Salvador de Bahia Brazil
Musical hero in Brazil, spearhead of the Tropicalia movement, minister of culture. Gilberto Gil talks us through his fascinating career.
_(artist-name)Gilberto Gil_ is a musical maverick and a true revolutionary, not just for Brazil’s popular music, but for culture as a whole as well as the political state of mind of his native country. Influenced by the guitar and voice of _(artist-name)Joao Gilberto_ and the musical sensation bossa nova, which was just about to replace samba as the most popular Brazilian genre, he left his native Bahia in the North East in favour of the more urban influences of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. In 1968, along with _(artist-name)Caetano Veloso_, he was one of the driving forces behind the Tropicalia movement. By melding bossa and samba with american rock, psych and _(artist-name)Stockhausen_ influenced e-music patterns, Tropicalia redefined modern Brazilian culture, impacting on all the fine arts from cinema and poetry, to literature and theatre. Gilberto Gil and his pals fearlessly intertwined the old and the new, the electric and the traditional, creating a modern sound for Brazilian music playing on notions of originality and difference along the way. A thorn in the side of the Brazilian military dictatorship, Gilberto Gil was forced to leave the country in the early 1970s, and stayed in London for two years. From the 1980s onwards, Gilberto Gil branched out into the political landscape, first in his hometown of Salvador de Bahia, later as chairman of the environmental organization Onda Azul, and even as the Brazilian Minister of Culture in the cabinet of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.