Carmen Miranda

The Extraordinary Girl

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The Extraordinary Girl, a compilation from the El imprint, shines a light on the early recordings of Carmen Miranda, virtually all of them from before she became a Hollywood film star -- and briefly the highest-paid woman in America. As such, it misses out on all of the songs that movie mavens would recognize, songs like "South American Way," "I, Yi, Yi, Yi, Yi (I Like You Very Much)," "Cuanto le Gusta," and "Chica Chica Boom Chic." All but four of the performances come from the '30s and are exclusively in Portuguese, most of them with a Latin dance band of the time sawing away in the background. Miranda sounds exuberant and joyous on highlights such as "O Que e Que a Baiana Tem?" (What Is It the Bahiana Has?) and her dismissal of sellout claims on "Disseram Que Voltei Americanisada" (They Say I Came Back Americanized).

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