Rita Lee, Brazil’s long-reigning Queen of Rock, dies


Rita Lee Jones, Brazil’s million-selling “Queen of Rock” who gained a global following by way of her colourful and candid model and such hits as “Ovelha Negra,” “Mania de Você” and “Now Solely Lacking You,” has died at 75.

Often known as Rita Lee, she died at her residence in Sao Paulo on Monday night, based on a press release posted to her official Instagram account.

A reason for loss of life wasn’t instantly disclosed. She had retired from stage performances within the early 2010s in what she later attributed to bodily frailty, and was identified in 2021 with lung most cancers, although her son introduced a 12 months later that she had defeated the sickness.

With a profession spanning six many years, the Sao Paulo native left a long-lasting mark along with her irreverence, creativity and compositions containing messages that helped introduce Brazilian society to feminism, whereas additionally candidly addressing her struggles with drug abuse.

Though she regarded her voice as “weak and slightly out of tune,′ like a sparrow’s, she loved a long term of top-selling albums, together with “Rita Lee” and “Rita Lee & Roberto de Carvalho,” and dozens of her songs had been featured in extensively watched telenovelas in Latin America. The behemoth tv community Globo used her rendition of the music “Poison Weed” in three of its packages.

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Rita Lee in Buenos Aires.

(Natacha Pisarenko / Related Press)

“I used to be not born to get married and wash underwear. I needed the identical freedom because the boys who used to play on the street with their toy automobiles,” she informed the Brazilian version of Rolling Stone in 2008. “Once I obtained into music, I spotted that the ‘machos’ reigned absolute, much more in rock music. ‘Wow’, I stated, ‘that is the place I’m going to let my fangs out and, actually, give them a tough time.’”

She was a singer and songwriter praised for her versatility, taking part in at the very least 5 devices: drums, guitar, piano, harmonica and autoharp. She was additionally one of many first Brazilian musicians to report with an electrical guitar.

Ultimately, her reputation prolonged past Brazil. She carried out in Portugal, England, Spain, France and Germany. In 1988, the British newspaper Each day Mirror revealed that then-Prince Charles admired her music “Lança Fragrance” and regarded her his favourite singer. She gained a Latin Grammy in the perfect Portuguese language album class in 2001, for her album “3001.”

Rita Lee rose to fame with the group Os Mutantes (The Mutants), beginning in 1966. Colours and creativity, in addition to irony and irreverence, had been Lee’s emblems from the beginning, evident within the flamboyant costumes she wore in her exhibits. By the mid-Nineteen Seventies, after promoting 200,000 copies of the album “Forbidden Fruit,” Lee started to be known as the “queen of rock” on the music scene. Hits on “Forbidden Fruit” embody “Now Solely Lacking You” and “Ovelha Negra,” lengthy performed on radio stations and Brazilian cleaning soap operas.

She was one of many first public figures in Brazil to popularize feminist themes, akin to infusing the lyrics of her 1979 music “Mania de Voce” (Mania for You) with feminine sexuality and pleasure. Related songs adopted, akin to “Amor e Sexo” (Love and Intercourse), which contrasted the 2 intimately and “Lança Fragrance” (Spray Fragrance), an ode to unbridled hedonism.

Later in life, she grew to become a vegan and animal rights activist. For many years, she saved her hair vibrant pink and sometimes wore matching lenses, a preferred look that she discarded lately as she allowed her grey to develop out. She resolved in 2015 to reinvent herself as a white butterfly.

In her autobiography, revealed the next 12 months, she didn’t shy from describing the sexual abuse she suffered as a toddler by the hands of a person who had come to repair her mom’s stitching machine.

She additionally referred to herself as a “insurgent” and “hippie communist,” and wrote of sneaking out the home windows of her home as an adolescent to play, being arrested for possession of marijuana, and her a number of stints in rehab clinics for medication and alcohol.

“I acknowledge that my finest songs had been written in an altered state, and my worst too. I solely remorse my delay in realizing that the ‘medication’ had lengthy since expired,” she wrote. “My era suffered the claustrophobia of a brutal dictatorship, and utilizing medication was a strategy to breathe airs of freedom.”

In an interview with the tv program “Fantastico” in 2020, she defined that bodily frailty had prompted her to go away the stage eight years earlier.

“Getting outdated, for me, was a shock, as a result of I’ve by no means been outdated in my life,” she informed the present. “I used to be left desirous to stay my outdated age away from the stage, with out sharing it with the general public.”

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva declared three days of mourning and lamented the lack of “one of many largest and most good names in Brazilian music.” He praised on his official Twitter profile “an artist forward of her time,” and her humorousness.

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Rita Lee performs in Rio de Janeiro in 1985.

(Related Press)

She is survived by her three kids and her husband, with whom she shared a 44-year musical partnership. In 2021, they launched a brand new music, “Change,” collectively, and a remix of among the singer’s largest hits.

Years earlier than, she imagined her future loss of life, as if prophesying:

“I will likely be in heaven,” she wrote, “with my soul current taking part in my autoharp and singing to God, ‘Thanks, Lord, lastly sedated.’ Epitaph: She was by no means a great instance, however she was good folks.”


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