Joao Gilberto, Brazil′s father of bossa nova, dies at 88 | News | DW | 07.07.2019
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Joao Gilberto, Brazil's father of bossa nova, dies at 88

The Brazilian musician was considered a "revolutionary" for launching a new genre that incorporated elements of jazz. Joao Gilberto is best known for his popular rendition of "The Girl from Ipanema."

World-renowned Brazilian musician Joao Gilberto, considered the father of bossa nova music, died on Saturday at the age of 88.

"My father has passed," his son Marcelo Gilberto wrote on Facebook. "His fight was noble, he tried to maintain his dignity."

Born in a small town in Bahia state, he launched a new musical movement known as bossa nova when he released the record "Chega de Saudade" in 1959.

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'Revolutionary'

It wasn't until the 1960s that he became a renowned musical artist with his popular rendition of "The Girl from Ipanema," which he sang with his wife at the time.

He would go on to make albums with some of the greatest jazz musicians, including Herbie Hancock and Stan Getz. For many, his musical approach was "revolutionary."

"He was the first singer, at least in Brazil, to demonstrate that you don't need a big voice, that you can sing quietly, like in a whisper, while accompanied by virtuoso guitar," music critic Bernardo Araujo told the Agence France-Presse news agency.

Alone in the end

However, following his worldwide success, Gilberto eventually chose a life of seclusion. He created his last original album in 1989 and nearly two decades later, performed his last concert in 2008.

"In front of the microphone, he was a smashing success," said his biographer Ruy Castro last year. "But off-stage, it was the opposite."

In his later years, two of his children fought a protracted legal battle with Gilberto's third wife, Claudia Faissol, a journalist 40 years younger than him.

Due to towering debt, he lived his last years alone in a house loaned to him by Brazilian cinematographer Paula Lavigne.

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ls/sms (Reuters, AFP, AP)

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