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Dona Ivone Lara (Yvone Lara da Costa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 13, 1921 - April 16, 2018) was a Brazilian composer and singer.

Her history is linked with the developing of important escolas de samba (samba schools) from Rio de Janeiro, such as Prazer da Serrinha and Império Serrano. Her repertoire is comprised of mostly romantic sambas inspired by rootsy African music. Until 2000, she recorded only these 5 LPs and one CD. Dona Ivone Lara is the godmother of the group of composers at Império Serrano and participates in the carnival parades every year.

Dona Ivone Lara was born in Rio de Janeiro. She graduated in nursing, with specialization in Occupational Therapy, and worked as a social worker until she retired in 1977. With this professional background, she worked in psychiatric hospitals, where she knew Dr. Nise da Silveira.

With the death of her mother when she was three, and of her father when she was twelve, Dona Ivone was raised by aunts and uncles and with them she learned to play the cavaquinho. She was exposed to samba music at the side of her cousin Mestre Fuleiro; she took singing lessons from Lucília Villa-Lobos and was praised by Dona Lucília's husband, the Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos.

At the age of 25, she married Oscar Costa, son of Afredo Costa, the president of the Prazer da Serrinha samba school. At Prazer da Serrinha she met several composers who later became her partners in several compositions, among them Mano Décio da Viola e Silas de Oliveira.

Dona Ivone composed the samba Nasci para sofrer (Born To Suffer), which became the theme song of the samba school. When the samba school Império Serrano was founded in 1947, she began to parade in the ala das baianas (Wing of the Baianas) during carnaval parades. There she composed the samba Não me perguntes (Don't Ask Me),. Her consecration as a composer came in 1965, with Os cinco bailes da história do Rio (The Five Balls of the History of Rio) qwhen she became the first woman to become part of the ala de compositores (Wing of the Composers) of a samba school.

Retiring from nursing in 1977, she began to dedicate herself to her musical career. She continues to record and to perform before live audiences today. Among the interpreters of her songs are such singers and artists as Clara Nunes, Roberto Ribeiro, Maria Bethânia, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Paula Toller, Paulinho da Viola, Beth Carvalho, Mariene de Castro e Roberta Sá.

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  • 13 April 1922
  • Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Died 16 April 2018 (Aged 96)

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