Artist Profiles: Monica Salmaso

Monica Salmaso

Mônica Salmaso was born February 27, 1971 in, Sao Paulo, Brazil. She rose to fame in 1999 when she won the Visa-mastercard-Eldorado Prize for best singer in Brazil among 1200 contestants nationwide. After releasing Voadeira, Salmaso was also named best singer by the Associacao Paulista dos Criticos de Arte, the association of the Brazilian press.

Salmaso released her CD Iaiá on World Village on November 9, 2004. On the album Salmaso pays tribute to a vast array of Brazilian legends and songwriters. The word iaiá is a shortened version of sinhá, which is the way Brazilian slaves pronounced senhora (which means missus or lady).

On Iaiá, Salmaso pays homage to Tom Ze, Clementina de Jesus (the granddaughter of African slaves, a woman who began singing professionally late in life after serving as a housekeeper for over twenty years); Rodolfo Stroeter, Moreira da Silva, and Dorival Caymmi. African-rooted beliefs of Brazil show through on two songs on the album. Estrela de Oxum tells of a girl who while singing near a river awakens Oxum, the Goddess of the river, according to the Afro-Brazilian religion of Candomble. The poem was originally faxed to her by author and album-producer Rodolfo Stroeter as soon as he wrote it. Candomble’s Goddess of the sea, Iemanja is invoked in Dorival Caymmi’s Doce Morrer No Mar (It’s Sweet to Die in the Sea?), about the families who wait for their fishermen fathers and sons who never return from the powerful and mysterious ocean.

In 2011 Mônica Salmaso released the album Alma Lírica Brasileira conceived in trio with her husband Teco Cardoso (saxophones and flutes) and the conductor Nelson Ayres (piano). That year Salmaso won the 23rd Prêmio da Música Brasileira Award as best singer of Brazilian Music.

The album Corpo de Baile came out in 2014 featuring 14 songs composed by Guinga and Paulo Cesar Pinheiro. Corpo de Baile won the 26th Prêmio da Música Brasileira in in 2015.


Afro-sambas (Pau Brasil, 1995)
Trampolim (Eldorado, 1998)
Voadeira (Pau Brasil, 1999)
Iaiá (Biscoito Fino/World Village, 2004)
Noites de Gala, Samba na Rua (Biscoito Fino, 2007)
Nem 1 ai (Pau Brasil, 2008)
Noites de Gala, ao vivo (Biscoito Fino, 2009)
Alma Lírica Brasileira (Biscoito Fino, 2011)
Corpo de Baile (Biscoito Fino, 2014)
Caipira (Biscoito Fino, 2017)


Noites de Gala, Samba na Rua (2008)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.


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