Brazilian bossa nova king Caymmi dies

Aug. 19, 2008 at 10:45 AM
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RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Dorival Caymmi, hailed as one of the founders of Brazilian popular music, has died at 94 in Rio de Janeiro, officials said.

Local media reports said the cause of the singer-songwriter's Saturday death was multiple organ failure, The New York Times said Tuesday.

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva praised Caymmi as one of the country's greatest musical forces. His 60-year career included laying the foundations of modern Brazilian bossa nova music and his influence is deeply felt in every corner of the country's culture, The Times said.

Caymmi wrote Carmen Miranda's first hit song and his musical ideas were expressed by Brazil's most noteworthy musicians, including Antonio Carlos Jobim, Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil.

Caymmi's sound will forever be associated with Brazil's beach scene, with its romantic and sultry overtones evoking images of bikini-clad women, hot sun and pounding surf.

His first hit, "O Que é Que a Baiana Tem?" ("What Is It That a Baiana Has?") -- a "Baiana" is a woman from Bahia, Caymmi's birthplace -- was written when he was 16 and turned Carmen Miranda into an international star. Other songs like "Marina" (1944) and "O Samba da Minha Terra" (1941) had huge influences on the development of Brazilian bossa nova, the newspaper said.

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