Gina Banfi de Abello, Shakira’s Former Vocal Coach, Dies at 92

Gina Banfi de Abello, a distinguished figure in vocal coaching, died on Saturday (March 2) at the age of 92. Known for her work in choir and vocal training, Banfi mentored notable artists including Shakira and Colombian singer and composer Nicolás Tovar.


Her son Jaime Abello Banfi confirmed the news on social media on the day of her passing with an image of his mother. “Gina Banfi de Abello, November 26, 1931 – March 2, 2024,” reads the announcement. “Jaime, Mauricio, Beatriz, Maribel and Hugo Abello Banfi, her sons, daughters-in-law, grandchildren and great-grandchildren invite you to attend the funeral, Sunday, March 3, 2024.”

In response to the flood of comments he received on his social media channels, Jamie expressed his gratitude in another Instagram post. “I sincerely appreciate hundreds of messages of solidarity and affection received at times when my family and I tried to accept the sad reality of the physical death of my mother Gina Banfi de Abello, who made her transition with lucidity, serenity and full of love and gratitude,” he wrote alongside a photo of his mother. “We are comforted by these messages, as well as the media coverage of her departure, which highlights her contribution as an artist and music educator.”

According to a 2011 interview with Argentinian newspaper La Gaceta, Banfi coached Shakira in 1992, when the then rising star was preparing to sing at Chile’s Viña del Mar International Song Festival at 15 years old.

“She was out of the ordinary. She was something different. When she was very young, she was a belly dancer. She has a gifted talent,” Banfi told La Gaceta. “She has always had that same powerful voice. I taught her some breathing techniques and I prepared her when she went to Viña del Mar and it was a pleasure for me. Since she was a little girl, she expressed herself as she does today. It was an admirable thing for such a young girl.”

Banfi’s journey into music began in her early years, as she turned to studying piano after her endeavors in painting did not pan out. Her home environment was rich with music and art, fostering her passion for the arts from a young age. Over the years, the Barranquilla, Colombia, artist became an integral part of various musical groups, including the Coro Santa Cecilia and Coro Madrigal, showcasing her talent and dedication to choral music.

See the announcement of her passing below:

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