Rio de Janeiro.

Brazilian singer Elza Soares, celebrated in her country as the “singer of the millennium”, died in Rio de Janeiro at the age of 91. This was reported by Brazilian media, citing their leadership.

Soares died under natural circumstances at her home in Rio, according to a post on the artist’s Instagram account. “The singer moved the world with her voice, her strength and her determination.”

Blending samba, jazz, electro, hip hop and funk and releasing over 30 albums, Soares is considered one of Brazil’s greatest and most popular singers. His highest distinction: At Rio Carnival 2020, the samba school “Mocidade” dedicated its own parade to him in the sambadrome.

Brazil mourns the loss of a great singer

Tributes after Soares’ death also followed quickly: Mayor Eduardo Paes, for example, a samba and carnival fan, wrote on Twitter that he would declare three days of mourning in Rio on Friday: “Elza is alive!” . Fellow musicians such as Caetano Veloso and Maria Rita praised the “extraordinary combination of talent and energy” and celebrated Soares as a “lightweight figure”.

Born in 1930 in the poor neighborhood of Moça Bonita in Rio de Janeiro, Elza Soares married at twelve, became a mother for the first time at 13, lost her second child to malnutrition at 15, and was widowed at the age of 21.

Due to her borrowed clothes, Soares was asked on the radio which planet she was from in 1953 when she started making music. “From the same planet as you – from the planet of hunger”, was his famous response, which also gave his name to his 34th and last album “Planeta Fome” of 2019.

Nevertheless, the woman with the rough song made her breakthrough in 1959, at the peak of bossa nova; in the 1960s, she established herself as one of the country’s leading samba performers. For many years, Soares carried the title “queen of samba”, although she never limited herself to it.

The ever-stylish Elza Soares sang into old age and became a feminist icon in the process. Concerts such as the presentation of “Planeta Fome” at the “Circo Voador” in Rio or at the “Rock in Rio” festival in 2019, where she sat enthroned on an armchair, were events, almost manifestos. She also sang at the opening of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games – seated.

“Not only have we lost one of the most powerful voices, but also a great woman who has always stood up for democracy and the good cause,” tweeted former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Soares criticized social structures and racism.

Privately, Elza Soares made headlines with her relationship with star player Garrincha, who left his family for her after the 1962 World Cup in Chile. During the military dictatorship in Brazil (1964-1985), the couple went into exile for a few years in Italy, where the singer performed at the “Teatro Sistina” in Rome. Brazilian media recalled that Garrincha also died on January 20, 1983. (dpa)