Golden Era 74 Olga Coelho South American Folksongs 1944-1957 CD $17.00
Guitar by Hermann Hauser I Munich
Nylon strings were first tried on stage by Olga Coelho in New York in January, 1944.
Born in Manaus in 1909 and raised in Salvador, her family moved to Rio in 1923,
where she started to learn the guitar and to educate her voice. She made her first
recordings in 1930 and soon became a radio celebrity. Olga Praguer Coelho passed
away on February 25, 2008.
After her triumph at a congress of folk music in Berlin, the Brazilian government
chose her as an official cultural ambassador and, together with her husband, the poet
Gaspar Coelho, she travelled extensively and became an international celebrity. The
critic of the New York Times said she was by far the best folk singer he had ever heard.
On the top of that she had a charming and extroverted personality, sense of humour
and personal magnetism, and was blessed with a privileged vocal condition and
tremendous good looks. From 1944 she left her husband and started a relationship
with Andres Segovia, which was to last for over a decade. She went to live with him in
New York, from where she continued to develop her international career. Segovia wrote
several arrangements for her, which gave her opportunity to display serious skills as a
guitarist. Her career lasted until the 70's, when she came back to Brazil to live in an
apartment block built on the site of her family residence. As she grew older, she also
fell in relative obscurity.
Olga used to perform on a Hauser I guitar believed to be a sister of Segovia's
celebrated instrument. She is frequently mentioned as the very first guitarist to give a
concert on nylon strings. She was a larger-than-life character and met literally every
important international artist between 1930 and 70. Her source of anecdotes was
inexhaustible. She flew to the Berlin Olympic Games in 1936 on board of a Zeppelin;
she performed for Mussolini and was friends with Roosevelt, she was a neighbour of
Horowitz and had fun with Salvador Dali; Villa-Lobos wrote the arrangement of his
own Bachianas no.5 for her at Segovia's request and Bartok was on the front row to
see her in Budapest. She was also a staunch supporter of young artists and one would
be surprised to learn of the helping hand she offered to some of the greatest artists of
today. Written by Fabio Zanon.
Brazilian-born Olga Coelho began her singing career at age three. She was destined
to enjoy a long career in music and subsequently studied at the Conservatory of Rio de
Janeiro before setting out professionally as a singer. She was a serious musicologist,
and traveled in circles that included the likes of renowned composer Heitor Villa-Lobos.
The composers who inscribed compositions to her included Nelson Araguarí, Vladimir
Bobri, Ernani Braga, Elsa Calcagno, Lorenzo Fernândez, Lily y Meche Pérez Freire,
Mercedes Pérez Freire, Pedro E. Gutierrez, Adolfo V. Luna and Francisco Mignone.
The selections are:
Song Recital Olga Coelho, Soprano Voice and Guitar 1944
1 : Cancion Andaluza : (Trad.-Segovia)
2 : Nina Nana : (Manuel de Falla)
3 : De Blanca Tierra : (Traditional Inca Song)
4 : Kurikinga Mapañawi : (Traditional Inca Song)
5. Quebra a Coco Menina (Guarnieri) (Brazil)
6. Rei Mandou Me Chama (arr. Coelho) (Brazil)
7. Bamabalele (arr. Coelho) (Brazil)
8. Dem-Bau (Guarnieri)
Olga Coelho, Soprano Voice and Guitar Xango 1957
9. Xango (Brazil)
10. Azulao (Jayme Ovalle)
11. Cancao de Caboclo (Hekel Tavares)
12. Elvira, escuta!
13. Virgem do Rosario
14. Mulita (Francisco Amor) Argentina
15. O Rei Mandou Me Chama
16. El Tecolote Mexico
17. Agachate el sombrerito Columbia
18. Kyrie Eleison (Olga Coelho)
19. Meu limao, Meu limoeiro
20. Cordao de Prata
21. Banzo (Hekel Tavares)
22. Kurikinga Mapañawai
23. De Aquel Cerro Verde Peru
24. Frutas del Caney (Felix Cagnet) Cuba
Guitar by Hermann Hauser I Munich