Astrud Gilberto became the first Brazilian woman to win a Grammy in 1965
Photo: Simon Ritter / Redferns
Brazilian singer Astrud Gilberto, whose rendition of »The Girl from Ipanema« became a worldwide hit, has died. As her family announced, she died on Tuesday at the age of 83. According to the news portal G1, Gilberto died at his home in the US metropolis of Philadelphia.
Her grandmother had become "a star today" at the side of her grandfather João Gilberto, granddaughter Sofia Gilberto explained in the online networks. Astrud Gilberto was the first wife of the bossa nova pioneer, who died in Rio de Janeiro in 2019 at the age of 88.
When she sang the wistful ballad »The Girl of Ipanema«, she had hardly any professional musical experience. Nevertheless, in the sixties, together with the US saxophonist Stan Getz, she ensured that the English-language version of the Brazilian piece of music by Tom Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes became one of the world's best-known bossa nova songs. With this version, the singer was also the first Brazilian to be awarded a Grammy.
At that time, Astrud Gilberto spoke just enough English to be able to sing the passages. In a 2002 interview, Gilberto recalled that the recording had been announced to her by her husband as a "surprise." "João asked me to join in casually and sing a verse in English after he had just sung a verse in Portuguese. So that's what I did," she said. Her light, unpretentious style is said to have later influenced singers Sade and Suzanne Vega, among others.
In the course of her music career, »The Queen of Bossa Nova« recorded a total of 19 albums. In 2002, however, she retired completely from the music business to devote herself to painting and animal welfare. She spent her last years in Philadelphia.