Famous Brazilian rock singer and songwriter Rita Lee, an icon of the Tropicalia artistic movement, has died after a two-year battle with lung cancer, her family said Tuesday. He is 75 years old.
“We announce the death of Rita Lee at her home in Sao Paulo last night, surrounded by all the love of her family, as she always wanted,” a statement posted on the singer’s Instagram account, inviting in public when he wakes up. Wednesday.
His death brought many tributes from artists, politicians and celebrities who cheered his trailblazing role in Brazilian rock.
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva called him “an artist ahead of his time” and “one of the biggest and brightest names in Brazilian music”.
Rita Lee Jones de Carvalho was born on December 31, 1947, in Sao Paulo, to a dentist of American descent and a Brazilian pianist of Italian descent.
He was at the center of Brazil’s politically charged Tropicalia movement, which emerged in opposition to a military dictatorship beginning in 1964, and his work at the time was often censored.
Rita Lee Jones is one of the biggest and brightest names in Brazilian music. Singer, songwriter, actress and multi-instrumentalist. An artist ahead of his time. She thought the title of the queen of rock was inappropriate, but the nickname did justice to her trajectory.
Rita helped change the…
— Lula (@LulaOfficial) May 9, 2023
With over 20 albums recorded and 55 million records sold, her songs touched on issues related to feminism and sex at a time when such issues were taboo.
Although he considered his voice “weak and slightly out of tune”, like a sparrow, he enjoyed a long run of best-selling albums, including Rita Lee and Rita Lee & Roberto de Carvalho, and dozens of his songs have been featured in widely watched telenovelas in Latin America.
The behemoth television network Globo used her rendition of the song Poison Weed (Poison Ivy) in three of its programs.
“I was not born to get married and wash underwear. I want the same freedom as the boys who play in the streets with their toy cars,” he told the Brazilian edition of Rolling Stone in 2008.
“When I started music, I realized that ‘machos’ completely reigned, even more so in rock music. ‘Wow’, I said, ‘this is where I’m going to bare my fangs and, literally, give them a hard time.’”
He is a singer and songwriter acclaimed for his versatility, playing at least five instruments: drums, guitar, piano, harmonica and autoharp. He was also one of the first Brazilian musicians to use an electric guitar.
Lee rose to fame in the 1960s with the band Os Mutantes, formed with Arnaldo Baptista and Sergio Dias, who played with legends of Brazilian pop music such as Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso to international acclaim.
Kicked out of Os Mutantes by Baptista, whom she married, due to perceived artistic differences, Lee played in the band Tutti Frutti in the 1970s.
That band broke up at the end of the decade, leading Lee to start her solo career, and she often played with her husband Roberto de Carvalho, the father of her three children.
Eventually, his popularity surpassed Brazil.
He performed in Portugal, England, Spain, France and Germany. In 1988, the British newspaper Daily Mirror revealed that Prince Charles had once admired her song Lanca Perfume and considered her his favorite singer.
He won a Latin Grammy in the Best Portuguese Language Album category in 2001, for his album, 3001.
Lee was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2021 and has been undergoing treatment ever since.