'65.

Back in Brazil, in 1967, Rosinha joined Maria Bethânia's group in the show With me I get lost. The following year, at the invitation of Itamaraty, the guitarist toured countries in Europe and Africa and had the opportunity to play with stars such as Stan Getz, Sarah Vaughan and Henri Mancini.

In the 1970s, Rosinha would become the faithful squire of sambista Martinho da Vila. In 1980, ending a discography of 11 great titles, she was paired with another giant of the Brazilian guitar, maestro Waltel Branco. The historic meeting was recorded on the Som Livre LP Guitars in Two Styles: Rosinha de Valença and Waltel Branco.

But, of these great injustices of life, the triumphal trajectory of the greatest guitarist in the country came to an end slowly and tragically. In 1992, after suffering a cardiac arrest, Rosinha had cerebral palsy that put her in a vegetative state for 12 years.

In 1994, led by Maria Bethânia, with the aim of raising funds for Rosinha's treatment expenses, a series of artists paid tribute to her, at Canecão.

The girl who played for an entire city and enchanted the world left exactly 10 years ago, on June 10, 2004. Full stop for a great woman and an ambassador of the unspeakable beauties of our popular music around the world.

That same year, Biscoito Fino released, on CD, the tribute dating rose. The compilation brings together, among others, artists such as Bethânia, Miúcha, Caetano, Chico, Hermeto and Alcione.

Happy listening and until the next Quintessence!

*Originally published on the website of Brasileiros magazine on 6.3.2014, by Marcelo Pinheiro


Watch Rosinha de Valença, Chico Batera, Rubens Bassini (tambourine), Sergio Barroso (double bass) and JT Meirelles (transverse flute) perform an instrumental version of 'Consolação' (Baden Powell / Vinicius de Moraes) on the program 'Folklore Der Welt – Bossa Nova do Brasil'. in Germany in 1966.

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