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Buarque (de Hollanda), Chico  

Gerard Béhague

revised by Charles Perrone

(Francisco)

(b Rio de Janeiro, June 19, 1944). Brazilian composer, lyricist, singer-songwriter, dramatist, and prose-fiction writer. Son of a prominent historian, he began a university course in architecture but soon decided to pursue his musical vocation full time. He admired the bossa nova stylings of vocalist-guitarist João Gilberto, but also absorbed much from the voices of the golden age of samba, particularly Noel Rosa. The Modernist poet-diplomat Vinícius de Morais, family friend and foundational figure in bossa nova, influenced his music-making and exceptional lyric writing. Like so many other young musical talents, Buarque staked his claim to fame during televised song festivals in the late 1960s, when the acronym MPB (música popular brasileira, Brazilian popular music) came into use to designate the work of the current generation. He had already composed the refined samba-bossa “Pedro Pedreiro” (1965), when his march “A Banda” (...

Article

Colón, Willie  

Lise Waxer

[Colón Román jr, William Anthony; ‘El malo’]

(b South Bronx, New York, April 28, 1950). American bandleader, composer, arranger, trombonist, popular singer, producer and actor. Dubbed ‘El malo’ (the ‘bad boy’) of salsa, he began playing the trumpet in 1963 with the teenage band the Dandees. Switching to trombone, he made his professional début at 17 with the album El malo (Fania, 1967). Both as a bandleader and a member of the Fania All-Stars, he quickly moved to the fore of the burgeoning New York salsa scene, cementing the raw, trombone-heavy ‘New York sound’ inspired by earlier artists such as Eddie Palmieri and Mon Rivera. Between 1967 and 1973 he made a series of important recordings with vocalist Hector Lavoe, which included the albums Asalto Navideño I and II (Fania, 1972 and 1973) with cuatro virtuoso Yomo Toro, where traditional Puerto Rican Christmas aguinaldos were fused with salsa. During his second period (...

Article

Gilberto, João  

Gerard Béhague

(do Prado Pereira de Oliveira)

(b Juazeiro, Bahia, Brazil, June 10, 1931; d Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 6, 2019). Brazilian popular singer, composer, and guitarist. He moved to Rio de Janeiro at the age of 18, singing mostly Romantic samba-canções in various groups and frequenting the nightclub Plaza in Copacobana and the Murray Recordshop in downtown Rio de Janeiro. His first solo recording came in 1952, but it was the July 1958 record containing Jobim’s Chega de Saudade and his own Bim-bom that called attention to his new singing style, unassuming but secure and very intimate. In April 1958 he had accompanied on the guitar the pop singer Elisete Cardoso singing Chega de Saudade, and revealed for the first time his distinctive guitar beat that came to be known as the violão gago (stammering guitar), a trademark of the bossa nova made up of previously unknown syncopated patterns on the samba beat. In November of the same year he recorded Jobim’s ...

Article

Grossmith, George (i)  

Leon Berger

(b London, Dec 9, 1847; d Folkestone, March 1, 1912). English actor, singer, composer and writer, father of George Grossmith. He was a courtroom reporter and comic recitalist, like his father of the same name, before becoming a drawing-room entertainer: he was sometimes called ‘G.G. II’, to distinguish him from his father, or ‘G.G.’. He began a 12-year association with the Gilbert and Sullivan Savoy operas when he made his stage début in the title role of The Sorcerer in 1877. Of slight stature, with excellent diction, dapper footwork and a light comic touch, he created what became known as the patter parts or the ‘Grossmith roles’. In 1889 he resumed his lucrative Humorous and Musical Recitals, touring in England and America.

According to contemporary accounts he was not much of a singer, but his own songs display a wider tessitura than the Gilbert and Sullivan repertory suggests. He was the author of and often a performer in eight operettas, nearly 100 musical sketches and some 400 songs and piano pieces. This prolific song output was mostly in a patter style, with an infectious melody and a syllabic setting for fast delivery: a third of them were published and survive, but his manuscripts along with his performing librettos from the Savoy operas were destroyed in World War II. His songs are couched in quotidian detail: London streets and their surly cab drivers and bus conductors, seedy lodging houses, obstreperous babies, and fashionable dances as in ...

Article

Hardelot, Guy d’  

Andrew Lamb

[Rhodes (née Guy), Helen M.]

(b Château Hardelot, nr Boulogne, c1858; d London, Jan 7, 1936). French composer, pianist and singing teacher. She was the daughter of an English sea captain and the singer Helen Guy. At the age of 15 she was taken to Paris, where she studied at the Conservatoire under Renaud Maury, and success came in her early 20s with the song Sans toi (words by Victor Hugo). Gounod and Massenet were among those who encouraged her in composition, and those who introduced her songs included Nellie Melba, Victor Maurel and Pol Plançon, as well as Emma Calvé, with whom she went to the USA in 1896 as accompanist. After marrying an Englishman she settled in London, where she continued to produce sentimental songs, about 300 in all, notable for their easy melody and typical dramatic climax. They include Three Green Bonnets (H.L. Harris; 1901), Because (E. Teschemacher; ...

Article

Hervé  

Andrew Lamb

[Ronger, Florimond]

(b Houdain, June 30, 1825; d Paris, Nov 3, 1892). French composer, singer and conductor. On his father's death in 1835, his mother took him to Paris. He found employment at the church of St Roch, where he learnt the rudiments of singing, organ and harmony; he then briefly studied harmony with Elwart at the Conservatoire and later composition with Auber. From 1839 to 1845 he was organist at the Bicêtre asylum and began a music class for the patients, writing songs, choruses and other entertainments for them. For eight years from 1845 he was organist at St Eustache.

For his theatrical career he took the name Hervé, gradually gaining recognition through his Don Quichotte et Sancho Pança (1848) and engagements at the Théâtre de l’Odéon and Théâtre du Palais-Royal, where he appeared as author, composer, conductor, actor, tenor buffo singer and producer, as required. His five-act ...

Article

Lauder, Sir Harry  

Deane L. Root

(Maclennan)

(b Portobello, nr Edinburgh, Aug 4, 1870; d Strathaven, Feb 26, 1950). Scottish baritone music-hall singer and composer. As a young man he won prizes at local singing contests and gained attention at concert parties, and after deciding to become a professional entertainer in 1894 he toured Scotland with the violinist Mackenzie Murdoch.

Lauder’s most successful years as a singer coincided with the most popular years of the music hall, between 1900 and World War I. During this time he became known not only in the best London music halls but also, through concert tours, in Europe and North America. During both world wars he was an ardent recruiter, and was knighted for his efforts (1919). He performed at Buckingham Palace and for several American presidents. Later he made many gramophone recordings for the Victor label.

Lauder’s stage personality was a stereotyped Scotsman, with a kilt and a generalized brogue. He often included an interlude of patter before the final verse of a song, sometimes ending with a jolly laugh; he preferred the sentimental appeal of love-songs and images of his home country, and usually ended his performances in a serious vein with ...

Article

Olcott, Chauncey  

Michael J. Budds

[Olcott, Chancellor John]

(b Buffalo, NY, July 21, 1858; d Monte Carlo, March 18, 1932). American singer, composer and lyricist. He toured with several minstrel and opera companies, then went to London for two years, where he studied singing and appeared in comic opera. He achieved fame after his return to the USA when he joined forces with Augustus Pitou in 1893 and succeeded William J. Scanlan as the leading singer in Pitou’s productions of sentimental operettas on Irish themes. His success, founded on his sweet tenor voice and his ingratiating acting and appearance, led to his concentrating on Irish roles for the remainder of his career.

He contributed librettos, songs and lyrics to many of the works in which he appeared, and wrote the complete scores of Sweet Inniscarra (1897), A Romance of Athlone (1899), Garrett O’Magh (1901), and Old Limerick Town (1902...

Article

Philipp, Adolf  

John Koegel

(b Hamburg, Jan 29, 1864; d New York, July 30, 1936). German composer, librettist, singer, actor and theatre manager, active in the United States. He began a career as a tenor with operetta companies in Germany and Austria. In 1890 Gustav Amberg brought him to New York to sing operetta roles, though he also sang in opera, most notably in the role of Turridu in Cavalleria rusticana (November 1891). In 1893 Philipp opened the Germania Theater (formerly Aberle’s Theatre), where he produced musical comedies modelled after Harrigan’s stage works, until 1902. He composed, wrote the librettos for, and appeared in such portrayals of German-American immigrant life on New York’s East Side as Der Corner Grocer aus der Avenue A (1893), Arme Maedchen (1893), Ein New Yorker Brauer (1894) and New York bei Nacht (1897). Ein New Yorker Brauer...

Article

Rodríguez, Tito  

Lise Waxer

[Pablo]

(b San Juan, Jan 4, 1923; d New York City, Feb 28, 1972). Puerto Rican popular singer, bandleader and composer. Raised in Puerto Rico, he arrived in New York City in 1939, singing in the band of his brother Johnny before moving on to perform in the orchestras of Enric Madriguera, Xavier Cugat and Noro Morales. He recorded the hit song Bim-bam-bum with Cugat in 1942. In 1946 he joined the band of José Curbelo along with another promising young musician, Tito Puente, then left to form a small ensemble of his own in 1947, and by the early 1950s had established one of the leading mambo orchestras in New York. Like fellow ‘Mambo Kings’ Puente and Machito, he performed regularly at the Palladium Ballroom.

One of the most popular vocalists and Latin bandleaders of the 1950s, Rodríguez is best remembered for his romantic songs. His band was notable for its driving rhythm section and tight horns, a perfect complement to his velvety voice and improvisatory skills as a ...

Article

Rosa, Noel  

Gerard Béhague

(de Medeiros )

(b Rio de Janeiro, Dec 11, 1910; d Rio de Janeiro, May 4, 1937). Brazilian composer and singer. Mostly self-taught, he began playing the mandolin at the age of 13, then the guitar, which he learned from his father and friends. By 1925 he was playing at local events. He joined the Bando de Tangarás, which included the important popular musicians João de Barro, Almirante, and Alvino and Henrique Brito, and which made its first recording in 1929. In the same year Rosa composed his first pieces, but it was in 1930 that his unique style was revealed in the samba Com que roupa? From 1931 to the end of his life he dedicated himself almost exclusively to the composition of urban sambas, expressing in the colloquial ‘carioca’ language of the period the psychological traits and behavioural customs and feelings of the lower middle class in Rio, including the figure of the ...

Article

Roy, Harry  

Ken Rattenbury

revised by Alyn Shipton

(b London, Jan 12, 1900; d London, Feb 1, 1971). English bandleader, clarinettist, singer and composer. From 1919 he organized dance bands with his brother Syd, including Syd Roy’s Lyricals; they performed in London at Oddenino’s, Rector’s, the Hammersmith Palais and the Café de Paris, and at Rector’s in Paris. In 1928 the brothers toured South Africa and Australia (1929), then returned to England to play in variety theatres before touring Germany. In 1931 Harry formed his own band and, after touring (1933), held residencies at the Café Anglais and the Mayfair Hotel in London. He continued to tour extensively in theatres until 1939 and throughout World War II but after 1945 never regained his former status in London’s clubland. Roy was essentially a show-band leader, an energetic front man, a light, sometimes comic, singer, and a clarinettist in the style of Ted Lewis. Although hardly a jazz musician himself he employed as sidemen a number of players who later became prominent in jazz. His signature tune, ...

Article

Mighty Sparrow  

Lise Waxer

[Francisco, Slinger]

(b Grand Roy, July 9, 1935). Trinidadian vocalist, composer and bandleader born in Grenada. His family moved to Trinidad when he was one year old. He sang as a church choirboy, and made his professional début at 19, performing in the annual calypso tent competition held during Carnival under the sobriquet Little Sparrow. In 1956 he changed his name to Mighty Sparrow and won the Calypso Monarch Competition with his road march Jean and Dinah. That same year he initiated the famous ‘calypso wars’ with his friend Lord Melody, performing at the Young Brigade Calypso Tent. The following year, his tune Carnival Boycott was taken up as an anthem to demand better competitive conditions and pay for calypsonians, masqueraders and pan-men, and which led to the founding of the Carnival Development Committee. In subsequent years, his songs Teresa (1958) and The Yankees Back (1960) also became instant hits....