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Caymmi, Dorival (1914–)

Caymmi, Dorival (1914–)

Dorival Caymmi (b. 1914), Brazilian songwriter. Beginning in the 1930s, Salvador-born Caymmi composed a wide variety of highly successful tunes that explored Bahian and Afro-Brazilian culture and were popularized by singers such as Carmen Miranda, Anjos do Inferno, Ângela Maria, João Gilberto, Elis Regina, Gal Costa, Gilberto Gil, and Caetano Veloso, as well as by foreign interpreters such as Andy Williams and Paul Winter. Caymmi worked in many different musical styles, including sambas, marchas, toadas, modinhas, canções praieiras (fishermen's songs), cocos, sambas de roda, and pontos de candomblé (candomblé invocations). Like novelist Jorge Amado, with whom he composed "é doce morrer no mar" (It's Sweet to Die in the Sea), he is closely identified with Bahian culture. Due to his unique style of singing and song-writing and the venerating themes of his music Caymmi is largely responsible for national image. His songs include folkloric influences from the streets of Bahia as well as guitar techniques unique to his music.

Caymmi gained fame with "O que é que a baiana tem?" (What Is It That the Baiana's Got?), sung by Carmen Miranda in the films Banana da terra (1938) and Greenwich Village (1944); Caymmi recorded a duet with the actress in 1939. Other Caymmi standards include: "Samba da minha terra" (Samba of My Land), "Marina," "Nem eu" (Me Neither), "Saudade de Itapoã," "Oração de mae menininha" (a tribute to a famed mae-de-santo in Salvador), "Rosa morena," "Saudade da Bahia," "João Valentão," "Requebre que eu dou um doce," "Doralice," "Das rosas," and "Promessa de pescador" (Promise of a Fisherman). His three children (singer Nana, singer-songwriter Dori, and flutist-composer Danilo) are also musicians.

See alsoMusic: Popular Music and Dance .


Dorival Caymmi, Cancioneiro da Bahia (1978).

Rita Caúrio, ed., Brasil Musical (1988).

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

Additional Bibliography

Caymmi, Stella. Dorival Caymmi: O mar e o tempo. São Paulo: Editora 34, 2001.

Risério, Antonio. Caymmi: Uma utopis de lugar. São Paulo: Editora Perspectiva, 1993.

                                      Chris McGowan

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