Latin American music is in mourning. Gal Costa -one of the pillars of Brazilian music, owner of a voice and a class that ranged from rock and psychedelia to MPB, folk and samba- died this Wednesday at the age of 77. The information was confirmed by media such as the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper.
In her last days, the artist had an agenda in full force. She was one of the big local names for the Brazilian version of the Primavera Sound festival, which was held in Sao Paulo last weekend -and which will also land in Chile-, but her show was canceled at the last minute.
According to his team, he needed to recover after the removal of a lump in his right nostril. and would be off stage until the end of November, following medical recommendations.
The operation was carried out in September, shortly after passing through another music festival in Sao Paulo, called Coala. Since then, he had not given recitals again, but he already had dates for the As Viras Puntas de una Estrella tour scheduled for December and January.
Born Maria da Graça Costa Penna Burgos in Salvador de Bahia, on September 26, 1945, her mother always encouraged her to pursue a career in music. Her father, who died in her teens, was always an absent figure.
Working in a record store in the Bahian capital, he began to connect with various illustrious musicians from his country who, at that time, were also making their first weapons as authors. In this way, at the beginning of the 60s he met Caetano Veloso, an encounter that would mark his life forever: it was the decisive push to devote himself to music.
In this way, Costa debuted on August 22, 1964 at the inauguration of the Vila Velha Theater in Salvador de Bahia, along with Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Maria Bethânia, Tom Zé and others. That same year he participated in the Bossa Nova Velha, Velha Bossa Nova, in the same place and with the same cast.
She left her home in Salvador de Bahía to go live in Rio de Janeiro with her cousin Nívea. Later, she stayed in an apartment in Sá Ferreira, before meeting up with friends at Solar da Fossa, where María Bethânia, Caetano Veloso and Paulinho da Viola also live, with whom she befriends and carries out artistic projects.
From then on, he would be part of the group of figures that would give new airs to the music of the South American giant, directing it along a route of renewal through contemporary instrumentation, voices that explored other timbres, textures that alluded to different colors, a songbook whose sound became expressive, experimental and elastic. It is the lineage that led the Brazilian catalog to manifestations such as tropicalism. A true golden generation.
In his chronology, in 1967 the first LP was released, Sundaymade together with his partner, also debutant, Caetano Veloso, for the Philips label.
In 1968 he participated in the emblematic album Tropicália ou Panis et Circensis with the songs Mama Couragem by Caetano Veloso and Torquato Neto, Industry Parkl by Tom Zé and As soon as you are a wolf of Caetano Veloso, in addition to Baby by Caetano Veloso, Costa’s first major solo hit, the one that became a classic.
In 1969 he released his first solo album, gal coastwhich in addition to Baby Y wonderful divine contained What a pity (Ele já não like more than me) by Jorge Ben Jor, and None identified by Caetano Veloso, all great successes. In the same year he recorded the second solo album, Galwhich included the hits My name is Gal of Roberto Carlos and Erasmo, and Cinema Olympia by Caetano Veloso. From this album the show Gal! was generated.
In 1970 he traveled to London to visit Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, exiled by the military dictatorship, and brought back some of the songs included on his next album, Legal. The songs from this album were successful london londonby Caetano Veloso, and false bayan, by Geraldo Pereira.
There his creative personality was distinctive: a voice that imposed itself on a resonant rhythmic base, although also nuanced with softness and delicacy.
That pairing catapulted her as the muse of tropicalism, the female performer who best knew how to channel the compositions of her peers, also gaining notoriety for her transgressive sensuality, for her suggestive costumes or for her lush hair related to the “black power” aesthetic that many artists funk and soul wielded in the United States. At that time she even drew comparisons to stars like Janis Joplin.
Indiafrom 1973, is also another of his great titles, a journey where the more vehement character of his previous works is replaced by softer tones.
His artistic life did not stop until the new century and he won the Latin Grammy for Musical Excellence in 2011.
She claimed feminism in her adulthood and repudiated the policies in the cultural sector of the government of Jair Bolsonaro. He managed his private life away from the cameras, so he was surprised when he posted a photo of his adopted son Gabriel on social media in 2021 to congratulate him on his 16th birthday.
Brazil has lost a legend.