Zé Ramalho Biography

Zé Ramalho (born José Ramalho Neto on October 3, 1949 - Brejo do Cruz - Paraiba, Brazil) is a Brazilian composer and performer. Zé Ramalho has collaborated with various major Brazilian musicians, including Vanusa, Geraldo Azevedo and Alceu Valença to name a few. Ze Ramalho is also the first cousin of Elba Ramalho, a well known Brazilian composer and performer.

As with many musicians back in his younger days, he was first influenced by rock and roll; however, at the age of 20, his music took a more Northeastern Brazilian approach. Zé Ramalho's lyrics however, are very influenced by the socio-economic difficulties faced by the average Brazilian.

Early life: 1949-1974

Zé Ramalho was born to Estelita Torres Ramalho, a elementary school teacher, and Antônio de Pádua Pordeus Ramalho, a Seresta performer. When he was two years old, his father drowned in a reservoir of the sertão, and he was then adopted by his grandfather. His love for his grandfather would later be expressed in the song "Avôhai". After spending most of his childhood in Campina Grande, his family moved to João Pessoa. He was expected to become a doctor.

As soon as the family settled in João Pessoa, he took part of some Jovem Guarda performances, being influenced by Renato Barros, Leno e Lílian, Roberto Carlos & Erasmo Carlos, Golden Boys, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and Bob Dylan.

In 1974, his first son, Christian, was born.

First works: 1974-1975

Also in 1974, he performed for Tânia Quaresma's movie "Nordeste: Cordel, Repente e Canção" soundtrack. At that time, he figured out a way to mix all the influences he received throughout his life: From Rock 'n' Roll to Forró. An year later, he recorded his first album, "Paêbirú" along with Lula Côrtes through the label Rozenblit. Today the copies from this very rare vinyl are highly-priced in the international collector's market.

Beginning of the major musical career:1975-1984

In 1977, he recorded his second album, the self-titled "Zé Ramalho". An year later, his second son, Wilson, was born. In 1979, the third son, João (born to him and to his wife Amelinha), came along the third album, "A Peleja do Diabo com o Dono do Céu" (also referred to as "Zé Ramalho II"). He then moved to Fortaleza in 1980, where he wrote and published his book "Carne de Pescoço" ("Neck's Flesh"). The fourth album, "A Terceira Lâmina", was released afterwards, and the fifth one, "A Força Verde", in 1982.

In 1983, he broke up with Amelinha and moved to Rio de Janeiro. After releasing his sixth album, "Orquídea Negra", he got married with Roberta, Amelinha's cousin, in 1984.

Small declining: 1985-1990

The mid eighties would witness a small decrease in Zé Ramalho's popularity, with the releases of the albums "Pra Não Dizer Que Não Falei de Rock (or "Por Aquelas Que Foram Bem Amadas") (1984), "De Gosto de Água e de Amigos" (1985), "Opus Visionário" (1986) and "Décimas de um Cantador" (1987). It has been suggested that the usage of experimental elements of music may have displeased most of the fans. In 1990, he performed in the United States for a Brazilian audience.

Back to the top: 1991-2001

In 1991, his only sister, Goretti, died. Even though, he was able to record his eleventh album, "Brasil Nordeste", and returned to his success times with the recording of the song "Entre a .... Click here to read the full bio on DISCOGS.

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