Having been raised in São Paulo, Péricles Cavalcanti moved to London, England, and Paris, France, in the late '60s and the early '70s, where he started to write songs; the first one was recorded in 1973 by Gal Costa, "Quem Nasceu?" Since then he has had his compositions recorded by Caetano Veloso, Arnaldo Antunes, Arrigo Barnabé, Cássia Eller, Simone, Adriana Calcanhoto, Lulu Santos, Fafá de Belém, and others. His biggest hit is "Elegia," a composition over the poem Elegy: Going to Bed by the English poet John Donne (1572-1631), translated and adapted by the concrete poet Augusto de Campos. Recorded successfully by Caetano Veloso, "Elegia" was recorded subsequently by Simone. Cavalcanti also had a big hit with "Negro Amor," his and Caetano Veloso's version for Bob Dylan's "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue." In 1991, he released Canções, with the participation of Caetano Veloso and Lulu Santos; the album brought him the Best Composer prize from the Association of Art Critics of São Paulo (APCA). Having written several songs with Arnaldo Antunes, in 1993 he participated in Antunes' Nome, on which two songs were recorded by the duo of intellectual poets, "Imagem" and "Entre." Cavalcanti also wrote the soundtrack of Susana Moraes' film Mil e Uma.
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