Artist Profiles: Virginia Rodrigues

Virginia Rodrigues – Photo by Mario Cravo Neto


Virginia Rodrigues was born in Salvador, Brazil, December 31, 1964. Virginia Rodrigues is a woman of humble origins who grew up in Salvador de Bahia. She spent her youth singing in church choirs and Afro-Brazilian candomble ceremonies. She was invited to participate in the Olodum Theater, a musical theater open to young people from the favelas (shanty homes), where legendary artist Caetano Veloso first heard her. Captivated by her voice, he immediately asked her to record for his label, Natasha Records, with the help of Olodum director Marcio Meireles.

Virginia’s first concerts in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo were a tremendous success. Sophisticated Brazilian critics and media were left speechless and often in tears. Her visits to Expo ’98 in Lisbon and New York City left these audiences equally amazed at the power and beauty of her voice.

Caetano Veloso wrote about producing her debut album, “This is our wealth: the love that in Brazil those who love music devote to one another. No one takes this from us. And the voice of Virginia is as the expression of this loving substance in a pure state.”

Virginia’s second CD, Nos, was produced by cellist Jacques Morelembaum. A work of great beauty, the CD features Virginia’s unique interpretation, simultaneously ceremonial and rhythmic, of traditional Bahian standards.

On Mares Profundos, Virginia Rodrigues, along with her mentor Caetano Veloso and producer/guitarist Luiz Brasil, presents a fascinating look at Afro-Bahian music and culture. Her album is devoted to the “Afro Sambas”, a legendary collection of songs written by Vinicius de Moraes and Baden Powell. De Moraes, the author of the lyrics of most great songs of bossa nova, such as “Girl From Ipanema” and the film music of Orfeo Negro, wrote a series of sambas that pay a tribute to the African culture of Bahia.


Virginia Rodrigues – Photo by Mario Cravo Neto


Sol Negro (Natasha Records/Hannibal, 1998)
Nós (Natasha Records/Hannibal, 2000)
Mares Profundos (Natasha Records/Deutsche Grammophon, 2004)
Recomeço (Biscoito Fino, 2008)
Mama Kalunga (Tratore, 2015)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several 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 and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.


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