Joining the Portela samba school since its founding reunions, Manacéia, who was brother of the sambistas Aniceto and Mijinha, became a tamborim player in its bateria (drum section) when he was around eight. His first recorded song was "Minha Querida" (with Francisco Santana), in 1957. From 1942, he spent ten years writing several sambas-enredo adopted by the Portela samba school for its annual Carnaval parades. His biggest hits are "Quantas Lágrimas" (recorded by Cristina Buarque and Paulinho da Viola), "A Natureza," "Carro de Boi," "Volta Meu Amor," and "Sempre Teu Amor."
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