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Brazilians Mourn Death of Bossa Nova Pioneer João Gilberto, 88


Le chanteur et musicien brésilien Joao Gilberto lors d’un concert à Sao Paulo, le 14 août 2008 (AFP Photo/Marco HERMES)

Brazilians — most of them at least — are mourning the loss of Joao Gilberto, one of the inventors of bossa nova music, which gained worldwide popularity in the 1960s.

Gilberto passed away in his home in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday. He was 88.

Fellow artist Caetano Veloso tweeted that “Gilberto was the greatest artist my soul ever encountered”  … (more)

Source: The Japan Times

Rio de Janeiro (AFP) – Joao Gilberto, the legendary Brazilian musician and songwriter who pioneered the lilting, melodious music known as bossa nova, has died, his son Joao Marcelo announced Saturday.

The legend was 88. The cause of death was not immediately known.

“My father has passed,” the son, who lives in the United States, wrote on Facebook. “His fight was noble, he tried to maintain his dignity.”

Gilberto, a small-town boy from Bahia state whose soft voice singing “The Girl From Ipanema” in the 1960s made him world famous, was living alone in a borrowed house in Rio de Janeiro at the end, deeply in debt.

He fell in love with music when he got his first guitar at the age of 14. After leaving his village, he made it onto local radio in Salvador de Bahia, and at age 19, arrived in Rio.

In 1957, he made a name for himself as guitarist on a recording by Elizeth Cardoso, “Cancao do Amor Demais,” considered the first bossa nova album.

Later, known both for his smooth voice and his guitar style, Gilberto brought the sounds of bossa nova — meaning “new trend” or “new wave” — to jazz festivals and concert halls around the world, putting Brazilian music on the map.

Bernardo Araujo, a music critic for the daily O Globo newspaper, said last year that Gilberto’s importance was “immeasurable.”

“He was the leading voice of the best-known Brazilian style in the world and a revolutionary without even really meaning to be,” Araujo told AFP.

“He was the first singer, at least in Brazil, to demonstrate that you don’t need a big voice, that you can sing quietly, like in a whisper, while accompanied by virtuoso guitar.”

Among Gilberto’s dozens of albums, some of the most renowned were recorded with jazz greats Stan Getz, Herbie Hancock and fellow Brazilian Antonio Carlos Jobim.

The singer of “Desafinado,” “Corcovado” and “Chega de Saudade,” — which he often sang as a duet with his first wife Astrud Gilberto — was an obsessive perfectionist and then an eccentric recluse … (more)

Source: AFP


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