Brazil’s jazziest female singer and Latin Grammy’s Best New Artist of 2004, Maria Rita, performs in Los Angeles for the first time at the Wadsworth Theatre, Friday, April 15, 2005 at 8:30 p.m.
It’s hard not to think of Maria Rita without remembering her mother, Elis Regina, long considered Brazil’s most influential singer until her death in 1981.
Rita’s father, César Camargo Mariano, is one of Brazil’s best-known pianists and composers.
Rita tried to distance herself from her mother’s singing legacy by hitting the books at New York University and working towards a degree in journalism.
But as fate, or genetics, would have it, she found her voice and returned to Brazil, making her own mark on the country’s pop music scene.
With parents of such a high musical caliber, it is no wonder she has become an outstanding success. Her self-titled debut CD in 2003 sold 500,000 copies by the year’s end and to date has sold 700,000. It was one of Brazil’s bestselling CDs in 2003.
She is often compared to the American jazz singer Norah Jones, with similar expressions of joy and sorrow throughout her cd of 13 songs, 12 sung in Portuguese and one in Spanish.
Her style is “agile and passionate” said the Miami Herald. The Sun Sentinel said, “At 26, Rita is capable of the kind of singing that some performers take a lifetime to learn.”
“The biggest phenomenon to hit Brazilian popular music in years” as the New York Times quoted. And the hundreds of thousands fans of Maria Rita in Brazil and around the world agree she is an astonishing singer.
“Maria Rita brought back to Brazilian music the quality and flair that we were missing. The quality of music and poetry that made the “MPB” of Elis Regina, Ivan Lins and Milton Nascimento so appealing and profound.” said Sérgio Mielniczenko from Global Village.
This year, Elis Regina would have turned 60 if not for a tragic drug overdose. She was bold and sharp, bringing to the public more than a beautiful voice.
With her imagination and energy, Elis set standards by performing in often outlandish outfits and with always original style. A diva in her time, Elis set the pace for Brazilian popular music and left an impression yet to be equaled.
In the 60’s, intensity and energy lit the petite frame of legendary singer Elis Regina. Cloaked in this aura of free spirit, Elis triumphed in impassioned performances and recordings, putting her in the same league as Gal Costa and Maria Bethânia.
Now, while Gal and Bethânia celebrate their 60th birthdays and many years of success, we can only guess what sparkling contributions 60-year-old Elis’s repertoire would have held had she not accidentally overdosed in January of 1982.
Still, we can celebrate, through digitally re-mastered CD’s of her performances and the story of her raise to fame, the 1945 birth of a woman whose shows, style and voice helped make the Brazilian bossa nova one of the most recognized and cherished musical contributions of Brazilian culture.
The Wadsworth Theatre is an ideal location for Rita’s first visit to Los Angeles. The theatre’s simple yet intimate setting, provides an exceptional backdrop for the singers jazzy, relaxed, sensual music.
The Wadsworth Theatre is located on the grounds of the Veterans Administration Hospital at the corner of San Vincente and Wilshire Boulevard. in West Los Angeles.
Tickets are $68, $46 and $36 and available March 17, 2005 through Ticketmaster – www.ticketmaster.com.