“Que es lo que tiene la bahiana?”: Orquesta Francisco Canaro with Ernesto Fama singing recorded on the 11th September 1939. It isn’t even a tango but an ‘Arreglo en Tango’! Such a fun song though and I love playing it. 🙂
This is simply another form of music rearranged as a Tango. In this case it was a hit song from a Brazilian musical movie that was released in February that year and was a huge hit all across Latin America. The original title in Portuguese is ”O que é que a Baiana Tem?”
The movie is called Banana da Terra and contained many musical numbers including O que é que a Baiana Tem? In english this is “what the Bahian has?” referring to the famous Bahia dresses worn by Brazilian ladies and made famous to all by none other than Carmen Miranda who sang this so evocatively in the 1939 movie.
The movie was a huge hit and contained many famous stars of Brazil at the time. Including Carmen’s sister Aurora (Pictured below) who was equally as big in Brazil but never broke Hollywood.
Sadly all of the movie is now lost except that one magical segment of Miranda singing that inspired Canaro to rearrange it into a tango and catch the wave of popularity that was sweeping Latin America with the movie.
So in fact it could be said that for the purposes of this song is should be really called “Que es lo que tiene la bahiana? MC Canaro remix” 😉
This is not the first instance of Canaro being very commercially aware of trends and maximising his returns, there is no doubt he was a shrewd operator and demonstrated the ability many times to catch topical trends and profit from them.
The Carmen Miranda Clip is here… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojo3I59Gn6c
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These interpretations/stories are intended to give a flavour of the layers that are behind the music including the people who created it. Facts are verified where possible but there could be errors as records are not complete and lots of ‘evidence’ these days is hearsay.
posted by: Anthony Cronin
About the author: Tango DJ, Writer from Dublin
Published: 3 May 2016 @ 17:25
Last modified: 8 Mar 2021 @ 20:34