Gal Costa

Gal Costa

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Birthday: Sep 26, 1945

Birthplace: Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

Brazilian musical treasure Gal Costa was originally part of a new wave of bossa nova artists working in the mid-'60s. Making her performing debut at age 19 in 1964, she was an early collaborator with Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso, who respectively wrote her first and second singles; the 1967 bossa nova duets album Domingo was the first full album for both Costa and Veloso. With Gil and Veloso, Costa became a founder of the hippie-inspired Tropicalia movement which radicalized Brazilian pop. Her albums from this era, notably her two self-titled releases from 1969, were among the most rocking and psychedelic Tropicalia discs. Combining Brazilian pop elements with a heavy rock rhythm section, her recording of the Gil/Veloso song "Divino Maravilhoso" became one of the biggest Tropicalia hits. In defiance of Brazil's military government she began exploring politics and gender identity, stirring controversy when she and fellow singing star Maria Bethânia engaged in a kiss onstage. She was also censored for the album India, whose cover featured a suggestive closeup of her red bikini bottom. As Brazil's cultural winds shifted and the Tropicalia movement waned, Costa was embraced as an above-ground star. Leaving psychedelia behind she continued to explore a variety of musical styles, including jazz and 1940s/50s Brazilian pop. 1982's exuberant dance single "Festa do Interior" became her best-selling record, and she returned to bossa nova with 1989's Rio Revisited, a live collaboration with Antonio Carlos Jobim. She also portrayed Carmen Miranda in her one major film appearance, "The Mandarin." (1995). Costa continued pursuing new directions as she approached her 50th year as a performer, taking up electronica on 2011's Recanto and modern, guitar/synthesizer-driven rock on 2015's Gal Estratosferica. Both were produced by Moreno Veloso, son of her longtime friend and collaborator Caetano Veloso.