Hooray for Gil
A brief, emotional retrospective regarding Gilberto Gil. READ MORE
Today, we celebrate 80 years of Gilberto Gil, an artist of many facets born in Bahia. Raised in inner Ituaçu, while young he related to accordionists and improvisational singers and simultaneously took to his grandmother’s library. He always reconciled his studies with music: graduated in Administration, he split his time between the office and the stage. His main influences were Dorival Caymmi, Luiz Gonzaga and João Gilberto, and when he heard Jorge Ben for the first time, he almost gave up on music, thinking that, at that time, nothing better could be done.
His music career took off with festivals. In a nationalistic period in Brazil which also encompassed the music scene, Gil shocked the public with the Mutantes’ electric guitars in 1967, when he performed Domingo no Parque and took second place in the Brazilian Popular Music Festival.
In 1968, living in Rio de Janeiro, he founded the Tropicalist movement along with Caetano Veloso. Together, they were arrested and exiled as a result of the AI-5 decree during the Military Dictatorship. In London, they met Jorge Mautner, and together they recorded the experimental film O Demiurgo, available in the link below.
His musical output is extensive. Over fifty released albums, transitioning through different rhythms, cultures and languages. To this day he still takes to the stage. He commemorated 40 years of the Refavela (1977) album with a PRIZED DOCUMENTARY and with an international tour of the project and of his latest album, OK OK OK.
In addition to making transcendental, danceable, regional music with diverse rhythms, Gil was Minister of Culture between 2003 and 2008. With an important political agenda, he also brought the Brazilian joy into the UN summit when, along with former Secretary-General Kofi Annan, he made an unforgettable performance. Watch it here: