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Djavan Biography

Recognized worldwide as one of Brazil's biggest musical stars, Djavan is a prolific and inspired singer-songwriter. He fuses bossa nova, samba and Bahian rhythms with jazz, pop, funk and R&B. Singing with a rich, expressive voice, Djavan creates innovative, poignant music filled with poetic images, honesty and humility. Djavan's international success has led his songs to be covered by artists such as Al Jarreau, Carmen McRae, The Manhattan Transfer, and top Brazilian Artists such as Gal Costa, Daniela Mercury, Caetano Veloso and others.

Djavan (pronounced Dee-jah-van) was born Djavan Caetano Viana in 1949 in Maceio, a town in Brazil's northeastern state of Alagoas. Djavan started playing music at the age of 16, first playing in a Beatles cover band. He began his professional career in 1973 when he moved to Rio de Janeiro to record songs for Brazilian soap operas. Djavan became a national name when his song 'Fato Consumado' (Consummated Facted) won second place at the Abertura Festival. The song became known all over Brazil and enabled him to release his first album. With his first three recordings on EMI, Djavan established himself as one of Brazil's top musicians with his major hit songs 'Meu Bem Querer' and Seduzir.'

In 1982, Djavan signed with Sony Music (then CBS Brazil) and released Luz (Light) in 1983. Luz was recorded in the United States with his band Sururu de Capote and guest musicians Stevie Wonder, Hubert Laws and Ernie Watts. The lavishly produced recording was immensely popular in Brazil, where Djavan was fast becoming a superstar. Just a year later, Djavan performed his first United States concert at the Avery Fischer Hall in New York City and quickly became an international sensation. Quincy Jones became one of the most enthusiastic supporters of his international career and signed him to Qwest Records.

From the late 1980s through the mid-1990s, Djavan was incredibly prolific, releasing a new album almost every year. Lilas (Lilac) was produced in the US in 1984, and Meu Lado (My Side) marked a return to his Brazilian roots in 1986. His 1987 recording Nao e Azul Mas e Mar was released internationally in 1989 under the name of Bird of Paradise and included three tracks in English. He hit number one on all Brazilian charts in 1989 with Oceano, an album that featured famed Paco de Lucia on the track 'Curumim.'. In 1990, the international version of the album was released as Puzzle of Hearts with five of the songs re-recorded in English. In 1992, he released Coisa de Acender which produced the hit single 'Se' and marked a first-time partnership with Caetano Velosa on another track. In 1994, he put out Novena, which he wrote, arranged and produced, as well as Esquinas, a Spanish album targeted to the Latino market. In 1996, Mal Sia reached Platinum status in Brazil, selling over 250,000 copies. In 1998, he released his thirteenth album O Bicho Solto - O XIII (The Free Animal - The XIII) which hit gold in Brazil with sales over 200,000 units.

In 1999, Djavan recorded his first live album Ao vivo, a celebration of his artistic path of nearly thirty years. Recorded at the Joao Caetano Theater in Rio de Janeiro, Ao vivo would become his most popular album ever, reaching Diamond Record status with over 1.2 million copies sold. The album featured old and new songs alike, including 'Acelerou' which would go on to win Best Brazilian Song at the inaugural Latin Grammy Awards. Djavan won Multishow awards for Best CD, Best Show, and Best Singer following the release of the album.

Djavan is touring in support of his album Aria which was released this past August. On the new album, Djavan pays tribute to the artists that influenced him by performing a selection of cover songs rather than his own compositions. His live performance will continue this theme, including songs by Antonio Carlos Jobim, Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso and more.


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