Gilberto Gil Impresses Crowds at 2013 Womad Festival

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Sunday July 28, 2013

From The Guardian

Gilberto Gil: Womad Festival Review
By: Robin Denselow

The former Brazilian minister of culture was going back to his roots. Gilberto Gil may be 71 but he danced on to the stage, clutching a red guitar, fronting a band featuring accordion and fiddle. The emphasis, he explained, would be on forro, the dance music from Brazil’s arid north-east that he listened to when he was growing up, and his second song, Danca da Moda, was originally recorded by his early hero Luiz Gonzaga.

Brazil’s most celebrated and versatile veteran performer closed Womad 2013 with a jaunty Brazilian folk-rock set that included forro songs that he recorded for the film Eu, Tu, Eles, along with Expresso 2222, which he wrote in London in the 70s when he was exiled by Brazil’s military government, and Bob Marley songs, a reminder of the role Gil played in popularising reggae in Brazil.

It was a brave and varied set that captured the mood of the festival. This wasn’t quite the perfect Womad, thanks to the weather – rain fell on the site throughout Saturday evening, while Sunday saw intermittent sun and showers – but the music was impressive, with a strong blend of established artists and experimental newcomers, and sounds from right across the planet. My personal favourites were from the US, Italy, Tuva and west and southern Africa.

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