Girl from Ipanema Dead at 83: Brazilian Singer Astrud Gilberto 1940-2023.

Photo Credit: Ebay. Brazilian singer Astrud Gilberto became world famous for her deadpan lyric on The Girl from Ipanema which was recorded with saxophone player Stan Getz.
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By Editor-June 7th, 2023.

Astrud Gilberto, the Brazilian bossa nova singer best known for The Girl from Ipanema, has died aged 83. Gilberto died from undisclosed causes on 5 June 2023 at her home in Philadelphia, her granddaughter Sofia Gilberto said on social media.

One of Brazil’s biggest stars of the 1960s and 70s, she recorded 16 albums after her breakout his with The Girl from Ipanema, which was recorded with saxophone player Stan Getz, and worked with other artists ranging from Quincy Jones to George Michael.

Her version of The Girl From Ipanema sold more than five million copies and helped to popularise bossa nova.

Sofia Gilberto, the artist’s granddaughter, broke the news of her death on Instagram.

“I’m here to bring you the sad news that my grandmother became a star today, and is next to my grandfather João Gilberto,” wrote Sofia, who is also a musician.

“She was a pioneer and the best. At the age of 22, she gave voice to the English version of Girl from Ipanema and gained international fame.”

Born Astrud Evangelina Weinert in Bahia, she moved to Rio de Janeiro at an early age and took musical inspiration from her mother’s side of the family, where “almost everyone played an instrument”.

In her mid-teens, she fell in with a group of young people she described as a “musical clan”, whose members included the famous singer Nara Leao and acclaimed guitarist João Gilberto, who helped create bossa nova.

Astrud and João married a few months after meeting, and it was their relationship that accidentally gave rise to her recording career.

In 1963, she accompanied her husband to New York to help him as a studio translator while he cut an album with jazz legend Stan Getz.

When the band came to record the English lyrics for The Girl From Ipanema, they needed a vocalist – and Gilberto shyly suggested she could handle the task.

“Producer Creed Taylor said he wanted to get the song done right away and looked around the room,” engineer Phil Ramone told Jazzwax in 2012.

“Astrud volunteered, saying she could sing in English. Creed said, ‘Great.’ Astrud wasn’t a professional singer, but she was the only victim sitting there that night.”

Although she had little time to prepare, Gilberto’s detached but sultry vocals perfectly captured the vibe of a “tall and tan and young and lovely” girl who turns the heads of everyone she passes.

The song was an instant hit and went on to win the Grammy Award for record of the year.

Gilberto wasn’t credited on the track (which was released under the name Stan Getz and João Gilberto) and she only received the standard $120 session fee for her performance.

However, it was the springboard for a successful solo career, beginning with 1965’s The Astrud Gilberto Album, where she re-joined Ipanema’s co-writer, Antonio Carlos Jobim, to record a suite of Brazilian standards.

Speaking to The Independent last year, her son Marcelo claimed that Gilberto struggled with the objectification she received from the press, and often had to fight misogyny in the music industry.

Writing on her website in the early 2000s, Gilberto recalled how several people had claimed responsibility for her success with Ipanema, with Stan Getz saying he had rescued her from being a “housewife”.

“Nothing is further from the truth,” she wrote. “I guess it may them look ‘important’ to have been the one that had the ‘wisdom’ to recognize talent or ‘potential’ in my singing… I suppose I should feel flattered by the importance that they lend to this, but I can’t help but to feel annoyed at the fact that they resorted to lying!”

In the 1970s, she began writing her own songs, as showcased on albums like Astrud Gilberto Now (1972) and That Girl From Ipanema (1977).

Sources: BBC News, Wikipedia, agencies, Instagram.
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