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Joao Gilberto

The definitive bossa nova and Brazilian ballad singer, João Gilberto has always had a quiet but very effective voice. Born in 1931, he began playing guitar when he was 14, leading his first band a year later. At 18, Gilberto began working on radio but, although he made his first records as early as 1951, it was not until later in the decade that his breathy and whispery singing, which was considered innovative, became popular. His album, Chega De Saudade, was one of the first bossa nova records and Gilberto became known as one of the top interpreters of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s music, having early hits in Brazil with “Chega De Saudade” and “Desafinado.”

In 1962, Gilberto moved to the United States where he lived (other than two years spent in Mexico) until 1980. He teamed up with Stan Getz for the album Getz/Gilberto which became a best-seller, partly due to his and his wife Astrud Gilberto’s singing on “The Girl From Ipanema.” Gilberto worked constantly during his American years, becoming world famous and recording a reunion set with Getz in 1976, The Best of Two Worlds. Amoroso from 1977 teams his voice and guitar with the string arrangements of Claus Ogerman. After moving back to Brazil in the early 1980s, he has become somewhat reclusive and his live concerts have become less frequent, but he has continued to be a major attraction and his highly influential voice remains in prime form. He is the father of singer Bebel Gilberto.