Jovelina Pérola Negra was one of the artists (like Zeca Pagodinho, Fundo de Quintal, Almir Guineto, Jorge Aragão, and others) who was discovered during the '80s in the wake of the so-called new pagode movement. Celebrated for her potent and swinging vocal performance and the composer of several hits recorded by contemporary samba greats, Pérola Negra (her nickname meaning black pearl after her shining color) had a hard time before reaching success. After 41 years of singing in community samba parties (pagodes) in the working-class suburbs of Rio de Janeiro (at the Baixada Fluminense), and also participating in the Carnaval as a baiana of the Império Serrano samba school, she recorded her first album in 1985 along with novice artists Zeca Pagodinho, Mauro Diniz, Pedrinho da Flor, and Elaine Machado. The album, Raça Brasileira, was turned down by RGE, and was only released after one of the recording company's directors decided to sponsor it himself. The album was a major hit, and all participating artists were called to record their solo albums. She recorded her first one the next year, Jovelina Pérola Negra, followed by seven others and one collection (all released through RGE). Along with her national success, Negra also performed in Angola, France, and Japan before her precocious demise of a heart attack when she was sleeping at home in 1998.
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