By Katia Moraes | English edition: Deborah Edler Brown
In 1989, Brazilian actress Marilia Pêra (Central Station, Pixote) performed in a musical entitled Elas Por Ela, by Miguel Falabella. I was in São Paulo, performing at Espaço Off with Mário Costa and saw Marília play the greatest Brazilian female voices of all times, interweaving music and history. When Marília passed way in December 2015, I thought about the power of Brazilian women.
The proof is in Anna Muylaert’s movie, The Second Mother, which tells the story of a Northeastern woman who moves to São Paulo to provide a better life for her daughter; and in The Hour of the Star by Suzana Amaral, based on a novel by Clarice Lispector.
This film depicts a naïve young woman from the Northeast (again), who dreams of being a movie star in Rio de Janeiro. Marília, Ana, Suzana, and Clarice are just a few of the multitude of warrior female artists who portray the social conditions of Brazilian women. It is so important for women to be out there, living our dreams and inspiring others through our actions.
So let me introduce you to some of the resilient Brazilian female artists who live in Los Angeles and are doing just that.
The singer/songwriter moved from São Paulo to Chicago as a child. She began music lessons at 6 and, at 19, started performing with local bands and recording jingles. Since moving to L.A, she has toured with Billy Idol, Sergio Mendes, and Gary Sinise. In her 4th album Blue, coming out this year, Carla draws from her childhood memories and the sounds of Brazil.
She started singing and playing the guitar as a child in Rio Grande do Sul, where she was born. Ana began her professional career in Porto Alegre with the blessings of her godfather, the famous bolero singer Lucho Gatica. After moving to Rio in 1983, she toured nationally with pianist Luis Carlos Vinhas. The soft voiced Gazzola released three albums with Sonia Santos before releasing an homage CD to The Bee Gees. This 2016 she will be releasing URB ANA, an album of her latest compositions.
- Ana Barreiro
She is originally from Minas Gerais and attended Berklee College of Music on a Latin American scholarship. She recently moved to Los Angeles, where she earned a Masters Degree in Jazz Studies at USC.
Also from Rio Grande do Sul, Caro released her debut album in 2011 with Marbela Band. In 2013 she released Volta ao Mundo. The album, a mix of Bossa Nova and Contemporary World Pop made it to the American Grammy’s ballot and became a favorite at KCRW. Her voice has been compared to Bebel Gilberto and Sade.
- Mariana Goulart
She was born in São Paulo and studied Theatre Arts at UNICAMP. She has acted under several acclaimed directors and participated in various national theatrical tours. In 2010 Marianna relocated to Los Angeles to attend Entertainment Studies and Acting programs at UCLA. Since then, she has worked in commercial ads, feature films and short movies. In 2013 she starred in her first feature, depicting Rio’s Bossa Nova era.
- Deborah Edler Brown
A poet, fiction writer, journalist, author, and teacher, with two poetry chapbooks, several writing awards, a non-fiction book, and a variety of journals and anthologies to her name. She was born in Rio de Janeiro and raised in Pittsburgh. Her mother, Ana Edler Brown, was part of the group of actors who created the first theater school in Bahia in the 1950’s.
(AKA) Aninha Malandro was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro. She grew up in the cradle of Samba – Estação Primeira de Mangueira, where her father was a very well-respected musician and her mother one of the first “passistas. She is the founder and choreographer of the groups SambaNMotion and Malandro N’ Motion.
Ana has also taught samba in the U.S for 23 years, integrating her background in psychology and her own life experiences into a unique teaching method.
- Kana Shimanuki
This petit singer/songwriter was born in Canada to a Brazilian mother and Japanese father. After years of piano recitals, musical theater, and choral concerts, she moved her focus to jazz, and graduated from USC in 2011. Kana is currently signed with an independent label and has released her first album in Europe.
She was born in São Paulo and has a B.A. in Brazilian Popular Music. Together with Otmaro Ruiz, Catina was nominated for “Best Latin Jazz Album” in the 58th Grammy Awards. She also recorded two independent CDs: Na Era do Ouro and Brazilian Accent. Since moving to L.A, she has taught in several renowned schools, as well as privately. She is the co-leader of the Group “Lado B”. In this same issue of Soul Brasil, there is an article about Catina and the story behind her Grammy nomination together with his husband.
- Mariana Leite
Actress, she founded the IVO 60 Theater Company, where she worked for over 10 years, presenting popular comedies throughout Brazil. As an art educator, she trained young apprentices on the outskirts of São Paulo. She currently resides in Los Angeles where she founded the storytelling group “As Marianas”. She also does voice over projects and stage plays.
Also from Rio, there she started her career in the 1970s, recorded her first three albums, and was featured in soap opera theme songs for TV Globo. In the late 80s, Sonia embarked on an international tour and ended up moving to Los Angeles. Here, she released two solo albums: “Sorte and Bossa”, “Ballads and Boleros”.
She also recorded three albums and a DVD with Ana Gazzola. Watching Sonia sing live at Jazz Club La Ve Lee in Studio City in the 1990s was unforgettable. Her new solo CD, entitled “Criola”, comes out in 2016.