The singer Gal Costa, icon of the Brazilian movement Tropicália, recalled by Caetano Veloso

Brazilian singer Gal Costa performs during the Italian song contest ‘Festival di Sanremo’, in San Remo, Italy February 28, 2008. (Antonio Calanni/Associated Press)

Gal Costa, an adventurous musician who was a central figure in the Tropicália movement in Brazil in the 1960s, has died. She was 77 years old.

Costa, born Maria da Graça Penna Burgos, died Wednesday, according to the Associated Press, which quoted a spokesperson for the singer. No cause of death or additional details were provided.

“It is with deep sadness and broken hearts that we announce the passing of singer Gal Costa this Wednesday morning, November 9, in São Paulo,” said a statement posted on her official Instagram account. be shared later. We appreciate everyone’s kind thoughts during this very difficult time.

According to CNN, Costa had been recovering from nasal surgery for the past three weeks and was scheduled to perform at the Primavera Sound festival in São Paulo last weekend. But she had to cancel, and her next gig was scheduled for Dec. 17, the AP reported.

The iconic singer, well known for her fusion of different genres, burst onto the Brazilian music scene alongside future legends Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil and Maria Bethânia. Costa was also a prominent supporter of Brazil’s Tropicália (or Tropicalismo) movement, which blended 1960s musical styles, including traditional and avant-garde sounds.

“I was born wanting to sing, wanting to be a singer,” Costa said in a 2020 interview with Sounds and Colors. “I always thought I would be one – I had that hunch and wanted it. [I knew it from] When i was born. When I began to understand myself as an individual, I already wanted to be [a professional singer].”

Born September 26, 1945 in the state capital of Bahia, Costa began singing professionally in 1964 and released “Domingo”, a collaborative album with Veloso that included the classic “Coração Vagabundo”, in 1967. Her self-titled solo the album followed two years later and moved away from acoustic bossa nova to explore psychedelic textures mixed with lush orchestrations.

Recording in Portuguese, Spanish and English and performing in numerous festivals, exhibitions and concerts, Costa has sung compositions such as “Aquarela do Brasil” by Ary Barroso, “Dindi” by Tom Jobim, “Que Pena” by Jorge Ben Jor and “Baby” by Veloso.

In Los Angeles, Costa performed in 2005 at a tribute to the late Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Jobim at the Hollywood Bowl alongside Ivan Lins, Luciana Souza and Eliane Elias, and guitarist Oscar Castro-Neves.

Costa received a Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award from the Latin Recording Academy in 2011. She has recorded more than 35 albums during her six-decade career, including her multi-platinum double album “Fantasia” from 1981, which was among her greatest successes.

“I feel gratified because I came up with a style that was very much mine, but now I can see that my work influenced a generation, that I influenced a lot of people,” she said in 2020. “It makes me realize that my job Working with music is amazing, not only because we give people a lot of great things — the energy of music touches their souls, which is very important — but also because it bears fruit, as people look at your story and somehow understand it was inspired by it.It’s very rewarding.

Brazil’s President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was among those who paid tribute to the beloved star on Wednesday.

“Gal Costa was among the best singers in the world, among our main artists to carry the name and the sounds of Brazil all over the planet,” he said. tweeted. “His talent, his technique and his courage have enriched and renewed our culture, rocked and marked the lives of millions of Brazilians.”

Some of Costa’s contemporaries also paid tribute on social media. Bethânia, who has sung with Costa over the years, including a memorable “Sonho Meu” duet, posted a tribute video on Instagram in which she spoke about Costa.

Frequent collaborator Veloso, who posted a video of him and Costa performing, also remembered the singer as “a girl who lived on Rua Rio de São Pedro in Graça” and planned to re-listen to her. 2011 album, “Recanto”, which he wrote and produced.

“The most touching thing was the emission of the voice. João Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobim and I realized it,” Veloso wrote in Portuguese on Instagram.

“There are many other aspects in which Brazilian music has been enhanced by female voices. But Gal’s voice emission was already music, independently of the conscious mastery of the notes. And that has makes his mind express subtleties, thoughts, feelings, harshness, gentleness, spontaneously.”

This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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