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Brazil: Famous Singer Pays Homage to Her Iconic Mother

Thirty years after the death of Elis Regina, one of the most iconic performers within the Brazilian music scene, her daughter Maria Rita, a successful singer in her own right, took to the stage to sing her mother's songs for the first time in her career. Maria Rita already has a ten year long singing career behind her, selling more than one millon copies of her first album.

The ‘Viva Elis’ or ‘Long Live Elis’ tour of free concerts covered the Brazilian cities of Porto Alegre, Recife, Belo Horizonte, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, finishing, symbolically, on May 13, 2012, Mothers’ Day. The tour became a trending topic on Twitter [pt] both in Brazil and worldwide.

Elis Regina, known as ‘Pimentinha’ or ‘Little Pepper’ because of her fiery temper, had an intense, powerful stage presence which became her trademark. The singer first became known with the song ‘Arrastão’ which won the prestigious Brazilian Popular Music Festival [pt] in 1965.

Due to her prominence in the Brazilian music scene, following her death Elis left behind many fans who missed her voice. Comparisons between her and her daughter were inevitable when Maria Rita arrived on the scene with a similar sound. However, the daughter chose to make a career outside of her mother's influence, never performing songs that her mother had sung. Until now.

Maria Rita performing in São Paulo, May 5, 2012 by Instagram user @rocharonald, used with permission

Maria Rita performing in São Paulo, May 5, 2012 by Instagram user @rocharonald, used with permission

Jéssica Rodrigues, from Portal Maria Rita blog, describes [pt] the fervent reaction of the audience in Belo Horizonte on April 8, 2012:

A platéia se divide ao longo do show em participar ativamente, cantando, vibrando e empolgando e em outros momentos, a serem meros espectadores, silenciando para contemplar as obras como sinal de devoção, tamanha a genialidade e emoção.

Throughout the show the audience changes between active participation, singing, humming and swaying and, at other times, silent contemplation during the songs as a mark of devotion. These are very emotional moments.

The shows enabled a meeting of generations through the audience of fans of Elis Regina and Maria Rita. In São Paulo, Maria Rita told the crowd [pt] that she could get to know her mother better through her music, since Rita was only four years old when Elis died. Fans of Maria Rita also got to know Elis’ work through her daughter's voice, as twitter user Carla Santos tweeted [pt] to Maria Rita:

Seu objetivo foi alcançado. Hoje na fila aqui em BH [Belo Horizonte], tinha fãs seus,que estão conhecendo melhor sua mãe. Graças a você. Parabéns!

You achieved your goal. Today in the queue at Belo Horizonte were fans of your music who are now getting to know your mother better. Thanks to you. Congratulations!

Fefeu, from the Clube da MPB blog, describes [pt] how the same thing happened in São Paulo:

A diversidade do público presente tornou o ambiente ainda mais bonito e agradável. Fãs de Elis, pertencentes a antigas gerações, os quais tiveram importantes passagens de suas histórias marcadas por canções alegres ou tristes interpretadas por ela, sentiram-se ainda mais emocionados quando Maria Rita entrou em cena explicitando expressões corporais, trejeitos, coreografia e timbre muito próximos aos de sua mãe. Foi como voltar no tempo.

The diversity of the audience made ​​the atmosphere even more beautiful and pleasing. Fans of Elis from older generations who have had important moments of their lives marked by her songs were thrilled when Maria Rita came on stage sounding and looking so much like her mother, even moving and dancing in the same way. It was like stepping back in time.

Photos taken by fans flooded the social networks following the concerts. Twitter user Dudinha Sales [pt] shared an image of the crowd at the concert in Recife:

Crowd at Maria Rita Concert, Recife, April 1, 2012, by Twitter user @mdudasales, used with permission

Crowd at Maria Rita Concert, Recife, April 1, 2012, by Twitter user @mdudasales, used with permission

Carol Mendonça captured [pt] the energy of the concert in São Paulo:

Maria Rita sings Elis in São Paulo, May 5, 2012. Photo by Flickr user Carol Mendonça, used with permission

Maria Rita sings Elis in São Paulo, May 5, 2012. Photo by Flickr user Carol Mendonça, used with permission

As well as sending texts and taking photos, fans of Maria Rita and Elis Regina also recorded videos of the tour. A search with the words ‘Maria Rita Elis Regina’ returned dozens of recordings. YouTube user ‘smaila’ posted a video of Maria Rita speaking of her relationship with the songs of Elis Regina.

This post was sub-edited by Jane Ellis.

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