'Lambada' Singer Loalwa Braz Murdered in Brazil

Adriana Spaca/Brazil Photo Press/LatinContent/Getty Images
Loalwa Braz Vieira performs during a music show at the Stage of the Arouche Square on May 5, 2013 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. 

Interpreter of the enduring Afro-Brazilian hit was targeted by thieves, police say

Loalwa Braz, the Brazilian singer best known as the voice of the 1989 global hit “Lambada,” was found dead in a burned out car near her home in a coastal town outside of Rio de Janeiro. Brazilian police have detained three men in what has been described as a robbery gone awry, according to the Brazilian news site globo.com. Braz’s body was discovered in the burned out vehicle on Thursday (Jan. 19).

Braz was a vocalist with the French group Kaoma, which had overnight success with “Lambada,” originally titled "Chorando se foi." The track was a cover of a Bolivian folk song ("Llorando Se Fue"), set to the Afro-Brazilian lambada rhythm derived from the folkloric carimbó style.

The song’s success prompted the late singer to move to Paris, and she recorded and toured with the French group for ten years. 

She later moved back to Rio, keeping up a solo singing career and running an inn, where the 63-year-old artist was targeted by the thieves alleged to have killed her.

Braz continued to sing “Lambada” at concerts and carnival celebrations, and in recent years, her voice inspired a revival of the song. Jennifer Lopez incorporated the lyrics and rhythm of the song into her track “On the Floor,” featuring Pitbull. Reggaetonero Don Omar released his own version, “Taboo,”on his album Meet the Oprhans. Braz joined him onstage at Bilboard’s Latin Music Awards in 2012 to perform the song.

Loalwa was born into a  family of musicians in Rio de Janeiro and started her singing professionally at age 13. Before "Lambada," Loalwa recorded songs with Gilberto Gil, Maria Bethania, Gal Costa, Caetano Veloso and other Brazilian artists.