Artist Profiles: Gilberto Gil

Gilberto Gil- Photo by Priscila Azul

A champion of Brazil’s African-rooted traditions who has scoured the vast backlands of his own country and the far corners of the world in search of inspiration for his constantly evolving artistic vision, Gilberto Gil remains one of his land’s most enterprising musicians. His singing and composing career in Bahia, the center of African culture in Brazil, began in the mid sixties as one of the founders of the revolutionary Tropicalismo movement.

Tropicalismo, built on an eclectic mix of native and global influences, turned the conventions of Brazilian popular culture inside out and created its own language. Gil’s quest for new ways to invigorate his personal take on the sounds of Brazil have led to Jamaican reggae, African pop music, R&B and rhythmic and harmonic vignettes that range from Amazonian backwaters to the posh clubs of Tokyo.

Gil has collaborated with reggae singer Jimmy Cliff and The Wailers, Bob Marley’s former band.

In December of 2002, at the age of 60, Gilberto Gil was named Minister of Culture of Brazil by President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Gil was one of the leaders of the Green Party, which shared power with President Lula’s Worker’s Party.

As a musician and as a diplomat, Gil possesses a key role in the constant modernization of Brazilian popular music and culture throughout the world. Gil’s Broadband Band Tour for June and July 2008 followed his unprecedented 2007 solo tour.

Banda Larga (Broad Band), the album and the tour, reaffirmed Gil’s irreversible engagement with the new rules and compasses of the universe of bits and bytes, embracing all of the risks and challenges. This theme that has fascinated him for more than 30 years characterized a previous tour outside of North America, also called Banda Larga, in which Gil made available as much of his work as possible for webcasts, podcasts, cellcasts, etc.

The great novelty of the Broadband Band Summer Tour 2008 was really the set list. Whereas the previous tour was created around the greatest hits, this time Gilberto Gil played a new collection of songs such as Banda Larga Cordel, Nao grude nao and other more recent compositions.

In 2016, Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil released a double live album titled Dois Amigos, Um Século de Música: Multishow Live. The set includes 28 tracks from each songwriter and some favorites written by other composers, sung in Portuguese, English, Italian, and Spanish.


* Louvação (1967)
* Gilberto Gil (with Os Mutantes) (1968)
* Tropicalia ou Panis et Circensis (with Caetano Veloso, Gal Costa, Os Mutantes) (1968)
* Gilberto Gil (Cérebro Eletrônico) (1969)
* Gilberto Gil (Nêga) (1971)
* Barra 69: Caetano E Gil Ao Vivo Na Bahia (Philips, (1972)
* Expresso 2222 (1972)
* Temporada De Verao Ao Vivo Na Bahia, with Caetano Veloso and Gal Costa (Philips, (1974)
* Refazenda (1975)
* Os Doces Barbaros, with Maria Bethania, Gal Costa and Caetano Veloso (Philips, 1976)
* Refavela (1977 )
* Gilberto Gil Ao Vivo em Montreux (1978 )
* Refestança (1978)
* Nightingale (1979)
* Realce (1979)
* Brasil, with Joao Gilberto, Caetano Veloso and Maria Bethania (Philips, 1981)
* Luar (A Gente Precisa Ver o Luar) (1981)
* Um Banda Um (1981)
* Extra (1983)
* Quilombo (Trilha Sonora) (1984)
* Raça Humana (1984)
* Dia Dorim Noite Neon (1985)
* Gilberto Gil em Concerto (1987)
* Soy Loco Por Ti America (1987)
* Trem Para As Estrelas (Trilha Sonora) (1987)
* Ao Vivo em Tóquio (1988)
* O Eterno Deus Mu Dança (1989)
* Parabolicamará (1991)
* Tropicalia 2, with Caetano Veloso (Polygram, 1993)
* Acoustic (1994)
* Esoterico Live in USA 1994 (1995)
* Oriente Live in Tokyo (1995)
* Em Concerto (1996)
* Luar (1996)
* Indigo Blue (1997)
* Quanta (1997)
* Ao Vivo em Tóquio (1998)
* Copacabana Mon Amour (1998)
* O Sol de Oslo (Blue Jackel BJAC 5031-2, 1998)
* O Viramundo (Ao Vivo) (1998)
* Quanta Live (1998)
* Me, You, Them (2000)
* Milton and Gil (2001)
* São João Vivo (2001)
* Kaya N’Gan Daya al vivo (Globo Warner, 2002)
* Z, 300 Anos de Zumbi (BJ54534-2, 2002)
* Eletrácustico (2004 )
* Ao Vivo (2005)
* As Canções de Eu Tu Eles (2005)
* Soul of Brazil (2005)
* Gil Luminoso (2006)
* Rhythms of Bahia (2006)
* Banda Larga Cordel (2008)
* Bandadois (Warner Music, 2009)
* Fé Na Festa (2010)
* Gilbertos Samba (2014)
* Dois Amigos, Um Século de * Música: Multishow Live, with Caetano Veloso (Nonesuch, 2016)


Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

15 − 4 =