Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

(b 19 October 1918, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; d 9 July 1980) Poet, lyricist, occasional singer; a key figure in Brazilian popular music. Combining a Bohemian lifestyle as a poet and lyricist with a career in the Brazilian diplomatic service, he was the most important influence in the modern Brazilian trad. of using good poetry as song lyrics. With Tom Jobim he wrote several classic bossa nova songs; they also wrote the musical play Orfeu de Conceição (first performed in Rio '56, with sets by Oscar Niemeyer, later architect of Brasília), filmed as Orfeu de Carnaval '58, renamed Orfeu Negro ('Black Orpheus'), and with additional songs by Luiz Bonfá: 'Samba de Orfeu' and the hit 'Manhã de Carnaval'. Moraes collaborated with other composers including Carlinhos Lyra, Baden Powell (especially in their Afro-sambas developed from candomblé chants), Moacyr Santos, Edu Lobo and Toquinho. Love dominates the lyrics, reflecting Moraes's many romantic attachments. He left the foreign service '68; heavy drinking hastened his early death. There are four volumes of the Vinícius de Moraes Songbook (his songs sung by various artists), and a few albums with his own singing, rough but charming, such as Em São Paulo 1974 on Alfa with Toquinho and Quarteto.