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Beth Carvalho (1946 - 2019), Brazilian "godmother of samba"

Lionel FLUSIN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

She was a popular performer at Carnival

Beth Carvalho was Brazil's "godmother of samba," an exuberant singer who fought for women's place in the traditionally male-dominated genre. She was a popular performer at Carnival, Brazil's annual festival that ushers in Lent. Among her songs was the joyful "Coisinha do Pai," which was included as a wake-up track on the 1997 Pathfinder mission to Mars. Carvalho was dedicated to giving a voice to upcoming artists, as well as spotlighting the compositions of traditional composers, recording their songs to bring them to new ears. She was honored by the Latin Grammys in 2009 with a lifetime achievement award.

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Died: April 30, 2019 (Who else died on April 30?)

Details of death: Died in Rio de Janeiro of sepsis at the age of 72.


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Carvalho on women in samba: “I am sad to know that women still don't feel comfortable sitting down in a samba circle. This is terrible. I hope my contribution helped.”

What people said about her: “Our heart goes out to the family and fans of Beth Carvalho, a Brazilian Samba icon that leaves us with a legacy of beautiful and powerful music and a strong living presence.” —statement from the Latin Grammys

“This image is what for me best captures the power of #BethCarvalho, the godmother of Brazilian samba. She was often the only woman at the table. And it wasn't because she was someone's girlfriend, or a woman there just to have a woman. It's because her love of samba was pure.” —journalist Shannon Sims

Full obituary: Washington Post

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