Nelson Almeida/AFP by way of Getty Photographs
Rita Lee, the Brazilian singer, musician, composer and a founding father of Os Mutantes, has died. She was 75.
“We talk the passing of Rita Lee, in her house, in São Paulo, late final night time, surrounded by all of the love of her household, as she at all times wished,” shared Lee’s official social media channels, translated from Portuguese. “On this second of deep unhappiness, the household is grateful for everybody’s affection and love.” Her reason behind demise was not disclosed. In 2021, the artist was identified with lung most cancers and went into remission final 12 months.
Rita Lee Jones de Carvalho was born Dec. 31, 1947, in São Paulo to an American-Brazilian father and Brazilian mom of Italian descent. Music was an early a part of her life, together with piano classes with Magda Tagliaferro. Nonetheless a teen, Lee shaped Os Mutantes in 1966 with Arnaldo Baptista and Sérgio Dias. Impressed by The Beatles and the rising Tropicália motion in São Paulo, Os Mutantes’ psychedelic music included fuzzed-out freak outs underscored by carnivalesque orchestrations, discovered sounds and pan-Latin rhythms.
”The underside line is that we have been light-years forward of everybody else,” Lee informed the New York Occasions in 2001. ”We have been so harmless again then that we weren’t even absolutely conscious of what we have been doing, and that gave our music an amazing honesty. Every thing we did was spontaneous and pure in a method that’s merely not doable as we speak, and I feel that folks have come to worth that and reply to it passionately.”
That naive, but exploratory alchemy was baked into 5 sensible albums from 1968 to 1972, to not point out Os Mutantes’ studio work for Gilberto Gil on his second, self-titled album. Each track is in some way cool and picked up, but additionally on the point of falling aside. With its lyrical repetition and variation, “Bat Macumba,” for instance, feels prefer it may very well be a novelty track for go-go dancers, however its scorched guitar fizz warps listeners into one other dimension. “Panis Et Circenses,” which appeared on the 1968 compilation and inventive manifesto Tropicália, was written by Gil and Caetano Veloso, however Os Mutantes offers the satirical track — led by Lee’s soft-but-commanding voice — a psychedelic gravitas. “We have been a magical potion,” Dias informed Psychedelic Child Journal. “We at all times knew what one another was as much as even with out speaking.”
Lee left Os Mutantes in 1972 “seeking Brazil, Brazil, Brazil,” to claim her roots. (She was additionally briefly married to fellow Os Mutantes member Baptista throughout this time.) You may hear that as early as 1970’s Construct Up, which was backed by Os Mutantes, however over the many years, her music grew to become extra standard, particularly her pop collaborations with Roberto Carvalho, whom she later married. But nonetheless, there’s journey and misleading easy-going feeling in these albums — political dissent, sexual exploration and faith remained prime of thoughts.
As followers lined up on the Planetarium at Ibirapuera Park for a public wake, tributes have poured in. “Comadre Rita, Anibal, cabrinha, caprichosa capricorniana, amiga,” tweeted Gilberto Gil. “Relaxation, my sister. I really like you.”
Arnaldo Baptista credit Lee for the “circus really feel” of Os Mutantes, together with its humor, costumes and devices performed, just like the theremin. Even the present president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, declared three days of mourning and referred to as Lee “one of many best and most sensible names in Brazilian music.”
“The angels sing,” Dias shared in a press release. “The arcangels decrease their eyes and God bows to let her go by… my love… she went to satisfy love.”