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  • Writer's pictureLucas Lima

Whose Female Voice is Present in "O Cheiro da Carolina"

Music continues to set the tone for the June festivals happening throughout Brazil.

Luiz Gonzaga ao lado de Marinês, voz feminina na música "Cheiro de Carolina"
Luiz Gonzaga and Marinês

"O Cheiro da Carolina," a song that has transcended generational barriers and returned to the public's ears through viral boosts on social media, remains a staple at June festivals across Brazil. Originally recorded in 1956 by Luiz Gonzaga, the King of Baião, the track was composed by Zé Gonzaga and Amorim Roxo. The original recording is practically a duet, and much has been lost over time regarding its technical details. So, whose female voice is present in "O Cheiro da Carolina"?

This information is not readily available, so we had to turn to an expert: researcher Paulo Vanderley, author of the book "Luiz Gonzaga: 110 Years Since His Birth." Paulo has dedicated his entire life to researching the work of Gonzagão; he collects records, objects, and documents that trace the trajectory of the King of Baião.

According to Paulo, the voice that shares the track with Luiz Gonzaga in "O Cheiro da Carolina" belongs to Maria Inês Caetano de Oliveira, known as Marinês. Born in 1935 in the town of São Vicente Férrer (PE), she lived in Paraíba from a young age and began her musical career in 1951 at Rádio Cariri, in Campina Grande (PB).

She moved to Rio de Janeiro in 1956 after meeting Luiz Gonzaga and being persuaded by him to make the move. Gonzagão met Marinês a year earlier when she was performing alongside Abdias dos Oito Baixos and Cacau, who together formed the "Shock Patrol of the King of Baião."

Luiz Gonzaga ao lado da cantora Marinês
Luiz Gonzaga ao lado de Marinês - Revista Cruzeiro - 1956

From then on, Gonzaga became more than just an inspiration; their meeting sparked a partnership for other songs and projects. Marinês gained enough fame to be considered the queen of xaxado and became an icon for subsequent generations of northeastern artists, especially for Elba Ramalho, who produced the album "50 Anos de Forró," released in 1999 with previously unreleased recordings by Marinês and featuring musicians like Alceu Valença, Dominguinhos, Lenine, Moraes Moreira, Chico César, Genival Lacerda, and of course, Elba herself.

Marinês passed away in 2007 but remains an influential voice through the musical nuances that the Northeast brings to all of Brazil. Now, every time you hear "O Cheiro da Carolina," also remember Marinês, an important name in Brazilian music that should not be forgotten due to the disappearance of technical credits.

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