I’ve discovered Elza Soares back in 2016 when she released her experimental Afro-Brazilian album, A Mulher do Fim do Mundo (The Woman at the End of the World). Soares is considered a Brazilian hero, having amassed more than 5 decades of music (I gave up trying to count how many albums she actually produced) after exploding onto the MPB (música popular brasileira) scene by winning in a talent show. It’s hard to realize that Soares was in her late 70’s when she came out with A Mulher do Fim do Mundo; an album that mixes one of the coolest genre fusions of all time, samba and electronic punk. Her follow-up, Deus é Mulher (God is a Woman), continues the experiment, albeit a more political one, with the help of producer Guilherme Kastrup, who also worked on her previous album and is known for popularizing Brazilian’s avant-garde perspective, or “Samba Dirty.”
It was impossible to pick just one song from Deus é Mulher, as each song transcends and completes one another. But, first single “Banho” (“Shower”) and its liquid imagery, distinguishes an unusual way of talking about sexuality. From fighting spit with tears to a swallowing pond, a synthesizer beeps an intro into a vat of fluid metaphors and ruckus guitars and drums and submits a super-charged clash of electronic, punk, and African influences, with Soares’ aggressive vocals punching through the madness. It’s one hell of a song from an 80 year old Brazilian singer.
Feel like starting from the beginning of the experiment? Listen to “Pra Fuder” from the aforementioned A Mulher do Fim do Mundo. It’s the song that made me fall in love with Elza Soares.