Barroso, Ary (1903–1964)

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Barroso, Ary (1903–1964)

Ary Barroso (b. 7 November 1903; d. 9 February 1964), Brazilian songwriter. Barroso was one of his country's most influential composers of samba music; his songs were renowned for their beautiful melodies and picturesque language, and often celebrated Brazil, its people, and culture. Barroso's "Aquarela do Brasil" (known elsewhere simply as "Brazil") ranks among the world's best-known popular tunes of the twentieth century.

Born in Ubá, Minas Gerais, Barroso moved in 1920 to Rio, where he played for dance-hall orchestras and later became a successful writer of hit songs for Carnaval. He helped develop the genre called samba-canção, a softer, more sophisticated samba that emphasized melody more than rhythm and featured more complex harmonies. With "Aquarela do Brasil" (Watercolor of Brazil), Barroso created another style, samba-exaltação, so-called for its characteristic grand, epic songs with soaring melodies that "exalted" a particular subject. Among his other standards are "Na batucada da vida" (A Strong Indictment of Poverty), "No tabuleiro da baiana" (On the Baiana's Tray), "Na baixa do sapateiro" (also called "Bahia"), "Rio de Janeiro," and "Inquietação" (Disquiet).

For the last fifty years, Barroso has been one of the most recorded Brazilian composers both inside and outside his country, and his songs have reached the world through the animated films of Walt Disney (such as The Three Caballeros), movies such as Terry Gilliam's Brazil (1985), and countless interpretations by world pop and jazz artists. "Aquarela do Brasil" rivals "The Girl From Ipanema" as the most internationally famous Brazilian tune of all time.

See alsoMusic: Popular Music and Dance .


Vasco Mariz, A canção brasileira, 5th ed. (1985).

Chris McGowan and Ricardo Pessanha, The Brazilian Sound: Samba, Bossa Nova, and the Popular Music of Brazil (1991).

Additional Bibliography

McCann, Bryan. Hello, Hello Brazil: Popular Music in the Making of Modern Brazil. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004.

Moraes, Mário de. Recordações de Ary Barroso: Ultimo depoimento, 2nd ed. Rio de Janeiro: Edição FUNARTE, 2003.

                                           Chris McGowan

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Barroso, Ary (1903–1964)

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