Just been watching a youtube video about the lost Rio carnival film footage of Rio Carnival in 1942 shot by Orson Welles. It brought in mind another great lost samba recording from the same era, similarly lost through indifference the vaults of some USA media corporation
Back in the late1990s I bought a number of old samba Vinyl LPs from a street seller in Caetete in Rio de Janeiro. There was an LP called 'Native Brazilian Music' with credits to Leopold Stokowski. It looked extremely uninteresting to me, but it was only 2 reals (about 50p), so I bought it. I brough this back to the UK where it lay unopened for a couple of years, until I found an article online about these recordings called 'Stalking Stokowsky' by Daniela Thompson.
It turns out that these tracks were recorded in 1942 on the American goodwill ship SS Uraguay, anchored in Rio de Janeiro harbour. The recording was organised by Leopold Stokowski, who got his good friend Vila Lobos to collect the most important samba musicians of the era and bring them to the ship for a mamoth overnight recording session. Cartola, the bateria of Mangueira, Ze Espinguela and others from the dawn of samba were present. For some this was the ony time they were ever recorded. Between 40 and a hundred tracks were recorded - and then largely lost. The musicians never heard themselves on disc, nor were they paid. Just 17 of the tracks were released, and Colombia records then lost all of the masters. My LP turns out to be a re recording taken from those original 33rpm discs. Daniela Thompson has tracked down a further 8 tracks in the music library of Columbia Records, but cannot persuade anyone to release them, They include 2 tracks by Cartola with Mangueira (30 years earlier than his first LP), and a famous flute solo by Pixinguinha. The full story story is incredible. I urge everyone interested in samba to read Daniela Thompson's fascinating account - you can find it here: