Astrud Gilberto, famous for her hit ‘The Girl From Ipanema’, has died.
The Brazilian bossa nova performer passed away on June 5 at the age of 83. Her death was confirmed by her son Marcelo to Paul Ricci, a New York-based guitarist who had collaborated with Astrud, who shared the sad news with his followers on Facebook.
He wrote: “I just got word from [Astrud’s] son Marcelo that we have lost Astrud Gilberto. He asked for this to be posted.
“She was an important part of ALL that is Brazilian music in the world and she changed many lives with her energy. RIP from ‘the chief’, as she called me. Thanks AG.”
Astrud Gilberto’s granddaughter Sofia posted a tribute to her late grandmother on Instagram, insisting she will “love Astrud forever” and going on to describe her as a “pioneer”.
The professional musician wrote: “I’m here to bring you the sad news that my grandmother became a star today, and is next to my grandfather Joao Gilberto.
“Astrud was the true girl who took bossa nova from Ipanema to the world.
“She was a pioneer and the best. At the age of 22, she gave voice to the English version of ‘Girl from Ipanema’ and gained international fame.
“The song, a bossa nova anthem, became the second most played in the world mainly because of her. I love and will love Astrud forever and she was the face and voice of bossa nova in most parts of the planet.
“Astrud will forever be in our hearts, and right now we have to celebrate Astrud.”
During her career, which began in the 1960s, Astrud – who was born Astrud Evangelina Weinert in Salvador, Bahia – recorded 16 studio albums and two live records.
But her biggest hit ‘The Girl From Ipanema’ happened by accident.
The track, originally titled ‘Garota de Ipanema’, was composed in 1962 by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes, inspired by the pair’s crush on Heloísa Pinheiro, a teenage girl who used to walk past their local bar near Ipanema beach.
It was recorded again by American saxophonist Stan Getz and Brazilian guitarist Joao Gilberto on 18 March, 1963.
Astrud just happened to be in the studio and offered to sing on the track after it was suggested that her husband Joao – who Astrud wed in 1959 – perform the lyrics that had been translated from Portuguese to English by Norman Gimbel.
Speaking to JazzWax in 2010, engineer Phil Ramone – who was present at the recording in New York in 1962 – said: “Astrud was in the control room when Norm came in with the English lyrics.
“Producer Creed Taylor said he wanted to get the song done right away and looked around the room. Astrud volunteered, saying she could sing in English. Creed said, ‘Great.’ Astrud wasn’t a professional singer, but she was the only victim sitting there that night.”
Astrud’s version became a global smash selling more than five million copies and earning her a Grammy nomination for Best Vocal Performance by a Female and winning the Grammy for Song of the Year.
However, Astrud did not profit from the song’s huge success, earning only $120 in session fees.
Astrud Gilberto also had a difficult relationship with her native Brazil with her son Marcelo – who, along with half-brother Gregory, performed and recorded with their mother – claiming that the media objectified her and was also resented for her success abroad.
After a concert in Brazil in 1965, Astrud never performed in her native country ever again.
In an interview with The Independent newspaper, Marcelo said: “Brazil turned its back on her. She achieved fame abroad at a time when this was considered treasonous by the press.”