Show time: the gong, struck by sidekick Tião Macalé, put an abrupt end to many an amateur perfomer’s dreams of glory.


Born on 7 November in Ubá, Minas Gerais

Ary’s mother, Angelina, dies of tuberculosis, followed by his father, João Evangelista, two months later. Ary is cared for by grandma Gabriela and aunt Ritinha, who becomes his piano teacher

Hometown: Largo de São José, Ubá

With aunt Ritinha, Ary lays background music for silent movies; composes his first tune, the cateretê “De Longe.”

Ary inherits a small fortune and moves to Rio de Janeiro, where he studies law.

Young Yvonne: lasting love

Inheritance frittered away, Ary plays piano at movie theaters for a living. Falls in love with 13-year-old Yvonne Arantes.

First recordings: “Vou à Penha” (Odeon) and “Tu Queres Muito” (Parlophon).

Ary joins the Napoleão Tavares orchestra. First compositions performed on stage in the revue Laranja da China. Seven of his songs are recorded by Francisco Alves, Mario Reis, and Araci Cortes.

Ary wins the Casa Edison carnaval song competition for the marchinha “Dá Nela.” With the prize money, he marries Yvonne.

The Barroso family: Ary with Yvonne
and daughter Mariúza

Sílvio Caldas records “Faceira” and Elisinha Coelho records “No Rancho Fundo.” Both turn into classics.

Carmen Miranda releases “Na Batucada da Vida.”

Ary launches the amateur-talent radio program Calouros em Desfile, which turns into a long-running success and decades later becomes a popular TV show.

Carmen Miranda records the samba-jongo “Na Baixa do Sapateiro.”

The Flamengo knight by Mendez

Ary composes “Aquarela do Brasil” and “Camisa Amarela”; becomes a sports writer for the Rio newspaper O Jornal.

By invitation of Republic Pictures, Ary travels to Hollywood, where he composes the music score for the film Brazil. His song “Rio de Janeiro” is nominated for the Oscar.

Ary is elected to Rio’s city council; fights for the construction of Maracanã (still the world’s largest soccer stadium).

Honors: with Heitor Villa-Lobos

Ary Barroso is awarded the prestigious Ordem Nacional do Mérito.
Carmen Miranda dies in Hollywood.

With Bossa Nova poet Vinicius de Moraes, Ary writes the songs “Já Era Tempo” and “Rancho das Namoradas.”

Ary Barroso dies on 9 February, Carnaval Sunday.



Western frontier: the new state of Acre

Brazil buys a large chunk of the Amazon’s rain forest from Bolivia for 2 million pounds sterling, signs a treaty promising to build the Madeira-Mamoré railroad through the forest. The railroad was never completed. A year later, the state of Acre is incorporated into the Union.

World War I: trench combat

German U-boat attacks on Brazilian ships in the Atlantic generate intense political debate and force Brazil to enter World War I. Brazil is the only South American country in the conflict.

The Semana de Arte Moderna showcases new talents in literature, dance, music, theatre, and the visual arts, establishing São Paulo as the center of Modernismo in Brazil. Little of this avant-garde explosion penetrates the culturally conservative bastions of Rio de Janeiro.

1922: the explosion of Modernism

Unstable economic conditions and military unrest bring down the old oligarchies that have governed Brazil since the fall of the Empire in 1889. Getúlio Vargas seizes power, paving the way for the Estado Novo dictatorship.

Getúlio Vargas: nationalism in power

Resistance to Vargas’ coup results in a three-month civil war. Southern paulista troops rebel against the federal goverment and march toward Rio de Janeiro to force a new constitution. The military movement would fail, but Vargas capitalizes on the discontent by calling for a new constitution in 1934.

A rebellion inspired by the clandestine Brazilian Communist Party is quickly crushed in Natal, northern Brazil, and helps generate a long-lasting anti-communist sentiment among the military and the Brazilian elite.

WWII: Nazi goose steps in Warsaw

Carmen Miranda sails to New York, where she becomes an instant star.

The Wehrmacht invades Poland, and Britain and France declare war on Germany. In Brazil, the Vargas regime flirts with National Socialism but caves in to popular pressure and cuts a deal with the Allies. Brazil offers the U.S. air bases on its Atlantic coast and in 1942 sends an expeditionary force to fight the Axis in Italy. Again, Brazil is the only Latin American country to send troops to Europe.

On 4 September, pianist Eddy Duchin and his orchestra record the first U.S. version of “Aquarela do Brasil.”

Disney releases Saludos Amigos as part of the Good Neighbor Policy, turning “Aquarela do Brasil” into an international hit.

Pro-democracy movement at the end of WWII brings down the Vargas dictatorship; a new Constitution is written. Roads connecting Rio de Janeiro to Bahia and São Paulo are constructed. Brazil enters a new phase of intense industrialization, urban expansion, optimism, and political diversity.

The Brazilian government moves from Rio de Janeiro to the new capital Brasília, a modernistic city built in record time from the ground up on the fringe of the Amazon forest.

Censorship: the 1964 coup’s legacy

The military reacts negatively to social reforms proposed by the administration. On 30 March, troops occupy federal buildings, and generals take over the government. Congress is shut down, and censorship is imposed. The dictatorship would remain in power for twenty years.


Copyright © 1997–2012 Daniella Thompson & Ricardo Paoletti. All rights reserved.