Dorival Caymmi – The Archetypal Bahian

Dorival Caymmi ( April 30, 1914 – August 16, 2008 ) was considered to be one of the most important songwriters in Brazilian popular music. The son of an Italian immigrant and a black Bahian woman, he had a distinctive style of his own and was the writer of many classic songs. The sambas, such as O Samba Da Minha Terra, have become standards of Música Popular Brasileira. He also wrote ballads celebrating the fearless fishermen of Bahia, including Promessa de Pescador and O Vento.

Although his songs celebrate the people of Bahia and he himself is enshrined in the popular Brazilian imagination as the archetypal Bahian, he moved to Rio de Janeiro to find fame in the 1930s and never moved back to Bahia.

He became a contemporary and sometimes rival of composer Ary Barroso and enjoyed a lifelong friendship with Bahian author Jorge Amado. Dorival Caymmi first achieved success in the late 1930s with Carmen Miranda, for whom he composed O Que é Que a Baiana Tem? (video below) He recorded for five decades, both singing solo with his own guitar accompaniment, and backed by bands and orchestras. In the 1960s many of his songs were covered by bossa nova pioneer João Gilberto, and he collaborated with Antonio Carlos Jobim. Among the many musicians heavily influenced by Dorival Caymmi are Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil.

Plus the song ‘Vatapá’ which he wrote, which was featured in the film Dona Flor & Her Two Husbands

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