Gilberto Gil Brings Brazilian Music to Ottowa

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Monday November 12, 2012

from Ottowa Citizen

Gilberto Gil Brings his Kind of Brazilian Music to Ottowa
By Peter Robb

Brazil is about to step onto the world stage in a very big way.

First it will host the FIFA World Cup in 2014, and then in 2016 Rio de Janeiro will host the first Olympic Games held in South America. It is a fitting climax to years of economic growth and massive democratization led by the former president Luiz “Lula” da Silva.

For Gilberto Gil, the awarding of these massive events has established a new level of global acceptance for Brazilians of all stripes.

“This expansion of Brazil internationally has helped establish a new level of acceptance, international acceptance. Artists profit on that success. I am one of those,” he said. He is hitting 17 different cities, including Ottawa in an upcoming tour of North America.

Gil is one of the great exponents of Brazilian music. The master of many styles, he started his career playing the bossa nova sound that so captivated North American listeners in the 1960s with The Girl from Ipanema by Joao Gilberto and Stan Getz. But he has done so much more than that.

Gil is the man who introduced reggae to Brazil. He has played rock, jazz, samba and the traditional music of his home turf in northeastern Brazil (he was born in the city of Salvador) and the many other regions of his massive homeland.

He says his own musical diversity is a natural occurrence. He picked up influences as he rolled along.

“It is the natural feeling any listener has. There is a specific element that catches you, so you just get close to it. A guitar riff or a drum cell floats into your own thing. Sometimes it’s just the vibe, or the atmosphere, that comes into your music.

“Whatever inspires me, whatever touches me I translate into my own thing.”

He has reached that stage in his career, he said in an interview with the Citizen, when he can undertake large tours of Europe and North America. And so he does. His latest venture outside his country will bring him to Ottawa for the first time as a musician.

Interestingly, Gil has been here before — as the minister of culture for Brazil attending a major conference on cultural diversity in the age of the Internet. He was in government for six years, a job he says he liked: “I’ve been open my whole to different forms of experience, so when I was invited by President Lula, I said let me try it.” And he did, updating the cultural agenda in his homeland and developing a second legacy.

Read the full article here