Nara Leao

Decades: 1990s 2000s


1942, Vitória, Espirito Santo, Brazil, d. 1989. Leão was known not only for one of the sexiest voices in Brazilian music, but also for challenging the musical and cultural status quo. She was best known as part of the bossa nova movement, but in her career she performed everything from traditional sambas to new wave. She grew up in Rio de Janeiro and began playing guitar at the age of 12. Leão befriended many musicians of the burgeoning bossa nova scene and her parents’ apartment became the place of numerous parties where musicians got together to try out new material, including Roberto Menescal, Carlos Lyra, Dori Caymmi, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and some consider this the real birthplace of bossa nova. Thus she was nicknamed ‘the muse of bossa nova’. However, Leão was not one to follow trends, and for her first album, she recorded long-forgotten sambas by Nelson Cavaquinho, Cartola and others, much to the surprise of her...

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