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Samba Icon Ivone Lara Dies at 96

04/18/2018 - 11h05

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LUCAS NOBILE
FROM SÃO PAULO

Like many other stars, such as Cartola, Nelson Cavaquinho and Clementina de Jesus, Yvone da Silva Lara, who died late Monday night (the 16th) at the age of 96, was a late bloomer. Two reasons come to mind when explaining why this was the case of Ms. Lara - who released her first record at the age of 56.

First of all, she was extremely dedicated to her original profession. Ivone was a trained nurse who had specialized in social work.

She became Nise da Silveira's right-hand woman and took care of patients with mental disorders for 37 years. It was no coincidence that Ms. Lara's gentle and humane touch also manifested itself in her art.

Whether it was her husband's jealousy or the simple fact that there wasn't room for women to play their songs to others at a samba gathering or club, sexism was definitely the second factor that got in the way of her development as an artist.

However, she shrewdly and discreetly began performing her compositions by telling her audience that they had been written by her cousins: Mestre Fuleiro and Tio Hélio.

Ricardo Borges/Folhapress
Yvone da Silva Lara
Yvone da Silva Lara

Dona Ivone was a pioneer whose name started to stand for something in an environment where men thrived. However, it was in 1965 that Dona Ivone made her breakthrough with "Os Cinco Bailes da História do Rio", in collaboration with Silas de Oliveira and Antonio Bacalhau. That was the first time a woman joined the ranks of composers, winning a contest that enabled her to choose the theme that her samba school would use in the coming street parade.

In a country where the murder rate among women is still high - particularly among black women - Ivone managed to use her art to revolutionize customs in an elegant and peaceful way. She was a role model for artists such as Leci Brandão, Gisa Nogueira, Beth Carvalho, Alcione, Jovelina, Pérola Negra, Áurea Martins, Teresa Cristina, Nilze Carvalho and so many others.

Though she never led the billboards in terms of records sold, her compositions became popular (and continue to echo) throughout the entire country.

Translated by THOMAS MATHEWSON

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