Brazilian singer Gal Costa, icon of the Tropicalia movement, dies at 77 By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Brazilian singer Gal Costa performs at the ‘B-estival’ music festival in Barcelona July 11, 2006. REUTERS/Gustau Nacarino (SPAIN)/File Photo

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazilian singer Gal Costa, one of the most distinctive voices of the country’s Tropicalia movement, has died aged 77.

“It is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that we announce the passing of singer Gal Costa,” her official Twitter account said. “We appreciate everyone’s love during this difficult time.”

Tributes poured in from many of Brazil’s biggest names in politics and entertainment.

President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Costa was “one of the greatest singers in the world”.

“His talent, his technique and his audacity have enriched and renewed our culture, shaped and marked the lives of millions of Brazilians,” Lula tweeted, accompanied by a photo of the two embracing.

Maria Bethânia, Costa’s contemporary from the Tropicalia movement, said in a video that Costa had “always charmed by her unique and masterful voice”.

Maria das Graças Penna Burgos was born in Salvador in 1945 and began her musical career in 1960 after meeting fellow singer Caetano Veloso. Together with Bethânia, Gilberto Gil and Tom Zé, they led a wave of singers from the state of Bahia who became central players in the Tropicalia movement.

Fusing local folk and Afro-Brazilian traditions with psychedelic rock influences from abroad, Tropicalia was a politically charged movement that emerged to challenge Brazil’s military dictatorship of the time.

Gil also mourned Costa’s passing on social media.

“I am very saddened and impacted by the death of my sister Gaúcha,” he tweeted.

Costa was still touring regularly, but had canceled shows for the rest of November to recover from surgery to remove a nodule from his nasal passage. His press team did not specify the cause of his death.

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