Born: June 29, 1942 Primary Instrument: Guitar
Gilberto Gil carries out a fundamental role in the constant modernization process of Brazilian popular music. Partaking of this scene for 41 years, he has developed one of the most relevant and renown careers as a singer, composer and guitar-player in this field. Gil has had his albums released abroad since 1978, the year of his successful performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival, in Switzerland, recorded live. Every year he tours Europe, North America, Latin America and Japan with his contagious pop music spoken in Portuguese-Brazilian and international language, a music with a strong rhythmic appeal and melodic richness, as mixed as its people.
Rhythms from the northeast of Brazil like the baião, apart from samba and bossa-nova were fundamental in his formation. Using them as a starting point, Gil forged his own music to which he incorporated rock, reggae, funk and rhythms from Bahia such as afoxé. Gil has tackled a wide variety of issues in his lyrics, pertinent to modern reality: from social inequality to the racial question, from African to Oriental culture, from science to religion, among others. The mastership with which Gil explores these subjects makes him one of the greatest Brazilian composer-lyricists.
Gil's importance to the culture of his country goes back to the 60's, when he and Caetano Veloso created Tropicalism. Radically innovative in the music scene, the movement assimilated pop culture to national genres; deeply critical on political and moral levels, Tropicalism ended up being repressed by the authoritarian regime. Gil and Caetano were imprisoned and exiled.
In London, Gil recorded an album in English for the local Philips. When he returned to Brazil, he began a series of anthological records in the 70's: Expresso 2222, Gil Jorge (with Jorge Ben Jor), Os Doces Bárbaros (with the baianos Caetano, Gal Costa and Maria Bethânia) and a conceptual trilogy made up by Refazenda (of country extraction), Refavela (with rhythms from Jamaica, Nigeria, Rio and Bahia) and Realce. The latter, recorded in Los Angeles, fixed his option for pop music, which would direct the outcome of his work in the 80's.
In the 90's came Parabolicamará Tropicália 2 (a celebration, with Caetano, of the 25 years of the Tropicalist movement), and Unplugged (a collection of successes, recorded live for MTV). In 1997, the double CD Quanta was released. In 1998, Quanta gente veio ver won the Grammy Award. In 2000 - Eu Tu Eles and São João Vivo. In 2002 - Kaya N'Gandaya, a CD and a DVD after a worldwide Tour became a live CD.
Eletracustico (a live CD and DVD) was the result of Gil's concert at ONU in NY and as Gil is commited as Brasil's Minister of Culture he decided to record in Rio, to seal his journey into politics, being the same sensible Gil
With 65 albums released, Gilberto Gil has 12 gold records, 5 platinum albums, 7 grammys and more than 4 million records sold.
For his unflinching creative engagement in bringing to the world the heart and soul of the rich music of Brazil, Gilberto Gil ha been honored by several entities and personalities has also received many prizes in Brazil and abroad as The Polar Prize in 2005.
A unique composer powered by immense talent and curiosity. A unique musical ambassador powered by firm cultural conviction.