Gal Costa, one of Brazil’s greatest singers and model for generations of Brazilian artists, passed away on Wednesday at her home in Sao Paulo. She was 77 years old.
Her death was announced Her social media accounts. No reason was given.
Costa’s voice, a brilliant mezzo-soprano, was a marvel of grace and liveliness, equally capable of gravity-defying delicacy, stinging sensuality, charismatic agility, and rock-solid intensity. Over the course of a recording career spanning more than 50 years and thirty albums, she championed innovative Brazilian songwriters and Brazilian regional styles enriched with international pop and rock.
In the 1960s, Ms. Costa was at the forefront of the trobelia movement, the movement that brought psychedelic experiments and abstinence from absolutism to Brazilian pop music. When Trobelia’s leading songwriters, Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso, were forced into exile by the Brazilian dictatorship, from 1969 to 1972, Ms. Costa recorded their songs for Brazilian listeners.
“It wasn’t a matter of bravery,” she said He told the New York Times, in 1985. “I belonged in that movement, and they were my friends.”
Throughout her career, she continued to research emerging songwriters. She also returned to the old Brazilian repertoire, dedicating entire albums to songwriters such as Antonio Carlos Jobim, Dorival Cayemi and Ari Barroso. She sang and recorded with her peers in Brazilian music, among them Mr. Veloso, Ellis ReginaJoao Gilberto, Chico Burke and Milton Nascimento. She received the Latin Grammy Award for her lifetime achievement in 2011.
The President-elect of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, wrote on Twitter: “Gal Costa has been among the best singers in the world, and among our main artists who have carried the name and voices of Brazil to the entire planet. Her talent, style and courage have enriched and renewed our culture, shaped and marked the lives of millions. of the Brazilians.
Maria da Graça Costa Penna Burgos was born on September 26, 1945, in Salvador, in the coastal state of Bahia. Encouraged by her mother, Maria Costa Pena, she was separated from her father, Arnaldo Burgos, after discovering he had a second family in another city.
Ms. Costa, strongly influenced by the gentle bossa novas sung by Joao Gilberto, began performing as a teenager. “I didn’t study music, I don’t read music,” she told The Times. “I sing with feelings.”
She absorbed current music by working in a record store. In Salvador, she joined a group of Bahian musicians who transformed Brazilian music, among them Mr. Veloso, Mr. Gil, Maria Bethania and Tom Zee.
Her first single, which she released in 1965 as Maria da GraçaIt included a song by Mr. Veloso on one side and a song by Mr. Gil on the other. Mrs. Costa and Mr. Veloso made an album as a duo called “Domingo” in 1967. In 1968, she joined her fellow Bahia and close souls on Cannes album their movement statement: “Tropicália, ou Panis et Circenses” (“Tropicália or Bread and Circuses”). she includes Mr. Veloso “The Child”, A gentle melodic song mocking consumerism became her first hit.
Mr. Veloso and Mr. Gil collaborated on the challenge “Divino, Maravilhoso” (“Divine Marvelous”), which Ms. Costa performed at a music festival in 1968. The lyrics declared, “You’ve got to be attentive and strong / We don’t have time to fear death,” and Ms. Costa left her rocky side with growls and screams. She appeared with the song “Baby” on her debut single album “Gal Costa” which was released in 1969.
She was popular and prolific in the 1970s, building a catalog based on tropical songwriters as well as on several other Brazilian pop schools. Her 1971 concert tour, about her album “-deadly-,” It was seen as a bold statement challenging the Brazilian military dictatorship. In Rio de Janeiro, a portion of the beach at Ipanema was once known for its unrestrained behavior known in the early 1970s as Gale Dunes.
In 1976, Mrs. Costa joined forces with Mr. Veloso, Mr. Gill and Mrs. Bethany to perform and record as Os Doces Bárbaros (The Sweet Barbarians); They met again at a concert in 1994.
In 1985, when I made it United States for the first time With a pair of concerts at Carnegie Hall, Ms. Costa told The Times that despite her decision to finally perform in America, “I’m not planning on conquering the US market. I’m a Brazilian singer, and I’m kind of lazy about leaving Brazil.”
Never settle for one style. Over the decades, I recorded optimistic Roots carnival songsAnd the hard rocksAnd the Crystal audio stories, Afro-Brazilian funk and orchestral pop. Her 2018 album, “A Pele do Futuro” (“The Skin of the Future”), plunged into disco and featured a duet with Marília Mendonça, who was the star of sertanejo, the Brazilian equivalent of country music, by Dying at the age of 26 In a plane crash last year.
Costa’s latest album, “Nenhuma Dor” (“No Pain”), released in 2021, is a collection of duets recorded during the pandemic, revisiting old songs with collaborators including Seu Jorge, Rodrigo Amarante and Jorge Drexler.
“I am a singer who loves to dare, change, and create new paths,” Ms Costa said in 2022. Brazilian press interview.
She is survived by her son Gabriel.
“Typical beer trailblazer. Hipster-friendly web buff. Certified alcohol fanatic. Internetaholic. Infuriatingly humble zombie lover.”