Honoring Astrud Gilberto, The Voice of “The Girl From Ipanema”

Written by on June 15, 2023

Seeping through the walls of my childhood suburban home, a residue of bossa nova jazz emits. The Portuguese language of bossa nova jazz rides the tunes of its soft, sweet, and subtle rhythms. I have never felt the clear water or warm sun of Brazil, but Astrud Gilberto’s voice took me there when I was a young girl. Astrud Gilberto’s graceful voice was gone too soon from the world on June 5th, 2023. It is through songs such as “The Girl From Ipanema,” “Agua de Beber,” “Corcovado” and so much more that Gilberto’s voice will be remembered.  

Photo by Simon Ritter
Photo by Simon Ritter/Redferns

Astrud Evangeline Weinhart was born in the state of Bahia, Brazil in 1940. She was raised in Rio de Janeiro and later in life married the iconic bossa nova legend Joao Gilberto. Her music career stemmed from the single recording of the forever famous song, “The Girl From Ipanema.” Played by the American saxophonist Stan Getz and guitarist Joao Gilberto, Astrud’s voice was the glimmering addition that the song needed. The song would later be covered by artists such as Connie Francis, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Eartha Kitt, and my personal favorite Amy Winehouse.

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Through the success of that recording, Astrud begins the dive into her career. Astrud Gilberto was a bridge between Brazil and the United States. She helped the light shine brighter on the bossa nova genre and through that, her light shined bright too. Gilberto released The Astrud Gilberto Album and The Shadow of Your Smile in 1965. She later worked with talents such as Antonio Carlos Jobim, Walter Wanderely, and George Michael. Alongside other female pioneers of Brazilian music, Sylvia Telles, Elis Regina, Ana Mazzotti, and Astrud Gilberto is a name that will always spark excitement.

Photo by Pictorial Press/Alamy Stock Photo

Astrud Gilberto passed away in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania this last week. Announced by musician Paul Ricci and later through her granddaughter Sofia Gilberto. Gilberto’s music can still be taken anywhere, whether it’s on a bike ride, on the car ride back home after a long day, or on a calm evening in the comfort of the living room. Gilberto’s voice tiptoed and danced slowly in the hearts of those who yearned for love and understanding all around the globe. Her voice will always be a remedy and reminder that life can be full of tender warmth. 

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