Brazilian singer Gal Costa, icon of Tropicalia movement, dies at 77

SAO PAULO (Reuters) -Brazilian singer Gal Costa, one of the most distinctive voices from the country’s Tropicalia movement, has died at the age of 77.

“It is with deep sadness and a heavy heart that we communicate the death of singer Gal Costa,” said her official Twitter account. “We appreciate everyone’s love at this difficult time.”

Tributes poured in from many of Brazil’s biggest names in politics and entertainment.

President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Costa was “one of the greatest singers in the world.”

“Her talent, technique and daring enriched and renewed our culture, shaped and marked the lives of millions of Brazilians,” Lula tweeted, along with a photo of the two embracing.

Maria Bethânia, Costa’s contemporary from the Tropicalia movement, said in a video that Costa had “always charmed with her unique and magisterial voice.”

Maria das Graças Penna Burgos was born in the northeastern city of Salvador in 1945 and began her musical career in 1960 after meeting fellow singer Caetano Veloso. Along with Bethânia, Gilberto Gil and Tom Zé, they led a wave of singers from Bahia state who became central players in the Tropicalia movement.

Fusing local folk and Afro-Brazilian traditions with psychedelic rock influences from abroad, Tropicalia was a politically charged movement that emerged in defiance to Brazil’s military dictatorship at the time.

Gil also lamented the passing of Costa on social media.

“I’m very saddened and impacted by the death of my Gaúcha sister,” he tweeted.

Costa was still touring regularly, but had canceled shows for the rest of November to recover from an operation removing a nodule from her nasal passage. Her press team did not specify the cause of her death.

(Reporting by Eduardo Simoes and Rodrigo Viga GaierWriting by Gabriel StargardterEditing by Brad Haynes and Rosalba O’Brien)

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