Son of a rich cattle merchant, Evaldo Gouveia, one year after his birth, together with his father, would move to Igatu, where he'd soon learn to play the violão (acoustic guitar) and sing at the "radiadora"…
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Evaldo Gouveia Biography

by Alvaro Neder

Son of a rich cattle merchant, Evaldo Gouveia, one year after his birth, together with his father, would move to Igatu, where he'd soon learn to play the violão (acoustic guitar) and sing at the "radiadora" (primitive system of speakers hanging in the lampposts), at six years old. At 11 he was sent to Fortaleza, the state capital, and at 15 completed his high-school studies and started to work. At the Praça do Ferreira, where the local people gathered for listening to music in leisure, Evaldo started to play violão in a group, in a daily basis. He was urged by a group member to try the novice's show at Ceará Rádio Clube. He would win the contest for 7 consecutive times. As the choice was made by the public, he was finally hired by the station, and his success gave him the strength to impose the repertoire: the songs of the duo Jair Amorim-José Maria de Abreu.

His first composition, from 1949, "Nós dois e o mar," made only local success. Next year, he'd form, together with his tailor Mário Alves and a pal called Epaminondas, the group which would become famous: Trio Nagô, which traveled south soon afterwards, to represent Ceará in a paulista (São Paulo's) radio show. Following, they'd go to Porto Alegre RS, and Rio de Janeiro RJ, where, after a month of extremely well accepted presentations, they appeared in the reputable Programa César de Alencar. In those times, the vocal groups such as theirs were a fever in Brazil: Trio Irakitan, Anjos do Inferno, Quatro Ases e um Coringa, Trio de Ouro and several others were enjoying great popularity. Their presentation was so well succeeded that, at the end of the show, they were already hired: Vadeco, artistic director for Rádio Jornal do Brasil and member of the important Bando da Lua (which had accompanied Carmem Miranda in a tour in the USA), contracted them for the Radio, for three months. They'd be hired also by Rádio Tupi and Rádio Record, of São Paulo. Followed a season crowned by success, in several important nightclubs of Rio and São Paulo, like Vogue, in Rio, and Oásis, in São Paulo. In 1956 and 1962 they would tour in Europe, and continue to make great success, until Mário Alves found a collocation in the public service, what made the group to disband. Evaldo was composing regularly since 1957, when made, with Gilberto Ferraz, "Deixe que ela se vá," turned into a big hit by acclaimed singer Nélson Gonçalves. Soon followed "Eu e Deus" (with Pedro Caetano), "A noite e a prece, and "Pior pra você, with Almeida Rego. It was when someone implied he was "making too much money" with his songs. Only then he'd learn about copyright. With three photos, in July, 1958, went to UBC (a copyright collector society) and looked for the secretary, who was no less than famous composer Jair Amorim, with whom he'd compose 150 songs in the next 10 years. In that very day they'd compose together "Conversa, which would be recorded through Victor by Alaíde Costa in 1959, by Maysa, and by many others. Jair Amorim had been longing for a stable compositional partnership, as the American models. Having this identification with Evaldo, they quickly began to write a hit after another, exploring, in an easy, popular vein, the themes of dramatic amorous delusions, at the time very dear to the Brazilian imagery. But, behind this formulaic approach, coexist a keen spontaneity, almost improvised, with a rigid Parnasian technique. Besides, as they were pretty much aware of the market, they had to rely on their versatility to be able to follow the fashions of the times: when sentimental boleros began to decline in popular acceptation, they quickly moved to samba. Having being raised in the romantic tradition of serenades, in serestas, Evaldo wasn't acquainted with ballads; he had to resort to many hours of audition of French and Italian ballads for composing the newly fashionable style; and always delivered competently the required commodity. As a curious evidence of such chameleonic virtuosity, they composed a "samba ié-ié-ié" called "Rapaz da Moda," which had good acceptance in the recording by Jair Rodrigues. But, on the other hand, they restricted themselves to composing about only eight songs per year, even knowing that if they made 30, all of them would be disputed by several established singers. This gives a measure of a certain degree of artisan care taken by them. The duo successfully promoted the careers of some novice singers, like Anísio Silva, for whom they composed "Alguém me disse." The song turned into a big hit. Later, they'd promote Altemar Dutra("Tudo de Mim"), who'd be for many decades an extremely popular romantic singer. Besides this one, Altemar would record in first-hand "O bilhete" and "Serenata do adeus" (1963), "Que queres tu de mim," "Somos iguais," "Sentimental demais" and "O trovador" (all of 1964). Other important interpreters in their biographies would be Miltinho, with the enormous success of "Poema do olhar" (1962), and Morgana, with "E a vida continua." During the bossa nova period, being proponents of all that the bossa was against of, it was natural that they'd lose room and become critics of the new wave. But they didn't lose their faithful audience, which continued to prestige them, which was evidenced through massive selling of "Samba sem pim-pom" (1963), ironic allusion to the sophisticated vocal inflections by João Gilbertoand Orlando Silva, and "Garota Moderna," recorded by Wilson Simonal(1965), which was a flagrant reaction against the liberated customs of the new woman expressed by the "Girl from Ipanema." At the end of the 60's a new wave of valorization of the popular values came out, highlighting the samba. They joined the movement, composing "O conde" (1969), which, being a homage to Vilma, the porta-estandarte (banner-bearer) from Portela, was recorded by Jair Rodrigues with great acceptation. The apex of their sambista career was to compose, under critics of the traditionalists, the very samba-enredo supported by Portelain the Carnival of 1973, "O mundo melhor de Pixinguinha," a respect to the great genius of the master composer.

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