Iara Rennó – From Elsie Houston to Carmen Miranda

By - 07 August, 2011

Video filmed in Los Angeles in July 2011 by Mochilla featuring Iara Rennó performing a tribute to Elsie Houston and Carmen Miranda on Hollywood Boulevard. We were already big fans of Iara’s, featuring her on our New Sounds of Sao Paulo compilation but performances like this just make us love her even more!

Here’s B+ from Mochilla describing the film:

On last Sunday before Stevie Wonder took Los Angeles on a Global Soul journey at the Hollywood Bowl. A different journey was being tracked by a young singer from Brasil in front of Graumanns Chinese Theatre. In one take here unedited, covering the song made famous by songstress Elsie Houston – Iara Renno traced the journey of another young Brazilian of Portuguese descent Carmen Miranda. Iara is a good friend of Mochilla and a third generation singer/songwriter. She looked after us when we went to premiere Timeless in Rio. She has a keen sense of history especially of the twenties and thirties. Her Operatic Ballet based on Macunaíma the famous magical, allegorical novel by ethno-musicologist Mario de Andrade is an inspiring piece. To see her work an unsuspecting crowd on Hollywood Boulevard on Sunday reminds us of the era when CGI and Darth Vader impersonators didn’t exist.

In Memory of Elsie Houston
By Iara Renno

Ê ê ê / eh eh eh
ê ê ah / eh eh ah
cadê minha pomba-rola / where is my turtledove
que fugiu lá do pombal… / who fled the cage…

Turtledove, a traditional song, was recorded in the 30’s by Elsie Houston. She was the daughter of a father from the U.S and a mother in Rio. She is Carmen Miranda’s contemporary, a friend of Pagu and Mário de Andrade. Elsie was part of this group of artists who invented indigenous Brazilian culture. Today I find myself entranced by their memory and, like them (Carmen and Elsie), somehow I ended up here in ‘Los Angeles’. My mother has the last name Miranda (no relation), and I am the turtledove, whose destiny is to sing and fly around the world.


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