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     English Wordplay ~ Listen and Enjoy

CARMEN MIRANDA    1909 - 1955

Carmen Miranda
I was caught up in a tornado, and I didn't know how long
it would last, so I just played it for all it was worth
and let it take me wherever it was going to go.

She was a Portuguese Brazilian samba singer and actress most popular in the 1940s and 1950s.  Her family moved to Brazil shortly after her birth.

The Lady In The Tutti-Frutti Hat from The Gang's All Here

Famous for promoting Brazil in her role as an entertainer, Miranda was a Broadway star, one of the highest-paid artists in Hollywood, and by some accounts the highest-earning woman in the United States.  She achieved stardom in motion pictures, cast in musical roles and often wearing a hat topped with tropical fruit, most notably in The Gang's All Here, which has become her iconic visual identity.

PETER You were nicknamed "Carmen" by your father, who loved Bizet's opera.  Did you share his passion for opera?
MIRANDA It was difficult to dance to opera, and I liked whatever moved the body.  I liked to fly upon the notes and to convey to others what I felt inside.
PETER Was your father more Portuguese than Brazilian?
MIRANDA Yes.  I loved and esteemed my father; but the Portugeses, while they rumba a little bit, don't move their butts when they dance.
PETER The samba you pioneered was music from the black slums, and the costumes you wore, which had exposed midriffs, headgear, bangles, and gaudy colors, were modelled on the poor black fruit sellers of Bahia, Brazil's northeastern province.  What attracted you most to them?
MIRANDA The spirit of those beautiful people.  Their freedom had a core of purity: a sheer joy of living and loving.
PETER In 1928 you recorded your first song, "Samba N„o vŠ Simbora."
MIRANDA It was a fairy tale.  I could actually get paid for what I loved doing.
PETER Is all music the vibrational language of the universe?
MIRANDA Yes, with many different dialects.
PETER Even heavy rock?
MIRANDA Even heavy rock talks to some souls.
PETER Later you received million-dollar contracts to sing on radio; you performed at the Copacabana Casino, and were furiously busy for years.  Was this when you began to take drugs?
MIRANDA Yes, I found that I needed something to stabilize the energy.  Everything was so frantic that I didn't have a sense of where I was in a physical form.
PETER Tell us about how the soul groups work.
MIRANDA They split off from the Source and branch out as the branches of a tree.  They are part of a soul group because of their proximity of awareness.
PETER You worked tremendously hard during the war, making films and singing.  During the shooting of Copacabana, in which you sang the hit song "Tico-tico no fubŠ," you met and later married David Sebastian.  He was abusive in the marriage, wasn't he?  Was he part of your soul group?
MIRANDA Yes to both questions.  He took some of the energy of my explosive music and turned it around on me.  I had a contract with him to be a wake-up call, turning me from being outer directed, to being inner directed to express who I truly was.
PETER You suffered from depression and received electric shock treatment in rehab.  You had become an alcoholic, smoked, and regularly used barbiturates and amphetamines.  Had Hollywood robbed you of both your health and your personality?
MIRANDA No.  It was my choice to respond in the way I did, numbing myself with different chemicals.  The shock treatment destroys the memory centers and does it does not help their soul.  Thus they are unable to complete that lesson and will have to experience it in another way or at another time.

Toni comments: Whoa!  That was an up-and-down ride.  When Carmen was talking about the music, her strong enthusiasm permeated her energy.  When we discussed physical challenges, there was a hesitation - "I'll have to repeat these lessons because I didn't learn them the way I had intended."  But there was no recrimination, just a little bit of disappointment.

She had such a zest for life, and a true sense of sharing when she talked about her impact on people.  It was as if the energy built and built and built and built, and as if all of these souls who had shared her life energy were contributing to the energy of the conversation we were having with her.  It was a fun interview.


Talking with Twentieth Century Women
The foregoing are excerpts from Talking with Twentieth Century Women.
If you wish to purchase this book please go to the Celestial Voices website.
If you wish to learn more please go to these websites Messages from the Masters and The Masters' Blog.

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