Dona Ivone Lara

Dona Ivone Lara

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AllMusic Review by

It is not usual to salute a compilation with such enthusiasm. But when the compilation is about an expressive Brazilian popular artist, one has to be pragmatic: The labels currently sneer at good artists because of the massive sells of the abusive marketing phenomenon, and the previous releases are usually out of print. Even though the booklet is incredibly poor, the recordings are worth it.

Ivone Lara, respectfully known as Dona Ivone Lara, is a samba do morro (samba of the hills) inspired singer and composer. Do not expect the fluid bossa nova here. The real thing in which bossa was based is a percussive kind of music that greatly contrasts with the delicacy of the lyrics, usually chronicling the life of the humble people of the hills, the ending love, the passion for the samba, the amazement at the wonder of life. The typical instrumental, obviously entirely acoustic, comprises the Brazilian seven-string guitar (violão de sete cordas), the cavaquinho (ukulele, but played very differently), mandolin, and a complete set of the varied samba percussion, with tamborins, reco-recos, ganzás, surdos etc., together with the samba-community feel translated by the vocal ensembles. The album has some of her biggest hits, her own compositions that only reached the recording studios in her voice after 1979, when she was already a retired nurse and 56 years old. A pioneer in the macho tradition of samba, she had to struggle to be an accepted composer, and, fortunately for us, she succeeded in that.