Daúde

Though this may come as a surprise to those unfamiliar with Brazil's music scene, Daúde is a rare find: a Black woman in Brazil's eclectic pop-roots music, known as Música Popular Brasileira (MPB), and the first to fuse MPB with African roots and modern production values, setting the whole thing alight with sensual, driving dance beats.

While many of her peers have been abandoning Brazilian music to undertake rock, hip-hop, techno and dance, Daúde takes the opposite tack. She looks to see how these forms can be brought back to enhance Brazilian music, not to replace it. The mix is all her own and the style she has created is unique.

Daúde was born Maria Waldelurdes Costa de Santana Dutilleux, hence the opportune switch to three syllables (it’s pronounced Dah-oo-jee). She was born in Salvador, Bahia, the pulsing heart of African Brazil, and spent her first eleven years there.

"I was born in a blessed place. I grew up in a favela where the song of the crickets and the noise of the swamp were pure symphonies. It might have been this that gave me a soul so full of music."

A loving and musical family helped as well. Her father introduced her to the great Brazilian interpreters and popular traditions, her mother and aunts to the romantic singers and those of the great generation of Brazilian popular music (MPB) stars like Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Maria Bethânia, Chico Buarque and a host of others.

When Daúde was eleven, the family moved to Rio de Janeiro. It was there, on radio, that she heard American soul artists and British blues rockers for the first time, mixed in with her beloved Brazilians. She would dance and sing along – and right then and there decided to become a singer. She started learning technique. When the family moved away again, years later, she stayed, studying singing professionally. Then she took a university degree in Portuguese and Literature.

Her career began in theatrical musicals and in nightclubs throughout Rio de Janeiro. It was through them that she came to record her first disc in 1995, the eponymous Daúde. It was already forging the link between the traditional and modern that Daúde continues to this day. Even on this first release she met with critical raves. She won a Brazilian Grammy, the Premio Sharp, in the new artist category. Her second disc appeared in 1997, Daúde #2, this one co-produced by Will Mowat (Soul II Soul, Angélique Kidjo, Chico César) and Celso Fonseca. “She was the first of the younger generation to get into fusing MPB with beats and loops”, Will explains. On that album, their first collaboration, the roster of songs helped add an international audience to Daúde’s already impassioned Brazilian one.

Daúde’s work with Will Mowat came to full fruition on Neguinha Te Amo, the album she recorded for Real World Records.

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