With her English version of “Girl from Ipanema”, the daughter of a German made bossa nova famous all over the world. After separating from her husband João Gilberto, she toured all over the world.
Brazilian bossa nova singer Astrud Gilberto is dead. She died at her home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at the age of 83, TV Globo reported, citing the singer’s daughter-in-law Adriana Magalhães. According to her family, she succumbed to a heart condition.
“She died in the house she loved and where she painted her pictures. It’s a house full of works of art of hers, a thousand paintings. She died the way she wished. At that point she left in peace us,” said Magalhães. “Astrud was a great artistic role model for her granddaughters and children. She was a versatile artist who sang, composed and painted.”
A song made her famous
With her husband, the Brazilian music legend João Gilberto, she introduced bossa nova to the whole world. The “New Wave” of Brazilian music was a modern blend of samba and jazz. Astrud Gilberto sang the song “Girl from Ipanema” in English, which was later interpreted by numerous artists, including Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Caterina Valente and Ella Fitzgerald.
“Rest in peace my eternal muse,” wrote João Gilberto’s daughter with his second wife, Bebel Gilberto, on Instagram. “May you sing with the birds and the angels, beautiful Astrud.” Her granddaughter Sofia Gilberto wrote on Facebook: “My grandma has become a star today and is next to my grandpa João Gilberto.”
Astrud Evangelina Weinert was born in 1940 as the daughter of a German immigrant and a Brazilian woman in Salvador da Bahia in the north of the country. As a child she moved to Rio de Janeiro with her family. In 1959 she married João Gilberto and was soon performing alongside her husband and with artists such as Nara Leão, Johnny Alf and Elza Soares.
“The Girl from Ipanema” won a Grammy
In 1963 she participated in the album “Getz/Gilberto” by João Gilberto and saxophonist Stan Getz, which was arranged by Tom Jobim. For this she sang the song “The Girl from Ipanema” in a studio in New York. Years ago, she once told her version of the day that was to change her life. Her husband João Gilberto told her at the hotel: “Today there’s a surprise for you.” In the studio, where Getz was already waiting, João asked her “casually” if she wanted to sing along in English. “This song will make you famous,” Getz said to the then 23-year-old.
The Brazilian journalist and author Ruy Castro tells the day a little differently in his bossa nova standard work “Chega de Saudade”. After that, Astrud pushed her husband and Getz at the time to be allowed to take part in the song and sing an English version. “João tried to divert attention from the topic, but she wouldn’t be put off and found allies in others,” Castro described the scene.
The album “Getz/Gilberto” was a great success and received the 1964 Grammy for Album of the Year. “The Girl from Ipanema” won the Grammy for Best Single of the Year.
Shortly thereafter, her marriage to João Gilberto was dissolved. Astrud Gilberto made a name for herself as a musician in the decades that followed, gave concerts worldwide and was often referred to as the “Bossa Nova Queen”. Only in Brazil was she never really appreciated. (dpa)
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