Last Wish: Noel Rosa’s Samba

Noel de Medeiros Rosa was born in the Vila Isabel neighbourhood of Rio de Janeiro on 11th December 1910. It was a traumatic birth and a forceps delivery left him with permanent damage to his lower jaw; yet this did not prevent Rosa from pursuing his dreams and eventually becoming a huge star in his native Brazil. At the age of 13, Rosa went to the Colégio de São Bento where he would stay until 1928, and it was at school that he learnt to play the mandolin and the guitar, excelling at both. In 1930, Rosa won a place to study medicine and planned to become a doctor, but when he discovered Rio’s more bohemian nightclubs, where samba music could be heard until dawn and the drink flowed freely, he found a new ambition. Quitting university, Rosa formed a band, Bando de Tangarás.

Rosa’s first successful recording was Com que roupa? (1930) and the ensuing popularity of his compositions stemmed from the novel and whimsical way in which he merged traditional Brazilian rhythms with urbane and often humorous lyrics. To his fans, he became affectionately known as ‘The Poet of the Village.’ By 1931, Rosa had become one of the biggest names in samba and a host of highly respected musicians were eager to collaborate with him. Further hits followed, such as Coração (1932), Filosofia (1933), Conversa de botequim (1935) and São coisas nossas (1936).

Above: Noel Rosa – Com que roupa? (1930) Continue reading