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Gilberto Gil

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Salvador, Brazil (26 June, 1942 – present)

Gilberto Gil (born 26 June, 1942) is a Brazilian singer, guitarist and songwriter, and Brazil’s former Minister of Culture. Gil is best known for his late 1960s tropicalismo recordings, including “Roda”, “Lunik 9”, and “Domingo No Parque”. Elis Regina recorded many of his songs.

He began his career as a bossa nova musician, but soon began writing songs that reflected a new focus on political awareness and social activism, along with fellow singer Caetano Veloso. In the 1970s, Gil added new elements of African and North American music to his already broad palette, and continued to release a steady stream of albums, including Realce and Refazenda. João Gilberto recorded Gil’s “Eu Vim da Bahia” (“I Came from Bahia”) on his classic João Gilberto LP.

In 1969, Gil and Veloso, whose status in Brazil was, and is, equivalent to that of John Lennon and Paul McCartney in the English-speaking world, were arrested by the military government of Brazil for anti-government activities. Upon their release, the pair both moved to London. Gil began playing with groups like Yes, Pink Floyd and The Incredible String Band, while continuing his solo career. In the 1970s, he toured the US and recorded an English-language album. He worked with Jimmy Cliff and released in 1980 a cover of “No Woman, No Cry” (Bob Marley & The Wailers) that was a massive hit and introduced reggae to Brazil.

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