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Martin Guttridge-Hewitt
10 November 2022, 13:23

Gal Costa, Brazilian music icon, dies aged 77

A central figure in the groundbreaking Tropicália movement and Grammy-winner responsible for 33 studio albums

Gal Costa, Brazilian music icon, dies aged 77

Gal Costa, an icon of Brazilian popular music, has died at the age of 77. 

The sad news was confirmed on Wednesday 9th November by her public relations representatives, with no further details provided. However, reports of her cancelling an appearance at a music festival in São Paulo, where she lived, had circulated recently. 

Rising to prominence in the late-1960s, Costa was synonymous with and a central figure in the Tropicália movement since the style first garnered attention. Considered groundbreaking due to its marriage of pop and avant-garde sensibilities by way of traditional Brazilian and African rhythms spliced with US and British psychedelia.

Born in Salvador de Bahia, Costa released 33 studio albums during her career. These began with 1967's 'Domingo', recorded alongside famed composer, singer, guitarist, writer, and political activist Caetano Veloso, and ended on 'Nenhuma Dor', which arrived last year. Her 1969 self-titled solo debut is considered a Tropicálismo landmark.

In 2011, she was awarded a Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and is also regarded by many as an LGBTQIA+ icon. Openly bisexual, she helped increase representation and visibility across a region that continues to struggle with sexism, homophobia, gender and sexual prejudice, despite many Latin American countries introducing increasingly progressive laws protecting gay communities. A biopic, 'Meu nome é Gal', charting her story, is set to be released in 2023, with German-Brazilian actor Sophie Charlotte cast as the star.