Brazilian samba legend, Jamelao, dies

Jose Bispo Clementino dos Santos, a pillar of Rio's most traditional samba school who went by the stage name of Jamelao, has died at age 95.

Jose Bispo Clementino dos Santos, a pillar of Rio de Janeiro's most traditional samba school who went by the stage name of Jamelao, has died at age 95.

The exact cause of death is unclear.

Marcia Rosaio, a spokeswoman for the Mangueira samba school, says he died early Saturday — three days after being admitted to hospital in Rio de Janeiro.

With his smooth, melodic voice, Jamelao was the lead singer for countless Mangueira Carnival parades from the 1950s onward. He recorded more than 20 albums.

The Mangueira school calls it self the most popular samba school in Rio. Its dancers have won numerous prizes in its long history.

Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1913, Jamelao began performing at an early age in the percussion section of Mangueira's music-playing unit.

He moved on to play the cavaquinho — a small, four-stringed guitar central to traditional sambas — and quickly became a singer.

On his 90th birthday, Jamelao was asked by a local television station what he most loved about singing.

"The music. The music. I love the music," he said. "And the women I can get, too."