Armando António Capelo Diniz da Gama (1 April 1954 – 17 January 2022) was a Portuguese singer-songwriter and baritone opera singer, whose physical trademark for decades was his shoulder-length jet black hair.
Gama grew up in Portuguese Angola, an overseas territory of Portugal by then, and lived there until the age of 17. Upon moving to mainland Portugal in 1971, he scored the first of many No. 1 hits on the Portuguese music charts. He was well-versed in performing piano and solfège, having studied them at the music conservatory in Luanda until he was a teenager.
In his decades-long music career, he sold over five million records in Portugal alone. He became well-known internationally performing at the Eurovision Song Contest 1983, singing the song “Esta balada que te dou,” ranking 13th out of 20 countries. Gama still performed in his later years, and presented a live show called “Armando Gama: The Fifth Beatle,” in which he performed cover versions of well-known songs by The Beatles.
Gama died of pancreatic cancer at Instituto Português de Oncologia Francisco Gentil in Lisbon on 17 January 2022, at the age of 67.
In 1957, he was already playing the harmonica. In 1961 he studied accordion and, in 1968, he composed his first song on guitar. He formed his first band, the Lovebirds, in 1970. In 1971, he formed the duo Marinho & Gama, recording the first album with songs of his own: “Menino” and “Spanish Garden” .
Armando Gama formed Tantra in 1976, together with Manuel Cardoso. Two years later, he joined the duo Sarabanda with Kris Köpke. He performed at the RTP da Canção Festival in 1980, with “Made in Portugal.” He formed “Cânone” in 1981, with guitarist Zé Pino, bassist “Kaipas” and drummer “Xiquinho”. In 1982, he recorded his first solo album “Quase Tudo.”
In 1986 he recorded two singles : “No teu Abraço” and “Adoro Chopin“. In 1987, he began working together with Valentina Torres. They made appearance on various television shows and recorded various songs together: “Sonho de Natal” in 1988, “Maria Linda” in 1989 and in 1991 “Menina grab your boy“. In 1999 he began to play piano at regular base at Casino do Estoril until July 2008. On May 13, 2006 he presented the show Armando Gama o 5th Beatle.
After competing at Festival da Canção again in 1992 with the song “Se Eu Sonhar,” he did another try in 2009 with the song “Amor mais-que-perfeito.” Nevertheless, the song wasn’t selected by the online voting and didn’t compete at Festival da Canção. In 2019 we saw him back at Festival da Canção as an interval act, singing his 1983 entry with a new musical arrangement produced by Nuno Gonçalves.