Marlene was born in Rio de Janeiro, but grew up in Brasília when it became Brazil's new capital. Her father was a saxophonist and her mother a music lover so music has always been part of her life. Marlene says she grew up "listening to bossa nova, jazz and James Brown". Regarding the music she was exposed to, she says "My parents have good taste for music". She started learning and practicing music on the 'violão' (in English an "acoustic guitar" or "Spanish guitar") with her sister Lubélia under the tutelage of two music professors, Francisco Carmo and Francisco Pincelão.
In 1984 Marlene entered the prestigious "School of Music of Brasilia" - an appraised public school of music in Brazil - where she studied the violão with Professor Paulo André Tavares, a famous acoustic and electric guitarist in Brasília and Rio de Janeiro. He is a teacher at Escola de Musica de Brasília (Brasília Music School) and plays at different gigs in Brazil.
The School of Music of Brasilia also offered diverse "Courses of Summer" during which Marlene learned about harmony (how the chords work) from professor Ian Guest. During this time, she studied the violão under the erudite Brazilian classical guitarist Marco Pereira and one of Brazil’s most celebrated guitar composers and performers Paulo Bellanti. In 1985 Marlene began studying guitar from Brazilian guitarist, arranger and composer, Nelson Faria.
In the years following her studies, she performed in theaters, bars of Brasilia and Goiânia with several instrumental groups, but notably with the "Loga'Ritmo" band, the "Maracatu Banda", and the big band "Popular Brasilia Orquestra". She noted that the bands she played with generally followed the performances of popular singers and singing groups.
In 1992, Marlene met and began studying with a great person and musician, "Mestre Curinga", She said, "He played with many famous Brazilian's musicians and singers and recorded many albums with them". She said, "Mestre Curinga's music sounds like magic" to her. Marlene said he died a year later, but she said she feels that , "I had good luck to meet him before he died because he was a very good teacher". She said that he taught her how to make her own music, create her own compositions and develop her own improvisational style.
In 1994 Marlene came to the U.S. to study English at California State University, East Bay. She attended Cal State East Bay into 1995 before returning home. While attending CalState Marlene played with some musicians from the Music Departament's Improvisation class. She said they played some jazz standards. In San Francisco she played at one of the Pier's. It was not her "gig", she had gone to listen to the jazz music, but then asked a guitarist if she could "play some music", he said yes, so I played. It was one of her memorable experiences while in California. Upon returning to Brazil, Marlene continued to perform in many diverse places in the Brasilia capital.
|* Brasília (1995)|
|Marlene & Osvaldo Amorim|
In 1998 some teachers from the Berkley came to São Paulo-Brazil to hold auditions for scholarships. Marlene said she was approved for one, but could not go because the scholarship was only $1.000. The Berkley course cost way in excess of that.
She says she is is currently teaching "violao and guitar in its institute the 'Plant of Sounds