Singer and activist (born Maria Fernanda Pedreira) was 52
Marília Mendonça, a Rio de Janeiro-born activist and singer who became famous internationally, has died in a plane crash in Bolivia, where she was on her way to perform at an environmental meeting.
The Brazilian president, Michel Temer, condemned the crash and said Mendonça was on her way to join a meeting to commemorate Vale do Rio Doce, the Brazilian mining company and her father’s employer, which has been involved in numerous environmental accidents.
The 51-year-old performer, whose given name was Maria Fernanda Pedreira, was a prominent environmentalist in her home country. In 2013, her father was voted worst boss in the country.
A rare tribute to Marília Mendonça Read more
Mendonça said that he had considered that while she had brought music into her life, he had more opportunities. But she called him on one of her final phone calls to say that this was all for nothing, for without him the world was not worth anything. “Until I get away from this planet he is alive and is still here with me,” she told him, according to the Brazilian news magazine, Jornal do Brasil.
After studying, at a state-run university in Brazil, at a children’s hospice and the Institute of Foliage, Mendonça joined a folk group and studied civil engineering before going solo.
She then appeared at the opening of Rio’s de Claro Hostel in 1994, which was designed by Le Corbusier and covered with artificial shrubs and wild flowers. The city’s mayor called it the world’s first green hostel.
After that she launched a music career, releasing albums that include Wake Up, Your Heart Is Broken and Workers; and produced an album of specially composed songs for the very first environmental conference to be held in La Paz, Bolivia, in 2014.
Some of the songs, that condemned the criminal negligence of the Vale do Rio doce mine and its extensive irrigation scheme, offended the Bolivian government.
Most of the musicians she collaborated with – such as Luiz Manuel Lopes and Luis Moura – performed in Guarani. It is in Guarani that Mendonça was known as Márcia.