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Elza da Conceição Soares (Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil, June 23, 1937) is a Brazilian singer and composer of samba, bossa nova and MPB.
She is the daughter of the worker and guitarist Alaúrdes Gomes Soares, who was her great music teacher, and of the maid Josefa Maria da Conceição Soares. Born and raised in a favela in Rio de Janeiro, she experienced poverty firsthand.
At twelve she was forced by her father to marry Lourdes Antônio Soares and at thirteen, she already had a son, João Carlos. Later they would have several more and two of them would die because of hunger. This marriage would be marked by the violence of Lourdes, who once shot his wife in the arm, since he believed that the singers were prostitutes.
At age 21, she was widowed by her husband and had to take care of her five children.
In January 1962, he began a relationship that would last fifteen years with the Brazilian soccer player Garrincha, who at that time was married and with children. Public opinion was very critical of what would later be the marriage between both figures, especially with Elza. Her albums stopped selling and she was marginalized.
In 1968, the couple got married in the Bolivian Embassy in the city of São Paulo, because the divorce was not legal until that moment. This relationship would be quite conflictive, since the strong criticism of Brazilian society was compounded by the alcoholism of the soccer player and the physical abuse that was done to the singer.
In April 1969, she suffered a traffic accident in a car driven by her husband while intoxicated. In it his mother traveled, who died on the spot. Elza, her daughter Sara and Garrincha left unharmed.
After eight years of the beginning of the couple, they were forced by the military dictatorship to leave the country, settling in Italy. They returned to Brazil in 1976, the year Manoel Francisco dos Santos Filho was born, Garrinchinha, the only son of the couple.
Finally, Soares abandoned the Brazilian soccer star, who died of cirrhosis at 49 years of age in 1983.
In 1986, with the loss of her son Garrinchinha in a traffic accident, she experienced a severe depression that led her to attempt suicide. It was then that he left his country and his career for a long time, living alternately in Europe and the United States. In spite of everything, he managed to recover from this tragedy and revitalize his career, returning to Brazil in 1994.
Elza Soares is an example of overcoming: she went through a life marked by misery and violence, but she never gave up, singing and smiling to life.
On July 26, 2015, he suffered the loss of his son Gilson Soares, 59 years old, due to complications derived from a urinary tract infection.
Next to be eighty years old in 2017, the diva of the samba continues to perform live, despite the hip problems that drag from a fall occurred in 1999. It is currently considered one of the legends of Brazilian art.
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