Today’s Google Doodle celebrates Brazilian composer and singer Lupicínio Rodrigues’ 105th Birthday, whose sentimental melodies made his name synonymous with the melodic genre samba-canção, otherwise called samba triste or “sad samba.”
Lupicínio Rodrigues was an extraordinary composer of samba-canção from the Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. He was the main exponent of a style of samba called Dor-de-Cotovelo. The term, truly “elbow pain”, translates as “heartbreak”.
Born on this day in 1914 in the city of Porto Allegre, Lupicínio Rodrigues was a master of dor-de-cotovelo music—which actually translates as “elbow pain music,” or songs that express heartache.
Raised in a family of modest means, Lupicínio Rodrigues lived in the southernmost Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, yet his dramatic songs were spread far and wide by sailors visiting his hometown, a well-known cruise ship port. “Carnaval,” one of his first compositions, won a challenge when Lupicínio Rodrigues was only 14 years of age.
Beginning during the 1940s and ’50s, his work was recorded by the most prevalent vocalists in Brazil, including Francisco Alves, Orlando Silva, Linda Batista, Nora Ney, Elza Soares, Gilberto Gil, and Jamelão—who in the long run recorded a whole album of his compositions.
Approached about the inspiration for his stories of jealousy, betrayal, and lost love, Lupicínio Rodrigues replied, “my life.” A family diary cited him as saying, “I’ve been suffering a lot at the hands of women, because I’m so sentimental, but I’ve also made fortunes from what they do to me.”
In honor of his 80th birthday celebration, his home state of Rio Grande do Sul announced the Lupicínio Rodrigues Cultural Year, a fitting tribute to the composer’s suffering artistry, loaded with pathos and passion.