Samba, Musical Artist
1943 – 1983
Who was Clara Nunes?
Clara Nunes was a samba singer, regarded as one of the greatest of her generation. She became the first female singer in Brazil to sell over 100,000 copies, and her achievements in the samba genre earned her the title of "Queen of Samba".
She had enormous success with samba songs written by composers such as Nelson Cavaquinho, Paulinho da Viola and Chico Buarque, in addition to songs devoted to orishas and Portela, her favorite samba school. Among her hits, recorded in 16 solo albums, are "Você Passa e Eu Acho Graça", "Ê Baiana", "O Mar Serenou", "As Forças da Natureza", "Guerreira", "Morena de Angola", and "Nação". At the peak of her career, Nunes would sell more than a million copies of each album she released.
Nunes was also a researcher of the rhythms and folklore of Brazilian popular music, and traveled several times to Africa to search for the roots of black music. Familiar to Afro-Brazilian dances and traditions, she converted to Umbanda in her later life. On April 2, 1983, she died at age 39 after suffering from anaphylaxis during a surgery to treat varicose veins. Even today she remains one of the most popular singers in Brazil.