Gal Costa Biography

Maria da Graça Costa Penna Burgos, 26 September 1945, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. Costa is the most illustrious female singer of the tropicália movement, a chameleonic performer who has been equal parts hippie, sex symbol, carnival participant and political activist. From the start of her musical career in the mid-60s, she had some pretty illustrious classmates: Caetano Veloso and Maria Bethânia, who, in turn, introduced her to Gilberto Gil. It was an explosive team, eager to share creative ideas and participate on each other’s records. When Veloso and Gil chose European exile over Brazil’s castrating dictatorship, Costa kept the flame alive by performing songs they sent to her. She also kept in touch with the young rockers of the late 60s, recording tunes by artists including Erasmo Carlos and Roberto Carlos. In 1973, the album cover of Costa’s Índia was censored because the image of the singer in a red bikini was considered too daring. By the late 70s, however, she was a superstar, although on record her voice was often let down by the bland synth-pop backing tracks. In 1982, the double album Fantasia spawned the huge carnival hit ‘Festa Do Interior’. Costa continues to record, one of her later recent artistic triumphs being 1994’s Mina D Água Do Meu Canto, a collection of songs penned by her tropicália colleagues Veloso and Chico Buarque. Although Costa’s more recent work lacks the political defiance of her early output, this is one diva who still has a lot to say.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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