Gilberto Gil: Message in the music

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Wednesday May 11, 2011

From Times Live

Message in the music
By Andrea Nagel

This soulful brother from Brazil has questions he wants his South African audience to grapple with, writes Andrea Nagel

The Big Read: It must have taken an extraordinary moment of clarity to appoint a musician to the office of minister of culture in Brazil in 2003, when President Luiz InĂ¡cio Lula da Silva took office.

From a left-wing background and being a founding member of the Workers’ Party in Brazil, Da Silva became known as one of the most popular politicians in the world.

It makes sense for a man loved by his people to give political prominence to a musician who uses his song lyrics to “address social issues, to voice protest of authoritarian control, to make aesthetic statements and to explore philosophical and spiritual themes”, as Charles Perrone states about Gilbert Gil in his book Masters of Contemporary Brazilian Song.

“My generation in Brazil used music to make a political statement against the military regime of the time,” says Gil, who left government in 2008. Brazil was governed by an authoritarian military government from 1964 to 1985.

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