From Elsie Houston to Carmen Miranda by Iara Renno

By Mochilla | July 29, 2011

On last Sunday before Stevie Wonder took Los Angeles on a Global Soul journey at the Hollywood Bowl. A different journey was being tracked by a young singer from Brasil in front of Graumanns Chinese Theatre. In one take here unedited, covering the song made famous by songstress Elsie Houston – Iara Renno traced the journey of another young Brasilian of Portuguese descent Carmen Miranda.
Iara is a good friend of Mochilla and a third generation singer/songwriter. She looked after us when we went to premiere Timeless in Rio. She has a keen sense of history especially of the twenties and thirties. Her Operatic Ballet based on Macunaima the famous magical, allegorical novel by ethno-musicologist Mario de Andrade is an inspiring piece. To see her work an unsuspecting crowd on Hollywood Boulevard on Sunday reminds us of the era when CGI and Darth Vader impersonators didn’t exist.

B+

IN MEMORY OF ELSIE HOUSTON
By Iara Renno
tupyqueen.tnb.art.br

eh eh eh
eh eh ah
where is my turtledove
who fled the cage…

Turtledove, a traditional song, was recorded in the 30’s by Elsie Houston. She was the daughter of a father from the U.S and a mother in Rio. She is Carmen Miranda’s contemporary, a friend of Pagu and Mário de Andrade. Elsie was part of this group of artists who invented indigenous Brazilian culture. Today I find myself entranced by their memory and, like them (Carmen and Elsie), somehow I ended up here in ‘Los Angeles’. My mother has the last name Miranda (no relation), and I am the turtledove, whose destiny is to sing and fly around the world.