Arts & Entertainment

Brazilian-born singer known for ‘The Girl from Ipanema’ dies at 83

Sao Paulo, Jun 6 (EFE).- Brazil’s Astrud Gilberto, a singer who helped introduce bossa nova to a global audience and was best known for her recording of the track “The Girl from Ipanema,” died early Tuesday, her family said on social media. She was 83.

The recording artist’s granddaughter, Sofia Gilberto, announced on Instagram that she had passed away, without indicating the cause or place of death.

“Astrud was the girl who really introduced bossa nova from Ipanema to the world. She was the pioneer and the best,” Sofia said of her grandmother, who was married to late bossa nova pioneer Joao Gilberto in the early 1960s.

“At 22, she gave her voice to the English version of ‘The Girl from Ipanema’ (Portuguese title: ‘Garota de Ipanema’) and gained international fame.”

Astrud Gilberto was probably the best-known bossa nova singer in English thanks to her renditions of songs by that genre’s leading composers such as Vinicius de Moraes and Tom Jobim. The latter wrote the music for “Garota de Ipanema,” a song inspired by a 17-year-old girl who lived in Ipanema, a fashionable Rio de Janeiro neighborhood.

Astrud’s unmistakable voice became inextricably linked to not only that song, whose English lyrics were written by Norman Gimbel, but also other bossa nova classics like “Corcovado,” “Manha de Carnaval,” “Agua de beber” and “Mas que nada.”

But it was her singing on “The Girl from Ipanema” – recorded in 1963 with Joao Gilberto on guitar and Stan Getz on saxophone shortly after she and her then-husband had emigrated to the United States – that immortalized that song in the US and earned her (along with Getz) a Grammy for Record of the Year in 1965, the first to be awarded to a Brazilian artist.

Born Astrud Evangelina Weinert in 1940 in the northeastern Brazilian city of Salvador, capital of Bahia state, Astrud Gilberto released several solo albums throughout her career, including “The Astrud Gilberto Album” (1965) and “Look to the Rainbow” (1966).

Her music fused bossa nova with jazz, pop and Brazilian popular music to create a distinctive and elegant sound that influenced several generations of recording artists and was popular with fans of Brazilian music.

In 1960, she married singer, guitarist and composer Joao Gilberto, a leading figure of bossa nova who died in 2019.

They divorced four years later, but Astrud kept his last name after their separation.

She lived most of her life in the US. Over the past few decades, she had dropped out of the music scene completely and been virtually forgotten by the media in her homeland. EFE

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