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Astrud Gilberto, 'The Girl from Ipanema' singer, dies at 83

Brazilian samba and bossa nova singer Astrud Gilberto onstage in 1965.
Evening Standard
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Brazilian samba and bossa nova singer Astrud Gilberto onstage in 1965.

The singer behind one of the most recorded songs in history has died.

With her breathy vocals, Astrud Gilberto helped make the breezy and sensual "The Girl From Ipanema" into a global sensation. Her death was confirmed by her son, bassist Marcelo Gilberto. She was 83.

Gilberto was married to famed Brazilian musician and singer João Gilberto. During a recording session for an album with Stan Getz, a publisher had the idea to add some English-language vocals to the tune, originally composed by Antônio Carlos Jobim with Portuguese lyrics by Vinícius de Moraes. Astrud volunteered. The album, Getz/Gilberto, went on to win four Grammys.

Though she wasn't credited, and reportedly only made $120 for the session, Gilberto followed up her vocal debut with an illustrious career, recording and performing solo and with others including Quincy Jones and Chet Baker. In 2008, the Latin Recording Academy honored her with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Elizabeth Blair is a Peabody Award-winning senior producer/reporter on the Arts Desk of NPR News.
Carrie Kahn is NPR's International Correspondent based in Mexico City, Mexico. She covers Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America. Kahn's reports can be heard on NPR's award-winning news programs including All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Weekend Edition, and on NPR.org.