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Manezinho Araújo

Date Born.:

Singer, military


Manezinho Araújo

Article available in: PT-BR

Last update: 30/03/2020

By: Semira Adler Vainsencher - N/I

On 27 September 1910 in Cabo, Pernambuco, Manuel Pereira de Araújo was born, known as Manezinho Araújo. He was the son of Joventina Pereira de Araújo and José Brasilino de Araújo, an employee who worked for forty years at the Great Western Company.

Manezinho’s childhood was spent in the neighbourhood of Casa Amarela in Recife. As a teenager, he would meet Minona Carneiro – a great drummer who was his teacher and promoter – and through him came to fall in love with music. Manezinho Araújo would be one of the greatest promoters and interpreters of the embolada.

But what is embolada? It is one of the most original forms of folk music in Northeast Brazil. In a humorous way, the embolador talks about people, facts, recounting advantages as if they were a chronicler. Some consider that the embolada has its origin in the cordel literature and that it is always related to it.

In 1930, Manezinho enlisted as a soldier in the revolutionary army. When his platoon arrived in Bahia, however, the government had surrendered and the troop won a trip to Rio de Janeiro as a prize and he became a sergeant. In Rio, however, he went hungry, and he sang in cabarets in order to survive.

Luckily, he met some musicians and started performing on radio shows as a drummer. Manezinho was then scheduled to sing on Rádio Mayrink Veiga on Mondays and Fridays and perform in several states. Over time, he became known as “the king of embolada”.

The first Brazilian artist to record commercial jingles for important companies, and to be hired to advertise industrialised products was Manezinho Araújo. In this sense, he participated in the campaign of the Lifeboy products, and was contracted by a factory – Óleo de Peroba. After that, he received an invitation from Ademar Casé to sing twice a week on Rádio Phillips.

As he was very hospitable, the composer had the idea of setting up a restaurant – Cabeça Chata – whose meals were developed by his wife Alaíde – Dona Lalá. Manezinho Araújo used to sing to entertain the customers.

His restaurant was frequented by countless national and international personalities such as Edith Piaf, Yul Brynner, Carmen Miranda, Villa-Lobos, Cacilda Becker, Rachel de Queiroz and many others. The most prized food on the spot was Dona Lalá's bobo de camarão [shrimp broth].

It is worth noting that from the late 1930s until the 1950s, Manezinho recorded more than fifty 78 rpms discs and four LPs. His compositions were also covered by several Brazilian singers. With Odeon, in particular, he had an eight-year contract.

In Rio de Janeiro, besides nightclubs and casinos, Manezinho worked at the Tupi, Guanabara and Mayrink Veiga radio stations. When he moved to São Paulo, he joined Record.

It is possible to affirm that the interest of the southerners in Northeast folklore and music is due to Manezinho Araújo, who also participated in several Brazilian films (whether singing or telling a story), as well as 22 Atlântida newsreels. In 1945, when he recorded the calango Dezessete e setecentos [Seventeen and Seven Hundred], written by Luis Gonzaga and Miguel Lima, the composer was very successful.

Manezinho Araújo also worked as a journalist on radio and in the press, writing the column Rua do Pimenta in the magazine Revista do Rádio.

Some of his songs with Fernando Lobo were Cuma é o nome dele? [Whatz His Name?], Maria roxa [Purple Maria], Pra onde vai valente? [Where Are You Going Tough Guy?], De jeito nenhum [No Way], Ai, ai, ui, ui, Carrité do coroné, Vatapá, Amô de rede [Hammock Love], Tamanqueiro, and Vapó de caragola. With Ismael Neto, Manezinho composed Suspiro que vai e vem [Whisper That Comes and Goes]; with Hervê Clodovil, Rua do sol [Street of the Sun], Tem dó [Have Mercy] and A saudade é de matar [Longing Kills]; and with Carvalinho, Ele [He].

In addition to these songs, Manezinho Araújo composed Ai, cachaça!, A nêga do doce, Não sei a hora [I Don’t Know the Time], Como tem Zé na Paraíba [So Many Joes in Paraíba], Na base da chinela [In the Sole of the Slipper], Não entendo essa mulher [I Don’t Understand This Woman], Quadro negro [Blackboard] and Baião do bambolê.

In 1954, at the age of 44, the composer left the music saying that he had “hung up his boots.” As a farewell, he held a great concert at the Tijuca Tennis Club.

Manezinho, however, being a polyvalent and special being, began to devote himself to painting in the early 1960s. It all began when his wife acquired an English engraving to decorate the house. Manezinho looked at the picture and said: “I can do better than that!” to which Dona Lalá responded at once: “Then do it!”

The big challenge was coming. Self-taught, and saying “blind in technique,” Manezinho began with watercolour and gouache without any guidance, culminating in oil painting when his wife gave him a set of paints for his birthday. In pure primitive style, the artist painted scenes of childhood, youth and maturity on the canvas, depicting the roots of Northeast Brazil. He painted cities, landscapes, stilt houses, boatmen, marinas, fishermen and Bahia women.

So from being a famous singer, Manezinho Araújo became one of the most respected artists in Brazil, when it comes to primitive style. He held more than thirty exhibitions and his paintings have always sold well. Some of his paintings are found in regional museums, such as São Luís (MA), Araxá (MG), Feira de Santana (BA). Two of his prints by are even exhibited in the museum of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, in Lisbon, Portugal.

Manezinho Araújo died in São Paulo on 23 May 1993.


Recife, 6 April 2004.
(Updated on 8 October 2009).
Translated by Peter Leamy, December 2016.


sources consulted

ACERVO da Fonoteca da Fundação Joaquim Nabuco, até 2003.

LUCCA JÚNIOR, Domingos de. As três artes de Manezinho Araújo. City News, São Paulo, ano 12, n. 636, 20 dez. 1977. Cidade em Notícias, p. 72.

MANEZINHO Araújo (Manuel Pereira de Araújo). [S.n. t.]. Acervo da Fonoteca da Fundação Joaquim Nabuco. Mimeografado.

MANEZINHO Araújo, profissão artista. Diario de Pernambuco, Recife, 31 maio 1981. Viver, secção B, p. 1.

MARCONDES, Marcos Antônio (Org.). Enciclopédia da música brasileira: erudita, folclórica e popular. 2. ed. São Paulo: Art Editora, 1998.

MARCONI, Celso. Manezinho Araújo, ladrão de purezas. Jornal do Commercio, Recife, 31 maio 1981. Artes plásticas, p. 3.

how to quote this text

Source: VAINSENCHER, Semira Adler. Manezinho Araújo. Pesquisa Escolar Online, Fundação Joaquim Nabuco, Recife. Disponível em: <>. Acesso em: dia  mês ano. Ex: 6 ago. 2009.