Singer Gal Costa, icon of Brazilian popular music, dies

Rio de Janeiro — The singer Gal Costa, icon of the Tropicália and the brazilian popular music with whom he enjoyed a career that spanned six decades, passed away on Wednesday. He was 77 years old.

His death was confirmed by a representative, who did not provide further details.

The soprano with untamed dark curls was famous for lending her unique voice to compositions such as Ary Barroso’s “Aquarela do Brasil,” Tom Jobim’s “Dindi,” Jorge Ben Jor’s “Que Pena,” and “Baby.” Caetano Veloso.

“Gal Costa was one of the best singers in the world, among our leading artists who brought the name and sounds of Brazil to the entire planet,” President-elect Luiz Inácio da Silva wrote on Twitter alongside a photo of him hugging Costa. “Her talent, technique and value of hers enriched and renewed our culture, involved and marked the lives of millions of Brazilians.”

Costa, whose given name was Maria da Graça Penna Burgos, was born in the northeastern state of Bahia and became famous alongside legends like Veloso, Gilberto Gil, and Maria Bethânia.

They were all successful solo artists when they founded the band Doces Bárbaros. Their joint project became an important counterculture reference during the two decades of dictatorship in Brazil. His band inspired an album, a tour and a documentary.

In 2011, Costa received the Award for Musical Excellence from the Latin Recording Academy, the organization that awards the Latin Grammys.

Costa remained active until his last days. He had only recently put his concerts on hold to have a nose job. His next concert was scheduled for December 17 in São Paulo.

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Singer Gal Costa, icon of Brazilian popular music, dies