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Elis Regina

Elis Regina was one of the most ferociously talented singers to emerge from Brazil. A perfectionist who was frequently dissatisfied, Regina drove herself and members of her band relentlessly, leading to her being dubbed "Hurricane" and "Little Pepper" by musicians and journalists. Her tempestuous nature aside, she commanded the respect of Brazil's leading songwriters, who lined up for the chance to have her record one of their songs, and for much of her short life was the country's most popular female vocalist.

Born Elis Regina Carvalho Costa in Porto Alegre in 1945 to a working-class family, Regina began singing professionally at age 12 on a children's television show called Clube de Guri. For the next two years she was a regular performer on the program and became a local celebrity. It was during this period that she signed her first recording contract at the age of 13. At 15 she relocated to Rio de Janeiro, where she recorded the first of three records, returning to Porto Alegre between each. Her initial recordings sold well and she was soon a teenage star, as well as the family's principal breadwinner. In 1963, at the age of 18, Regina and her father, in a move designed to further her career, relocated to Rio. Unfortunately, it was around this time that a military junta took over control of the country.

Not long after her move to Rio, Regina became a fixture on Brazilian variety shows. Although the cool, supple, jazzy bossa nova sound was in vogue at the time, Regina preferred more raucous rhythms and full-throated singing. Adding to this was her dynamic, unsophisticated stage presence (which belied a career-long battle against near-paralytic stage fright) that, in American terms, might be best understood if one thinks of the tornado-like force that Janis Joplin could unleash. In 1965, Regina sang the controversial (and nearly censored) song "Arrastao" at Rio's first big popular music festival. In a performance that may well have been the defining moment of her career, she posed in Christ-like crucifixion, tears streaming down her face at the song's conclusion. From that moment on, her popularity rocketed; she went from being one of many successful Brazilian singers to the most popular and highest-paid singer in the country -- at the age of 21.

Although not as overtly political as other singer/songwriters of her generation (e.g., Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil), Regina was not shy about criticizing Brazil's military rule. While touring Europe in 1969 she told a journalist that her country was "being run by guerrillas." Normally this sentiment would lead to either jail or exile (or both in the case of Gil and Veloso), but Regina's enormous popularity protected her somewhat from any public government retaliation. However, the military junta used more insidious strong-arm tactics, such as forcing her to sing the Brazilian national anthem at a ceremony to celebrate the anniversary of the country's "independence." She was roundly attacked by leftist performers for such a public display of pro-government sentiment, and it was years later that her husband revealed that she was threatened with jail if she did not comply with the government's wishes. As the mother of a young child at the time, Regina could not afford to become a martyr.

Regina's career showed no signs of slowing as the 1970s came to a close; some of her best records were recorded during this time, and one album simply called Elis & Tom (recorded in Los Angeles with Antonio Carlos Jobim) has been called by many journalists and musicians one of the greatest Brazilian pop records ever made. However, while her career was in full swing, her personal life was in disarray -- two marriages ended in divorce, and she was raising three children as well as providing for her parents. In the late '70s, after the end of her second marriage, she began using cocaine regularly, but managed to keep her increasing dependence on the drug well hidden from her friends and family. Regina began 1982 by marrying for a third time, signing a new recording contract, and in general, planning for the future. All of this came to a halt on January 19, 1982, when she was found dead of alcohol and cocaine intoxication at age 36. Initially, her death was rumored to be a suicide, but there is no evidence indicating that it was anything more than a tragic accident.

A few days after her death, a memorial concert was held in São Paulo featuring many of Brazil's most famous singers. Over 100,000 grieving Brazilians came to pay their final respects to this gifted, mercurial singer who remains as popular after death as she was in life. ~ John Dougan, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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Elis Regina was a very exceptional singer that represented Brazil in a big way and no female singer can top her these days.
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castillo_san d o v a l
PLEASE get a clue. She said Brazil was being run by gorillas, not "guerrillas" . Gorilla is the derisive term for military dictators. Otherwise the statement makes no sense.
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XOXOXOXO
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Ep patta ep hahaha
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Captivating. Elis Regina is one-of-kind. Sensational singer.
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MS REGINA HAD FLOW !! OBRIGADO X
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Are there any bad women vocalist in Brazil. I do not think so.
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Kiss your left hand
Say your crushes name
Close your hand
Choose a weekday
Post this on 15 other stations and on that weekday your crush will ask you out
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Espectacular !
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Great lasting wow
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E la luz la maniana
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mlmendez7
Wonderful!
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Beautiful voice!
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Come e bella!
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Elis and her music so Beautiful. So tragic. She is...the greatest.Wil l always love her and her gift.
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Pure music!!!!
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Ela era tremenda cantante!... B r a s i l ! !
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Another rendition of this classic !!! Obrigado !! X
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Que Tremende!
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sacredfun6
The bio should stress the musical genius and joy first, and leave the temperamenta l and moody comments as a footnote... yes, beautiful and sad.
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Eu tè amo "com ease que eu vou"
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dmellol
Elis will always be loved by the brazilians. Incredible artist with remarkable talent.
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curitiba4lif e 5 0
Wow, sounds like Whitney Houston. People need the Lord.
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valencia44
Dejaste abandonada la ilucion que habia en mi corazon por ti !...que bella cancion!
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gridvu
great emotional singer, but very sad ending
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Nice love song
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oui j; adore.....
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Check out this video of a recording session with Jobim singing Aguas de Marco.

She is an incredible talent.

http://www.t h e a t l a n t i c . c o m / e n t e r t a i n m e n t / a r c h i v e / 2 0 1 2 / 0 9 / a l l - j o b i m - a l l - t h e - t i m e / 2 6 2 9 9 1 /
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The Brazilian Edith Piaf, according to Leila Mandel...I second that fact.
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My father's land- thanks daddy
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525433228
I know something Portuguese that's from Heaven. My love angel. Straight from Heaven.
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525433228
E com esse que eu vou is a good song.
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atringale4
A cool and hip voice from heaven.
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laceyjwatson
I'm falling so very in love with Elis Regina...wha t a wonderful sound. Huge Talent. Love it.
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Elis, the greatest yesterday,to d a y and forever. Need to say anythingelse ?
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Juan Francisco Santiago Gonzalez de Puerto Rico:Hay muchas mujeres cantantes que han cautivado mi vida:Sarah Vaughan,Carm e n McRae,Ella Fitzgerald,L u c e c i t a Benitez,Patt y Austin,Lunna , p e r o Elis Regina & Gal Costa me conquistaron el corazon.Amo el Bossa Nova & el Jazz,Elis Regina sera inrreemplasa b l e , s u voz,registro s , t e s i t u r a .
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A beautiful human being, her tears are audible on the record she did with Jobim. Such a big heart --- not a wonder that it burst before she reached her prime.
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This bio should call: distorted view of a gringo of a brazilian star
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Una tragedia humana con una voz repleta de belleza!!
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leykar
Her voice lives on through her daughter (maria rita)....
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So unfortunate to lose such a talented singer. I love the Bosa Nova style of music and it is obvious that Elis Regina had a powerful effect on the music. Too, politics was a stumble for her and she made people aware of their struggles which had a powerful effect.
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chchego
Love her!
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Any artist can make good music, but few can change the way you think, or give you something to believe in. Artist of this caliber don't just wield the power to make good music, they wield the power to change the world.
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After reading Elis Regina's bio i was moved to tears. My eyes and heart are still heavy with sadness. Then i listened to a version of O Bebado E A Equilibrista performed by her. Just thinking about time of turmoil the Country and its people and artist were going through...i just lost it. :-( Their seriously needs to be a movie made if there isn't one already. Elis Regina and the people of Brasil my heart goes out to all who suffered.
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Are there any Spanish speaking folks listening to this beautiful music?
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Solo veo comentarios en ingles. Es que no hay latinos escuchando esta bella musica?
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Beleza!
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junediarra
So much of her music is the sound track of my life. Joyous!
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she continues to be what is the definitive and most passionate expression of Brazilian music.
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I Love this women. She Died the same year I was born..
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