Sport & Entertainment
BRA | Jun 6, 2023

‘Girl from Ipanema’, Astrud Gilberto dies at 83

Al Edwards

Al Edwards / Our Today

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Astrud Gilberto (Photo: BBC News)

Astrud Gilberto’s voice was the ethereal call to Bossa Nova.

With so many talentless pop stars around today whose voices have to be doctored by computers, Astrud Gilberto commanded attention. Her live performances didn’t need pyrotechnics.

Astrud Gilberto defined an era with her dulcet phrasing and intonation. Her singing was effortless as it was charming.

Astrud Gilberto has died. She was 83. The cause of her death at this time is unknown.

Together with saxophonist Stan Getz and her husband guitarist Joao Gilberto, they put out superb Bossa Nova albums. The Getz/Gilberto 1963 album is worth checking out – a timeless classic.

Born in Brazil’s Bahia in 1940, she shot to fame at 22 with the English version of “ The Girl From Ipanema”. That song went on to sell 5 million copies and become a mainstay. It still gets regular airplay on jazz radio stations throughout the world.

Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz made Bossa Nova hip and it still is.

After moving to the U.S. in 1963, she released her first solo album, “The Astrud Gilberto Album” in 1965.

She possessed one of the most distinct jazz voices of the twentieth century – smooth, calming, evocative.

Talking about the song “ The Girl From Ipanema” Gilberto said in an interview twenty years ago, “ Joao casually asked me to join and sing a chorus in English after he had just sung the first chorus in Portuguese. Stan was very receptive. I’ll never forget that while we were listening back to the just recorded version, Stan said to me, “This song is going to make you famous.””

That whispery voice conveyed pathos and yearning, singing her heart out but with what seemed like very little effort.

Her songs have been played at many cocktail parties across the world and she performed for more than three decades.

Astrud Gilberto brought romance to music. One could close their eyes and she would transport you to exotic climes and amorous adventures.

She was one of the stars of Getz’s label, Verve Records. Together with Getz she won three Grammy Awards including Album of the Year, the first time a jazz album had done so.

Her singing on the late George Michael’s version of Desafinado is exquisite. 

“ I firmly believe that any artist who becomes famous through their work – be it music, motion pictures or any other – does not have any moral obligation to satisfy  the curiosity of journalists, fans or any members of the public about their private lives, or anything else that does not have any direct reflection on their work.

“My work whether perceived as good, bad or indifferent speaks for itself”

Astrud Gilberto, your work was very good, indeed, it  spoke for itself.


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