Diná de Oliveira
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Last update: 02/04/2018
On 2 March 1907, in Recife, Pernambuco, Esmeraldina da Rosa Borges was born. Her parents were Colonel Alfredo Bartholomeu da Rosa Borges and Mrs Josefina Sarmento Marinho. Esmeraldina attended Colégio Santa Margarida in Recife, and Colégio Sion in Rio de Janeiro.
She married Valdemar de Oliveira, and two sons were born from this union – Reinaldo and Fernando – known as the Brothers Oliveira. In a time when very few women worked outside the private sphere, Esmeraldina performed various professional activities, being a teacher, journalist (writing, usually for magazines and local newspapers) and sectional education inspector. These inspectorates, with time, were transformed into regional offices. She worked as an inspector for more than 35 years, after which she retired.
In 1941, at the foundation of Pernambuco Amateur Theatre – now called the Valdemar de Oliveira Theatre – the courageous Esmeraldina dared to act in the theatre, becoming one of the best actresses in Pernambuco, and becoming known as Diná de Oliveira. She played the roles of a number of consecrated playwrights, such as Shakespeare (in Macbeth) and Garcia Lorca (in Bodas de Sangue and A Casa de Bernarda Alba). However, it was for her performance in the play Um Sábado em 30 [A Saturday in ’30] by Luiz Marinho that she obtained her greatest success.
Having studied piano for many years, Diná specialised in this musical instrument, managing to achieve a technical level so good that it allowed her to play in concerts, both solo and with three pianos.
Stimulated by Valdemar and her children, Diná would also become an instrumentalist and composer. One of her compositions, Sala de Visitas do Nosso Carnaval [The Living Room of Our Carnival], took second place in a contest to choose the Carnival anthem of the Recife International Club. It is worth pointing out that Reinaldo and Fernando won first place, and her husband was third.
Diná composed the frevo piece Festa Barata [Cheap Party] (which in 1970 won third place in TV Radio Club’s 2nd Festival of Frevo); and frevo song Não Adianta [No Point], recorded by singer Expedito Baracho in 1971. The maracatu Dona Santa no Céu [Mrs Santa in the Sky] was ranked first in the maracatu category in the TV Jornal do Commercio and the Metropolitan Tourism Company of Recife (EMETUR) Festival of Carnival Music in 1976.
With the support of her family, she composed the frevo-de-bloco Onde Andará Maria? [Where Will be Maria?], which received first place in TV Radio Club’s 2nd Frevo Festival – the Tupy (now extinct), and in 1996 it was recorded on Saudade Bloco’s CD Saudade Vai Passar [Saudade Will Pass By].
Below are the lyrics of the song Onde Andará Maria?
Quando eu ouvia [When I used to hear]
Vindo de longe [Coming from afar]
A orquestra do meu bloco [The orchestra of my Carnival block]
De braços dados com Maria [Arm and arm with Maria]
Cantava alegre [I would sing happily]
Até o romper do dia. [Till the break of day]
Meu Deus do céu [My God in heaven]
Meu Deus do céu [My God in heaven]
Onde andará Maria? [Where will Maria be?]
Maria Sorrindo [Maria smiling]
O povo na rua [The people in the street]
Cantava, cantava, cantava. [Singing, singing, singing.]
Maria dançando [Maria dancing]
O mundo que gira [The world spinning]
Parava, parava, parava. [Stopping, stopping, stopping]
Em toda a cidade [In all the city]
O que era tristeza [What was sad]
Virava alegria [Became happy]
E eu era feliz [I was happy]
Carregando em meus braços Maria. [Carrying Maria in my arms.]
Diná de Oliveira died on 8 October 1998 aged 91, and was buried in Santo Amaro Cemetery.
Recife, 24 February 2005.
Updated on 22 November 2007.
Translated by Peter Leamy, August 2016.
Updated on 02 april 2018.
BARRETO, José Ricardo Paes; PEREIRA, Margarida M. de Souza; GOMES, Maria J. Pereira. Dicionário dos compositores carnavalescos pernambucanos. Recife: Cia Pacífica, 2001.
CÂMARA, Renato Phaelante da. MPB: compositores pernambucanos: coletânea bio-músico fonográfica, 1920-1995. Recife: Fundaj, Ed. Massangana, 1997. 149 p. (Estudos e pesquisas, 96).
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Source: VAINSENCHER, Semira Adler. Diná de Oliveira. Pesquisa Escolar Online, Fundação Joaquim Nabuco, Recife. Disponível em: <http://basilio.fundaj.gov.br/pesquisaescolar/>. Acesso em: dia mês ano. Ex: 6 ago. 2009.