Brazilian samba singer Maria da Graça Costa Penna Burgos’ career began in 1965 and took off as the decade went on. While she released her first single as Maria Da Graça, she soon shortened her name further to Gal Costa, and found herself working with a vibrant new generation of singer-songwriters in her country, like Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, and his sister Maria Bethânia. She recorded an album of breezy bossa nova duets with Veloso in 1967, which served as both of their debut albums.
Soon after, Costa became a part of the revolutionary musical movement known as Tropicália. And by 1969, Gal was one of the most potent and popular voices in that group, scoring nationwide hits like “Divino, Maravilhoso” and “Não Identificado” while also pushing her sound to the extremes of psychedelic rock. (See the second album she released that year, Gal, for a dose of some of the era’s wildest sound.) As Caetano Veloso put it in his memoir Tropical Truth, Costa’s voice transformed from soft and dulcet to “incorporating vocal sounds that included both Janis Joplin’s grunts and the cries of James Brown.”