Carmen Miranda

Article

August 12, 2022

Carmen Miranda GOIH OMC (née Maria do Carmo Miranda da Cunha; February 9, 1909 Marco de Canaveses – August 5, 1955) was a Portuguese-Brazilian singer, dancer, and actress. Her artistic career took place in Brazil and the United States between the 1930s and 1950s. She worked on radio, in revue, cinema and television. She was considered by Rolling Stone magazine as the 15th greatest voice of Brazilian music, being an international icon and symbol of Brazil abroad. She is the sister of actress and singer Aurora Miranda. Nicknamed the "Brazilian Bombshell", Miranda is known for her exotic costumes and fruity hat that she used to wear in her American films, which she has made her trademark. At a young age, she learned to make hats in a boutique before recording her first album with composer Josué de Barros in 1929. The recording of Ta-hí (Pra Vocar De Mim), written by Joubert de Carvalho, propelled her to stardom. in Brazil as the main performer of samba in the 1930s. At the time, she became the first artist to sign a work contract with a radio station in the country. Her growing success in the music industry secured her a place in the first sound films released in the 1930s. Carmen Miranda participated in five carnival musicals released in this period, such as Alô, Alô, Brasil (1935) and Alô, Alô, Carnaval (1936). In 1939, she appeared for the first time as a Bahian, a character that launched her internationally, in the film Banana da Terra, directed by Ruy Costa. The musical featured classics such as O que é que a baiana tem?, which launched Dorival Caymmi in the movies. In 1939, Broadway producer Lee Shubert offered Miranda an eight-week contract to appear on The Streets of Paris after see her at Cassino da Urca, in Rio de Janeiro. The following year, she made her American film debut in the film Serenata Tropical, alongside Don Ameche and Betty Grable. That year, Miranda was voted the third most popular personality in the United States, and was invited to perform along with her group, Bando da Lua, for President Franklin Roosevelt at the White House. Carmen Miranda was once the highest paid woman in the United States according to the US Treasury Department. She made a total of fourteen films in the US between the 1940s and 1950s, nine of them on 20th Century Fox alone. Although hailed as a talented artist, her popularity waned until the end of World War II. Her talent as a singer and performer, however, was often overshadowed by the exotic character of her performances. Miranda tried to rebuild her identity and escape the framing that her producers and the industry were trying to impose on her, but without achieving great progress. Her image became the embodiment of a generic Latin American exoticism that was embraced as singular and peculiar by US audiences and rejected as inauthentic and paternalistic by Brazilians. In fact, for all the stereotypes she faced throughout her career, her performances made great strides in popularizing Brazilian music, while also paving the way for increased awareness of the entire Latin culture. Latin American woman invited to imprint her hands and feet in the courtyard of Grauman's Chinese Theater in 1941. She also became the first South American woman to be honored with a star on the Walk of Fame. Her figure, far beyond music, would be a permanent influence on Brazilian culture, from Tropicália to cinema. . A museum was later built in Rio de Janeiro in her honor. In 1995, she was the subject of the acclaimed documentary Carmen Miranda: Banan