Elizete Cardoso (1920 – 1990) was a legendary singer and actress. She was born in Rio de Janeiro. Her father was a serenade singer who played guitar and her mother was an amateur singer. Elizete began working at an early age and even charged an admittance fee from the other children who wanted to hear her sing.
Between 1930 and 1935, she was a store clerk and hairdresser among other things. Due to the low pay she earned working various jobs, she would soon begin performing at clubs, theatres and other venues. She was soon discovered by musician Jacob do Bandolim at her 16th birthday party. Jacób took her to Rádio Guanabara where, in spite of her father’s initial opposition, she appeared on the Programa Suburbano with Vicente Celestino, Araci de Almeida, Moreira da Silva, Noel Rosa and Marília Batista (all of whom were popular singers) on August 18, 1936. The following week, she was hired by the station to appear on a weekly program. In 1950, she found success with songs “Canção de Amor” and “Complexo”, a song composed by the great Wilson Batista. The success of “Canção de Amor” would lead to her first TV appearance in 1951, which was also the first TV program of TV Tupi in Rio de Janeiro, launching her film career.
She would continue to perform on various shows with multiple radio stations and in the 1960s she had her own radio show. In 1958, Cardoso was invited by legendary composer, Vinicius de Moraes to be the singer of an album of songs written by himself and Tom Jobim, perhaps Brazil’s most internationally recognized composers. “Canção do Amor Demais” became the first album of Bossa Nova music, launching the new genre. Although Cardoso was not primarily recognized as a Bossa Nova singer, she is the vocalist on the original version of the Bossa classic “Manhã de Carnaval” from the Orfeu Negro soundtrack.
Elizete continued to sing and act with great success until her passing. By the end of her life she had released over well over 40 albums in Brazil, Portugal and other countries. During a career of almost seven decades, she interpreted many forms of music but her base was always the Samba, which she performed with great distinction earning such nicknames as: A Noiva do Samba-Canção (the Bride of Samba), Lady do Samba, A Magnifica (the Magnificent One), and the moniker she is most recognized by, A Divina (the Divine One).