Astrud Gilberto, “The Girl From Ipanema” Singer, Dies at 83

Astrud Gilberto

Astrud Gilberto, August 1964 (PoPsie Randolph/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Astrud Gilberto, “The Girl From Ipanema” Singer, Dies at 83

The Brazilian singer debuted with Getz/Gilberto’s landmark version of the bossa nova track before a troubled solo career

Astrud Gilberto, the singer of Stan Getz and João Gilberto’s classic 1963 version of “The Girl From Ipanema,” died yesterday (June 5), The Independent reports, citing her son Marcelo. No cause of death was given. Astrud Gilberto was 83 years old.

Gilberto was an untrained singer when she volunteered, on a whim, to step into the booth after her husband, João Gilberto, and the American saxophonist Stan Getz recorded Antônio Carlos Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes’ “Garota de Ipanema.” The English translation was a sensation, a bossa nova landmark turned pop standard that captured the international imagination.

Astrud and João Gilberto divorced in 1964 after he had an affair on tour, for which the Brazilian press blamed Astrud. In 1965, she earned three Grammy nods (and another the following year for her solo debut, The Astrud Gilberto Album), including a win for Record of the Year, but industry maneuvers and alleged intervention by Getz ensured she received scant remuneration. Gilberto went on to record more than a dozen solo albums for Verve and other labels, switching between pop and jazz standards, Brazilian classics, original co-writes, and, as a studious polyglot, singing her music in Japanese for her sizeable East Asian fanbase. She also collaborated with artists including Chet Baker, Quincy Jones, and, in an unlikely 1996 duet, George Michael. As her global legend grew, however, the Brazilian press continued to demonize Gilberto, and she never performed in the country after 1965.

In 2002, Gilberto was inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame, where she announced an indefinite break from her music career. Upon the news of her death, the musician Sofia Gilberto, Astrud’s granddaughter, wrote on social media in Portuguese, “I love and will love Astrud eternally and she was the face and voice of bossa nova on most of the planet. Astrud will forever be in our hearts, and in this moment we have to celebrate Astrud.”

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