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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Mário de Andrade on Elsie Houston 

Mário de Andrade:"Nos cantos brasileiros é um modelo. É a única de todas as nossas cantoras de concerto que de fato canta em brasileiro já".
In short, Elsie Houston is our only concert singer who actually sings in "Brazilian."

From "Brasileiro desvairado" by Herbert Carvalho. link.

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Maloka Elétrika on Elsie Houston 

For readers of Portuguese, Maloka Elétrika has a post about Elsie Houston that highlights her revolutionary spirit. It includes an excerpt from Pagu's journal about the French People's Front demonstration on July 14, 1935 (unfortunately, it doesn't translate well in BabelFish)

E a lembrança da noite de há doze anos quando Paris inteira cantava nas ruas a glória de ter sido realizado em suas ruas a Grande Revolução, quando fomos buscar Elsie Houston no seu pequenino apartamento onde ela estava sozinha, para que viesse para a rua cantar com a sua voz educadíssima na pauta da Carmagnole.

(It also features a little remix using an excerpt from one of Elsie Houston's cocos, a portrait that I had never seen before by Flavio de Carvalho, as well as a link to my page(for which I am grateful--thank you, Maloka Elétrika)).

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Benjamin Péret in Brazil 

An interesting article by Jean Puyade (in Portuguese--Babelfish comes to the rescue again) gives an account of the 1929-1931 years that fills in some blanks in the Elsie Houston story.

First, it confirms that Villa-Lobos was connected to Péret and Houston while he was living in Paris. Villa-Lobos wrote them letters of introduction that would greatly aid their research project into Brazilian folk culture. Péret also tried to get funding for the Brazil trip from Villa-Lobos's patrons, the Guinle brothers (his proposal was rejected).

Villa-Lobos's letter for Elsie Houston: "uma admirável cantora, primogênita de nossa nova raça brasileira, genuína em físico, alma e espírito"

Second, their arrival in Brazil in February 1929 was publicized in the press. Of particular interest was Peret's connection with the surrealism movement.

Third, the connection between Péret and Mario Pedrosa was enabled by Pierre Naville.

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Sunday, March 12, 2006

Elsie Houston's Apartment Building 

Elsie Houston's first New York residence was at 107 E. 63rd St.
Dr. Rita Lempel kindly sent us photos of the building and its beautiful entryway. (Unfortunately, other aspects of the building are not as attractive). I suspect not much has changed about the building since the 1930s. Thanks, Rita!

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Saturday, March 11, 2006

Elsie Houston photo from Etude 

This might be my favorite photo yet.

(from Etude, October 1941. The article, "Our Musical 'Good Neighbor' Policy: An Interview with Elsie Houston, Distinguished Brazilian Soprano," written by Verna Arvey.) Click on image for larger version.

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