Gal Costa

A legend of Brazilian pop, Gal Costa – born Maria da Graça Costa Penna Burgos on September 6, 1945, in Salvador, Brazil - helped introduce tropicalia music to the world in the 1960s and grew from a bohemian, counter-culture songstress into a rebellious diva. Born in the city of Salvador in Bahia, she discovered the music of bossa nova great Joao Gilberto while working in a record shop in her teens and became friends with a young activist songwriter called Caetano Veloso. With Veloso she was part of a groundbreaking stage show called Nos, Pour Exemplo in 1964. At the time, Brazil was ruled by a strict military regime, and Gal Costa was part of the tropicalia art movement which mixed cool bossa nova melodies with African rhythms, avant-garde flamboyance and the psychedelic, revolutionary ideas of the times. After moving to Rio De Janeiro, her first recording was a duet with Veloso's sister Maria Bethania, followed by a string of singles under her birth name Maria da Graça. In 1967, Gal Costa released her debut album, Domingo, which featured the major hit single “Coracao Vagabundo.” She was also part of the landmark 1969 album Tropicalia: Ou Panis est Circenis, which featured Veloso, Tom Ze, Os Mutantes and Vicente Celestino and was seen as a rallying call for the new generation. Gal Costa defined her funky, dreamy, soulful style on her solo albums Gal Costa (1969), India (1973), and Cantar (1974). Other hit singles included the loungey, sun-kissed magic of “Nao Identificado” (1969), the jumping, psychy samba shuffle of “Divino, Maravilhoso” (1969) and the carnival classic “Festa Do Interior” (1981). Gal Costa's new-found vampish sexuality earned comparisons to the likes of Janis Joplin and James Brown. In later years she developed more into an elegant show-stopping torch singer and, in 2011, she reunited with Veloso for the album Recanto. Recognized as an influential superstar of Latin music, she returned again in 2018 for her 37th studio album A Pele do Futuro, which featured guest appearances from Marila Mendonca and Maria Bethania. Three years later, she released her final album Nenhuma Dor (2021). Gal Costa died on November 9, 2022, at the age of 77.

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