Stability and dusk

Bad career administration caused Clementina to perform in small pubs at age 86

Nana Vaz de Castro
In the 70s, Clementina's career was still ascending. She made a second solo album, Marinheiro Só (1973) 30, with guest appearance by Naná Vasconcelos in five tracks. Between 1971 and 1974, she was a regular at the show Noitadas de Samba. It was one more income source for the singer who had to pay the rent of her modest home in the suburbs of Rio. The usual Noitadas cast was, for a while, comprised of Clementina, Cartola, Nelson Cavaquinho, Xangô da Mangueira, Dona Ivone Lara. In 1978, she participated in a project that allowed her to tour the north and northeast of the country.

But at age 70, her health was not that good anymore. In 1973, before recording Marinheiro Só, she had a thrombosis and faced the consequence. Her husband had a stroke and was confined to his bed for four years, during which Clementina remained by his side, taking care of Pé Grande until his death in 1977. When she recorded Clementina e Convidados 30, in 1979, she was already regarded and revered as a Brazilian music myth, but still had to play shows so as to pay the rent.

In the 80s, Clementina managed to get herself a house, getting rid of rental problems, but she still had to make a living, because the retirement money was too little. It was a tough decade for the singer, a simple lady who used to confess her musical preferences. In her eighties, she was playing shows that were hard for someone her age. Her godfather, Hermínio Bello de Carvalho, was revolted with how her career was directed, her being exposed to greedy producers and managers.

There were tribute-concerts, but not much money. In 1983, Clementina deserved a big party at the most traditional theater in Rio de Janeiro (Theatro Municipal) just for the sake of it. Early that year, she had had a stroke, but recovered well. Elizeth Cardoso, Beth Carvalho, Paulinho da Viola, João Nogueira and Nelson Cavaquinho were there.

Life on the TV
In the following year, Clementina was the subject of a TV special. She participated as an actress, playing her grandmother. Dona Ivone Lara played Clementina. By that time, she was also the subject of countless reports that denounced her critical situation. Nonetheless, she had to keep performing.

Elton Medeiros brings about a melancholic memory of those days: "I met her, once - possibly the last time I ever spoke to her - at some backstage, I was stepping onto the stage, and she was stepping out. She said to me: 'I don't know why they make me perform, I don't wanna do it anymore', to which I answered: 'Mom, I am sorry, but there's nothing I can do', and that hit me. I'm not aware of who "they" were, but she had no control over her own career". Her last performance happened in a restaurant in Rio, three months before dying.

On July 19th, 1987, Clementina did not resist the fifth stroke. Her wake didn't attract too many artists. According to the papers, Paulinho da Viola, Xangô da Mangueira, Dona Zica, Hermínio Bello de Carvalho, João Bosco, Elton Medeiros, João Nogueira and Elymar Santos were about the only peers who attended the funeral.

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