Sivuca Sivuca

Severino (Sivuca) Dias de Oliveira was a Brazilian accordionist and guitarist. In addition to in his home state of Paraíba, in Recife, and in Rio de Janeiro, he worked and lived in Paris, Lisbon, and New York on and off throughout his life.

He is best known internationally for his work with Scandinavian jazz musicians in the 1980s. His most famous songs are the Brazilian popular classic João e Maria with lyrics by Chico Buarque and the accordion standard Feira de Mangaio. He is famous for his use of makeshift instruments playing alongside conventional ones and for his versatility, fusing traditional regional styles such as forró and Chorinho with jazz, bossa, classical, and other musical forms.

Sivuca and Hermeto Pascoal, both versatile multi-instrumentalists with albinism, have worked together and are sometimes confused with each other.

His professional career began in Pernambuco where he went at the age of 15, and continued in his first album with Humberto Teixeira (1950), leading to work in radio and television in Rio de Janeiro from 1955. With “Os Brasileiros” he toured Europe (1958). He moved to New York (1964-76) and worked with Miriam Makeba and Harry Belafonte among others. Archival footage of his work with Makeba can be seen in Mika Kaurismäki's documentary Mama Africa (2011).

He recorded with Putte Wickman (P.W. & Sivuca, 1969), Ulf Wakenius's “Guitars Unlimited” (1987) and Sylvia Vrethammar (Rio de Janeiry Blue, 1985; Rendezvois in Rio, 1995). His “Sivuca Brazilian Group” toured Scandinavia in 1990.

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