From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Elis Regina Carvalho Costa, known simply as Elis Regina (March 17, 1945 – January 19, 1982) was a singer of Brazilian popular music who achieved great success and recognition during her lifetime. She remains one of the most popular and beloved stars in Brazil.
Elis Regina was born in Porto Alegre, where she began her career as a singer at age 11 on a children's radio show, O Clube Do Guri on Rádio Farroupilha. In 1959, she was contracted by Rádio Gaúcha and in the next year she travelled to Rio de Janeiro where she recorded her first LP, Viva a Brotolândia (Long Live Teenage Land).
She won her first festival song contest in 1965 singing Arrastão (Pull The Trawling Net) by Edu Lobo and Vinícius de Moraes, which, when released as a single, made her the biggest selling Brazilian recording artist since Carmen Miranda. The second LP with Jair Rodrigues, Dois na Bossa, set a national sales record and first LP to achieve over one million copies. Arrastão by Elis also launched her career for a national audience since that festival was broadcast via Tv and radio. As for the history of Brazilian music it represented the beginning of a new music style that would be known as MPB (Música Popular Brasileira or Brazilian Popular Music), distinguished from the previous bossa nova.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Elis Regina helped to popularize the work of the tropicalismo (Tropicália) movement, recording songs by musicians such as Gilberto Gil. Her 1974 collaboration with Antonio Carlos Jobim, Elis & Tom, is often cited as one of the greatest bossa nova albums of all time, which also includes what many consider the all-time best Brazilian song, "Águas de Março". She also recorded songs by Milton Nascimento, João Bosco, Aldir Blanc, Chico Buarque, Jorge Ben, Baden Powell, Caetano Veloso and Rita Lee. She possessed an exciting voice and superb pronunciation and intonation, and excelled at up-tempo numbers and ballads under the banner of Brazilian Popular Music Música Popular Brasileira. Her nicknames were "furacão" ("hurricane") and "pimentinha" ("little pepper").
She sometimes criticized the Brazilian dictatorship which had persecuted and exiled many musicians of her generation. In a 1969 interview in Europe, she said that Brazil was being run by "gorillas". Her popularity kept her out of jail, but she was eventually compelled by the authorities to sing the Brazilian national anthem in a stadium show, drawing the ire of many Brazilian Leftists. She was later forgiven because they understood that, as both a mother and daughter, she had to protect her family from the dictatorship at any cost. Along with many other artists Elis was living each verse of Geraldo Vandré's political hymn: Yet they make of a flower their strongest refrain, And believe flowers to defeat guns.
Her rendition of Jobim / Vinicius' song "Por Toda A Minha Vida" appeared on the soundtrack to the 2002 movie Hable Con Ella (Talk to Her) directed by Pedro Almodóvar and her song "Roda" appeared on the soundtrack to the 2005 movie Be Cool.
When Elis Regina died at the age of 36 in 1982, on the verge of a new marriage, new house, new recording contract, and new music group, reportedly of an accidental mixture of alcohol (from the previous night) and cocaine (the following morning), she had recorded dozens of top-selling records in her career. Her death swept the country in mourning and 100,000 mourners and music stars attended her memorial that had to be held in a soccer stadium. Elis Regina has sold over 80 million albums, most of which are still available. Her death is still mourned in Brazil and around the world.
Elis married twice and gave birth to three children. Her first marriage was to Ronaldo Bôscoli in 1967. She gave birth to a son, João Marcelo Bôscoli, in 1970. She later married her long-time collaborator César Camargo Mariano, and had two more children with him: Pedro Camargo Mariano in 1975, and Maria Rita in 1977. The three children all later became musicians and/or producers. After many years of complete obscurity, Maria Rita became a national singing sensation after a lengthy marketing campaign, like her mother, winning three Latin Grammies for her debut eponymous CD. João Marcello Boscoli, owner of the Trama recording company, produced the first Elis Regina DVD allowing many of her fans to see her performing for the first time. The DVD was a recording of a 1973 Brazilian TV show featuring songs, Elis' running commentary introducing each song, and an interview. Pedro Camargo Mariano most recently sang with his father, the brilliant pianist and arranger Cesar Camargo Mariano, on a Latin Grammy-nominated CD called "Piano & Voz" (Piano and Voice). More DVDs of Elis Regina performances have subsequently been released.
- Viva a Brotolândia (first album recording in 1961 at age 16)
- Poema de Amor (1962)
- O Bem do Amor (1963)
- Ellis Regina (1963) (listed with two l's)
- Dois na Bossa (1965)
- O Fino do Fino - Elis & Zimbo Trio (1965)
- Samba, Eu Canto Assim! (1965)
- Dois na Bossa nº2 (1966)
- Elis (1966)
- Dois na Bossa nº3 (1967)
- Elis Especial (1968)
- Elis, Como & Porque (1969)
- Elis Regina in London (1969)
- Aquarela do Brasil - Elis Regina & Toots Thielemans (1969)
- Em Pleno Verão (1970)
- Elis no Teatro da Praia com Miele & Bôscoli (1970)
- Ela (1971)
- Elis (1972)
- Elis - no 2 (1973)
- Elis (1973)
- Elis (1974)
- Elis & Tom (1974)
- Falso Brilhante (1976)
- Elis (1977)
- Transversal do Tempo (1978) (live)
- Essa Mulher (1979)
- Elis Especial (1979)
- Saudades do Brasil (1980)
- Elis (1980)
- Montreux Jazz Festival (1982)
- Trem Azul (1982) (live) a bootleg final live recording.
- Vento de Maio (1983) (compilation)
- Luz das Estrelas (1984)
- Elis Regina no Fino da Bossa (1994) (live)
- "Dose Dupla-Elis Regina" (1994) (digital compilation of her first 2 recordings from 1961 and 1962)
- Elis ao Vivo (1995) (live)
- 20 Anos de Saudade (2002) (compilation)
- Little Pepper: The Definitive Collection (2004) (compilation)
- "Elis Regina: MPB Especial 1973" - black and white DVD released in 2005 (TV show)
- "Elis Regina Carvalho Costa" - full color DVD released in 2006 (live show)
- "Elis" full color 3 DVD box set: composed of "Na Batucada Da Vida", "Doce De Pimenta", and "Falso Brilhante"
- "Por toda a minha vida" - Brazilian TV GLOBO special in 12/28/2006 (TV show)
- Pérolas Raras (2006)