Brazilian Superstar Gilberto Gil Returns to UCLA Saturday, April 18

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Gilberto Gil

Gilberto Passos Gil Moreira (b. Salvador, Bahia, Brazil 1942), better known as Gilberto Gil, returns to CAP-UCLA this coming Saturday, April 18. As a founding member of the Tropicália movement, together with Caetano Veloso, Rita Lee, Gal Costa and others, he combined Brazilian popular styles with a psychedelic twist as young musicians. Considered revolutionaries by the generals who ruled Brazil from (1964–1985), Gil and Veloso were imprisoned and subsequently exiled—actually, they were given their choice of imprisonment or exile—going first to Lisbon, then Paris and finally to London in 1969. While in London, Gil discovered the reggae of Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Burning Spear, and others, as well as rock groups like Pink Floyd and the jazz of Miles Davis and Sun Ra. There were also personal changes: meditation, macrobiotic diet, and other practices he was to follow from then on.

Gil returned to his native Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, the musical heartland of Brazil, in 1972. Throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, he continued to release a stream of albums in different musical styles, including samba, reggae, forró, and MPB (música popular brasileira)—the latter a catch-all umbrella term for singer-songwriter-based music.

Although Gil has released over 50 albums since the 1967 Louvação, his genius for songwriting and beautiful voice was evident from that very first recording, lush with string arrangements and wonderful songwriting. His album, Quanta, won a Grammy in 1997. Gil has also been involved in politics: first as a senator in Salvador, Bahia; and later, he was appointed Brazil’s Minister of Culture under Lula da Silva, who preceded current President Dilma Rousseff’s. He was also awarded the prestigious French Légion d’Honneur in 2005.

Accompanying him on this U.S. tour, which comes to UCLA’s Royce Hall this Saturday, Gil brings with him musicians featured on his latest album from 2014, Gilbertos Samba: son Bem Gil on guitar; Domenico Lancellotti on drums and percussion; and Mestrinho on accordion and percussion. They will perform samba, forró, and other styles. For more information and to purchase tickets, please click here.

For Gilberto Gil’s other U.S. tour dates, click here.

“Eu Vim da Bahia” from the new album, Gilbertos Samba.

A gorgeous love song from his 1967 debut recording, “Maria (Me Perdoe, Maria–Maria, Forgive Me).”

In Portuguese, Gil and his son, Bem, discuss their latest album, Gilberto’s Samba.

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