The divine

Antonio Lizárraga (Reviews Journal)


Commentary on the life of Elizeth Cardoso, whose centenary is celebrated today

She was 16 when Jacob do Bandolim, her father's friend, saw her sing on his own birthday. Very young, she started dating the player Leônidas da Silva, the ace who immortalized the “bike” in soccer. Her father did not approve. One day, he forced his daughter to pick up the phone and end that relationship with no future. On the side, with a fixed gaze, a quince stick in his hand, dangling in the crease of his linen pants, the father was waiting for the girl to “fall out of love” over the spiral telephone lines. Afraid of a beating, he obeyed.

The next day, he took revenge on his father-boss: he entered the field with disobedience and got back together with the player. They were seen embracing in the middle of Rua da Lapa. Assumed relationship, betting on a happily-ever-after championship, they moved in together. One sunny morning he found a newborn abandoned on the street and took her to raise her. Leonidas placed the woman in the area and told them to choose: “either me or the child!” “I’ll stay with Teresa!”. The player was expelled from the field, surprised that the baby even had a name. He smoked even more when he found out that the next day little Tetê was registered on the certificate as the daughter of a single mother. The Black Diamond, as was the player's nickname, who would shine on another team.

On the other side of the neighborhood, the girl's father is more indignant at yet another transgression of the good customs of the place: his young daughter, a singer and now a single mother of a child found on the street. Months later, she met the musician Ari Valdez, an atmosphere ensued, and they moved in together. The boy had no choice, he accepted the conditions and at night, even tired of some performance, he changed six-month-old Teresa's diapers. Valdez, flirtatious, did not spare any girl who gave him languid glances at his shows. But he had uncontrollable fits of jealousy towards his wife, especially when she had to travel to sing.

Pregnant with Valdez, she decided to end the relationship. She left with her big belly and little Tetê and went to live with her mother, who was also separated. Definitely, she wanted nothing to do with a jealous man without morals and reasons for it, and beyond the most extension of the domineering father. She had the child alone, and to get more money, she asked her mother to take care of the children, she learned to drive and became a taxi driver in the middle of Rio de Janeiro in the 1940s.

That was the beginning of Elizeth Cardoso's career, the Divine, nickname given by journalist Haroldo Costa, in an article published in A Ultima Hora.

With a beautiful voice that vibrated from the erudite to the popular, Elizeth is one of the greatest singers in the history of Brazilian music, consecrated as an impeccable interpreter from choro to samba-canção, reaching Bossa Nova. Her name even rhymes in the address at Rua Nascimento Silva, 107, where Tom and Vinicius composed songs for her from the song “Canção do Amor Além”, mentioned in “Carta ao Tom”, recorded in 1974 by the little poet, Toquinho and Quarteto em Cy.

Elizeth Cardoso was one of the pioneers of jingles in political campaigns, recording a machinha for João Goulart's campaign as vice president on the opposition ticket to candidate Jânio Quadros.

With more than 40 albums and internationally recognized, friend of Sarah Vaughan, the moonlit voice of our songbook spent three years being treated for stomach cancer, diagnosed on a tour in Japan, when she felt bad at the hotel. Even sick, he attended the shows, often unable to go until the end, so weak. The audience was moved and applauded the beauty of that woman and her love song too much.

Elizeth Cardoso is the model of female resistance in a racist, sexist, conservative country, especially at a time when her life projects and her ideals as an artist and woman were completely inconceivable.

He was 69 years old when he died in 1990. This July 16th marks the centenary of his birth. Paraphrasing the aforementioned letter written to music by Vinicius to his friend Tom, listening to Elizeth Cardoso reminds me of a happy time, oh how I miss you, life was only happiness, it was as if love hurt in peace.

*Nirton Venâncio is a poet, screenwriter and filmmaker.

Originally published on GGN newspaper.



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