Elza Soares 'dirty samba' faces tough social issues

Elza Soares

Septuagenarian Brazilian music legend Elza Soares is returning with her 34th album ‘The Woman at The End of The World’ on June 10th 2016.

Brazilian music legend Elza Soares is returning with her 34th album ‘The Woman at The End of The World’ on June 10th 2016.

Described as an album of apocalyptic, experimental samba sujo (‘dirty samba’) she tackles the issues of racism, domestic violence, sex and drug addiction in Brazil.

Soares, 79 on June 23rd, hails from a favela (urban slum) in Rio de Janeiro. She’s had more than her fair share of difficult life challenges. At just 12 she was forced into an abusive marriage by her father. In 1966 she had an affair with Brazilian footballer Garrincha, for which she was attacked in the home press. The pair were later expelled from Brazil by the military junta took power in 1969, like many outspoken musicians, returning a few years later. They had a son in 1976 before Garrincha died from alcoholism in 1983 and three years later their son was tragically killed in a car crash.

Her music career began in the late 1950s as she sung in clubs and hotels, sometimes forced to perform off stage because of her skin colour. With ‘The Woman at the end of the world,’ Elza forces the joy and sadness that personifies samba to confront the dirty truths of modern day São Paulo. “Music is protest", says Elza. "While there are still black people taking a beating we will have music to make”.

Over a sprawl of distorted guitars, squalling horns, taught strings and electronic shards, Elza sings, spits and screams tales of a life in Brazil that is anything but a tropical paradise.

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