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Wednesday’s Wise Woman … Maysa

August 8, 2012

My weekly woman features like most of my blogs are embryonic. Representative of my relative newness to the journalistic culture; probably not even considered journalistic; mere musings about people I know little about.  A fleeting interest that has prompted me  little further than Wikipedia … although not far and I apologise for that.

You will notice some of my ‘mentions’ have a Latin American feel … I will not apologise for that; without this vital connection life would not be worth living.
So this week’s woman; who I thought might have been wise; may not have been consider so wise in the end. However,  she did find her way to Wikipedia and to my attention so that is wise enough for me.
Also she died in a car accident on Rio-Niteroi Bridge which joins Rio de Janeiro to Niteroi over Guanabara Bay; the second longest in the world. I have been across it in another blog on my way to Museu do Arte Contemporanea.
Maysa Figueira Monjardim (1936-1977) was born and married into a rich and influential families.  Her paternal grandmother was a singer and actress and was closely associated with Bossa nova music known then as torch song.
Maysa showed musical talent as a child and began composing songs as well.  One at least was used on her first album.
In 1950 she with her stage name Maysa Matarazzo formed a successful bossa nova band.   She toured with her band to Buenos Aires, Uruguay and Chile.  The tour was great success and it was a good opportunity to project bossa nova beyond the Brazilian Borders.However it did not go according to plan. Maysa had an affair with Ronaldo Boscoli a composer and journalist who was linked romantically with Nara Leao.  Which lead to the end of the relationship between Nara and Ronaldo but a split in the bossa nova movement. A complicated battle followed between the rival factions and Nara became the queen of the protest songs against the military dictatorship.
Maysa became alienated from  the bossa nova network and the protest singers.She married a  Spanish musical director and moved to Spain and work there and in Europe singing to full houses; she was still considered by some to be the best singer of the the torch song. Her turbulent and chaotic lifestyle bought her much publicity and the name Janice Joplin of Bossa nova.
She did make a popular recovery back in Brazil, singing of her lost loves; old Bossa nova hits in the current festival style.  She also appeared in some television soap operas. She also appeared in the film by Almodovar; Law of Desire  singing Ne me quitte pas.
In the 1970s it was suggested that she was happier but died in a car crash on the Rio-Niteroi Bridge.
After her death; a television programme was broadcast documenting her life. The narrative spanned two books naming her as one of the most charismatic divas of Brazil.  Her style will go on to influence generations of Latin American singers and composers.  

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