The Brazilian singer who had an English-language cameo in the ‘60s hit song “The Girl from Ipanema” has died.
Astrud Gilberto was 83.
Her death on Monday was confirmed by a family friend, musician Paul Ricci, The Associated Press reported.
Gilberto was born in Salvador, Bahia, but was raised in Rio de Janeiro, the youngest of three sisters. Her mother was a singer and played the violin. Her father was a linguistics professor. She became a sensation in 1964 when she knew just enough English to be featured on “Getz/Gilberto,” a bossa nova album that featured saxophonist Stan Gertz and her husband Joao Gilberto.
“The Girl from Ipanema” was written by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes. The song was a hit in South America before it was featured on “Getz/Gilberto,” but the record’s producer thought it would have a bigger reach by having both Portuguese and English vocals.
Astrud Gilberto said she found out about her role in the album when her husband told her he had a surprise for her.
“I begged him to tell me what it was, but he adamantly refused, and would just say: ‘Wait and see …’ Later on, while rehearsing with Stan, as they were in the midst of going over the song ‘The Girl from Ipanema,’ Joao casually asked me to join in, and sing a chorus in English, after he had just sung the first chorus in Portuguese. So, I did just that,” she said, according to the AP.
It is said that Astrud Gilberto’s light style on the track influenced Sade and Suzanne Vega.
More than 2 million copies of “Getz/Gilberto” were sold and “The Girl from Ipanema” became an all-time standard behind “Yesterday.”
“The Girl from Ipanema” won a Grammy award in 1965 for record of the year.
Her final album was 2002′s “Jungle,” BBC News reported.
She said she received no money for singing on “The Girl from Ipanema” and that producer Creed Taylor and Getz took credit for “discovering” her. She also said the Brazilian press dismissed her and that she rarely performed in the country.
“Isn’t there an ancient proverb to the effect that ‘No one is a prophet in his own land?’” she said in 2002, the AP reported. “I have no qualms with Brazilians, and I enjoy myself very much when I go to Brazil. Of course, I go there as an incognito visitor, and not as a performer.”
She received a Latin Grammy in 2008 for lifetime achievement.
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