Rita Lee, signer for the influential Brazilian psychedelic/Tropicália band, Os Mutantes (The Mutants) died today at the age of 75.
Rita Lee Jones de Carvalho was born Dec. 31, 1947, in São Paulo to an American Brazilian father and Brazilian mother of Italian descent. Music was an early part of her life, including piano lessons with Magda Tagliaferro. Still a teen, Lee formed Os Mutantes in 1966 with Arnaldo Baptista and Sérgio Dias. Inspired by The Beatles and the emerging Tropicália movement in São Paulo, Os Mutantes' psychedelic music included fuzzed-out freak outs underscored by carnivalesque orchestrations, found sounds and pan-Latin rhythms.
"The bottom line is that we were light-years ahead of everyone else," Lee told the New York Times in 2001. "We were so innocent back then that we weren't even fully aware of what we were doing, and that gave our music a tremendous honesty. Everything we did was spontaneous and natural in a way that is simply not possible today, and I think that people have come to value that and respond to it passionately."