Brazil pays homage to ‘greatest artist’ Joao Gilberto

4 years ago 0 Comments

From the biggest names in its music world to the humblest of its citizens, Brazil paid heartfelt homage Sunday to its “greatest artist,” Joao Gilberto, the pioneering bossa nova musician who died a day earlier.

“This is an event of huge importance to me,” popular singer Caetano Veloso said in a video posted late Saturday on the GloboNews website. “Joao Gilberto, in my view, is Brazil’s greatest artist — of them all.”

The Brazilian legend, whose haunting rendition of “The Girl From Ipanema” has the power to break hearts even 60 years after it was recorded, died in Rio de Janeiro, aged 88, following a long decline.

Brazilian entertainers were quick to react.

“Anyone who was touched by Joao’s music was never the same, whether Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Roberto Carlos, Chico Buarque, Rita Lee, Jorge Ben Jor or even Tim Maia, for whom he was more than an idol: he was a beacon, an angel of the light and delicate touch,” as composer-producer Nelson Motta wrote in a tribute.

On the Sao Salvador plaza in Rio, where musicians come to improvise as passers-by sing along or show off their dance moves, Gilberto’s fans were numerous.

“Anyone who appreciates music loves Joao Gilberto,” 51-year-old biologist Ana Amelia Lima told AFP. “Maybe not all the young people, but there is a legacy, there is a community that appreciates and will continue passing on the legacy that he left behind.”

A public funeral vigil is planned for Monday morning at Rio’s Municipal Theater, Brazilian media reported.

“How much fun we had!” his daughter Bebel Gilberto wrote in an Instagram post accompanying a photo of her and her father in matching checked pajamas.

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OMG, how much fun we had! Thank you for everything.. for the attention to every little harmony , melody in any song, for loving every moment in life , for being kind and honest, and a family man , for being the GREATEST dad any one could ever dreamed of.!! thank you for the last laugh looking in to my eyes thank u for all. I loooove you.❤️. Meu Deus como a gente se divertiu!!! obrigada por tudo ,por me ensinar a prestar atenção em todas as harmonias e melodias, por amar cada momento da vida como se não houvesse amanhã , por sempre me fazer mudar todas as passagens , ou partidas. Por valoriza-tanto cada momento da vida. Obrigada pelo último olhar , pela última risada, por ser honesto , por see m homen totalmente familia. Por ter sido o melhor pai que alguém poderia desejar. Meu amor,que os anjos e Mamãe te recebam , descanse em paz. Te amo.

A post shared by Bebel Gilberto (@bebelgilberto) on Jul 6, 2019 at 5:23pm PDT

“Thank you for everything… for the attention to every little harmony, melody in any song, for loving every moment in life.”

Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro has so far issued no official reaction to the death of a national hero, neither in print nor on the social media he is so fond of.

“My thoughts are with the family,” he said simply, when asked by reporters to comment.

During Brazil’s military dictatorship years from 1964 to 1985, a time former army captain Bolsonaro often speaks of with nostalgia, the regime at times banned protests, engaged in censorship and tried political prisoners before military tribunals.

Large numbers of opposition members and artists were arrested, and many of them went into exile. Among them were Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso. JB

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