Singer Linda de Suza has died aged 74

Singer Linda de Suza has died aged 74

The popular singer of Portuguese origin Linda de Suza died on Wednesday at the hospital in Gisors (Normandy) where she had been transferred “for respiratory failure and positive for Covid 19“, announced his agent to AFP.

His son Joäo Lança and I have the pain to inform you of the death this morning at 10:10 a.m.“by Linda de Suza, wrote Fabien Lecoeuvre. She was transferred to Gisors hospital”very early this very morning, for respiratory failure and positive for Covid 19“, according to the same source.

Very popular in France in the 1980s, she was moved by the story of her clandestine crossing of the French border with her son and for only luggage a “cardboard suitcase”, an experience which she described in the book “La Valise cardboard” released in 1984 and sold 2 million copies.

Linda de Suza had a gift for narrating her life, a modern fairy tale from which she had drawn a book, “The cardboard suitcase”. In 1984, the young woman burst the screen of “Champs-Elysées”, telling Michel Drucker how she clandestinely crossed the Franco-Spanish border on foot in 1969, her little boy João under her arm, with the only luggage a cardboard suitcase, to flee “a tyrannical family” in the very conservative Portugal of Salazar, where single mothers like her were not tolerated.

The next day, upset viewers rush to their bookstore to demand “the book of the singer who went to Drucker“. Already popular before the show, Linda de Suza, whose real name is Teolinda Joaquina de Sousa Lança, born February 22, 1948 in Beringel, in the south of Portugal, changes dimension. Sales of her autobiography explode: two million copies.

I was the shame of the hamlet

She writes as she speaks, a sincere and ecstatic style, sparing no detail to the reader. Her childhood where she takes care of her seven brothers and sisters, under the authority of an alcoholic father and a malicious mother. Then the boarding school, the meeting at 16 with the father of her child, whom she will refuse to marry, the exodus. “My girlfriends had been forbidden to speak to me. I was the shame of the hamlet…“.

In France, it is the slum of Ivry-sur-Seine, work in a canning factory in Kremlin-Bicêtre, then as a chambermaid in Paris. In exchange for “a bowl of soup“, if we believe the legend, she sings Chez Louisette, a flea market bistro in Saint-Ouen, where she takes over Amalia Rodrigues, queen of fado. “One day, a composer passes by and seduced by my voice, makes me record a song called ‘The Portuguese’“, she says. First visit to Drucker in 1978: 400,000 sales.

Between French variety and Portuguese sentimental songs, she will sell, mainly in France, millions of records throughout her career, led by her producer, Claude Carrère, Sheila’s pygmalion.

Her recipe: catchy tunes, like the chorus of “Tiroli Tirola”, and texts where she identifies with her audience: “Like you, I have my life, I have my joys and my sorrows. And small worries, me too, like you“.

She filled the Olympia for two series of concerts in 1983 and 1984, then went on to broadcast to promote her autobiography. Fans are fond of her sense of the formula, she who repeats at will, to have passed “from the vacuum cleaner to the microphone” or “from maid to woman of the world“.

Desert crossing

In 1986, “The cardboard suitcase” became a musical with Jean-Pierre Cassel, under the leadership of Maritie and Gilbert Carpentier. But despite an intense press campaign, the Casino de Paris sounds empty. The singer multiplies the discomfort for overwork, which forces the producer Jean-Claude Camus, furious, to end the performances.

His family also accuses him of having deliberately blackened his life. This is the first crossing of the desert.

It was Michel Drucker, again, who gave her a chance in 1988 and invited her to defend a new record and her latest book, “I empty my suitcase”, where she criticized the entertainment industry. The same year, his life was adapted again, successfully, in a television series in six episodes.

But the public shuns her and no longer buys her records. “There’s not a franc left in my cardboard suitcase!“, she revealed in 1997. “Everyone robbed me…“.

Until the end of her life, she will claim to have been the victim of scams, identity theft and administrative errors. Between 2015 and 2017, she will be part of the “Age Tendre” tour, bringing together successful singers from the 1980s.

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