A major pop star in Brazil in the '70s and '80s, Gonzaguinha was the son of the famous Luiz Gonzaga, who did more than anyone to popularize the accordion-minded style known as forro. Gonzaga played as crucial a role in the development of forro as Joao Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim did in the development of bossa nova, and Gonzaguinha had a lot to live up to when he decided to follow in his father's footsteps. But Gonzaguinha was a great singer in his own right, and his caressing, jazz influenced pop was the work of someone who was most certainly his own man. Named after his father, Gonzaguinha was born Luiz Gonzaga, Jr. in Rio de Janeiro, where he grew up in a poor favela (Brazilian shanty town). Witnessing so much poverty growing up made the singer/guitarist/composer quite adept at writing about social and political conditions among Brazil's poor, but he was equally compelling on songs that addressed sexual and romantic concerns. Gonzaguinha was at the height of his powers when, on April 9, 1991, he died in a car crash in the Brazilian state of Parana. ~ Alex Henderson
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