May 18, 2024

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João Gilberto, a pioneer of bossa nova, died at 88: Photos, Video

The Brazilian singer and composer João Gilberto, one of the pioneers of bossa nova, died in Rio de Janerio on Saturday, according to Agencia Brasil, the country’s official news agency.

He was 88. The cause of death was not disclosed. Gilberto was a giant of bossa nova, and is often credited with helping develop the sound of the genre that brought Brazilian music to the world.
The musician’s famous collaboration with the American jazz saxophonist Stan Getz, “Getz/Gilberto,” won album of the year at the Grammy Awards in 1965. It’s still only one of a few jazz albums to do so, according to Columbia University’s Department of Music, which awarded Gilberto an honorary doctorate of music in May 2017.
The album featured their rendition of the jazz standard “Garota de Ipanema,” or “The Girl from Ipanema,” which became a worldwide hit and peaked at number 5on the Billboard Hot 100.
That song, composed by Antônio Carlos Jobim, is believed to be the second-most recorded pop song ever, behind The Beatles’ “Yesterday,” The Wall Street Journal reported in 2012, citing Performing Songwriter magazine. Gilberto’s then-wife, Astrud, sang lead vocals on “Ipanema.”
Brazilian composer João Gilberto performs at Carnegie Hall in New York on June 18, 2004.
According to Agencia Brasil, Gilberto was last onstage in 2008 for the celebration of bossa nova’s 50th anniversary.

On his Facebook account, his son Marcelo Gilberto said “his fight was noble and he tried to maintain dignity”. His daughter-in-law wrote: “Deep sadness. All he wanted was to be with us and to play with his granddaughter.”

The family did not disclose the cause of death.

Born in Bahia, a northeastern Brazilian state, Gilberto began singing at 18. After moving to Rio de Janeiro, he released the record Chega de Saudade in 1959, which marked the beginning of the world-famous bossa nova music style.

“It was João Gilberto, the greatest genius of Brazilian music, who was the definitive influence on my music,” singer Gal Costa wrote on social media. “He will be missed but his legacy is very important to Brazil and to the world.”

“He managed to create a mystique about him abroad, being who he was and not even speaking English,” he told the Globo television station.

Singer Daniela Mercury called Gilberto a “genius who revolutionised popular Brazilian music”.

“He taught us now to sing in the most beautify way in the world. Go in peace, maestro,” she wrote.

As well as Marcelo, Gilberto is survived by two other children, Bebel and Luisa.

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