Paulo Diniz: even far from the stages, Pernambuco continued to compose

The distance from the spotlight in recent decades has not erased the musical relevance of Paulo Dinizwhat died last Wednesday (22), in Recife, aged 82. From samba-rock to soul, strolling between protest songs and romantic lyrics, the singer and composer Pernambuco leaves its mark on hit songs like “Love Drops”from 1971, re-recorded in the voice of Paula Toller, from the band Kid Abelha, in 2000.


For journalist José Teles, who planned to write the biography of musician, Diniz was an artist to be rediscovered by new generations. “After he returned to live in Recife and fell ill, he disappeared from the Rio-São Paulo axis. He ended up with the hidden work. So much so that most of his records are out of print,” he points out.


In recent years, Diniz lived in seclusion in his apartment, in the neighborhood of Boa Viagem. According to Saulo Aleixo, who managed the artist’s social networks, he only left home for hemodialysis sessions, which he performed three times a week. “We didn’t see each other much, because of Covid, but we exchanged a lot of ideas”, said the music producer. The musician died at his residence, around 7 am, due to natural causes. Restricted to family and friends, the wake and burial take place this Thursday (23).




Born in Pesqueira, in the Agreste region of Pernambuco, Paulo Diniz began his career as a radio announcer. In 1966, living in Rio de Janeiro, he recorded his first song, the iê-iê-iê “O Chorão”, which surfed the Jovem Guarda wave.


The national success came in 1970, when he released “Quero Voltar pra Bahia”, composed with the Bahian Odibar – a partner also in “Pingos de Amor”. The song became a symbol against the military dictatorship, as it was inspired by texts published by Caetano Veloso in the newspaper “O Pasquim” during his exile in London.


Recorded by names such as Clara Nunes, Emílio Santiago and Simone, Diniz also scored other hits in the 1970s, such as “Canoeiro”, “Vou-me Although” and “Um Chope Para Distrair”. He is also known for having set to music poems by famous authors, such as “Vou-me Although pra Pasárgada”, by Manuel Bandeira, and “José”, by Carlos Drummond de Andrade. The health complications caused by schistosomiasis, however, gradually pushed the artist away from the stage.


Despite his career on pause, interest in Diniz’s work did not cease to exist. The Pernambuco native reached the age of 80, in 2020, with a series of projects in his honor, which ended up being interrupted due to the pandemic. One of them is the documentary “Paulo Diniz: No Oco do Mundo”, directed by Max Levay, which is seeking funding to be completed.


The film began to be developed in 2019, when the filmmaker interviewed the musician and other artists linked to him, such as Zeca Baleiro and Caetano. In the same year, Max managed to take Diniz to a studio, to record the unreleased “A Música da Minha Vida”, in partnership with Jam da Silva. “Even weakened, Paulo was in the midst of the creative process. With more than 80 years, he continued composing always. I never heard him talk about frustrations, only joys”, he shares.


Singer Cristina Amaral also wanted to honor the idol while still alive with a re-recording disc. She managed to get him to accompany, at least, the release of her version of “Pingos de Amor”, released with a music video at the end of May. “The public never forgot him. When I sing this song, people go crazy. The disease took him away from the stage, but in the lives and stories of so many people he remained present “, she defends.


Zé Manoel would also pay tribute to Diniz with a show in São Paulo, which ended up being postponed due to the pandemic. “His work is extremely well known, but many people do not recognize his name. Unfortunately, he is another one of the black Brazilian artists who did not have the proper recognition in life”, he laments.

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About Hrishikesh Bhardwaj

Tv specialist. Falls down a lot. Typical troublemaker. Hipster-friendly advocate. Food fan.

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