A native of Rio de Janeiro, Ithamara Koorax became a major name in Brazilian pop-jazz in the 1990s. The singer comes from a family of Polish Jews, who fled Europe during World War II. Born in Rio in 1965, Koorax was only a child when she began studying classical music. But when she reached adulthood, Koorax realized that Brazilian pop-jazz would be her focus -- the vocalists she admired ranged from Flora Purim and Elis Regina to Shirley Horn, Ella Fitzgerald, and Carmen McRae. At 18, Koorax found that singing background vocals for various artists and providing jingles for Brazilian ad agencies could be very lucrative -- and she enjoyed a great deal of exposure when her recording, "Iluminada," was used in a popular Brazilian soap opera in the early 1990s. Koorax's first album, Luiza: Ithamara Koorax Live was released in Japan on JVC in ...
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