Artist Profiles: Seu Jorge

Seu Jorge

Jorge Mário da Silva, better known as Seu Jorge (Mister Jorge) was born June 8, 1970 in Belford Roxo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Jorge became Knockout Ned in the cult movie City of God. Jorge had extensive personal experience of the world depicted in the film. His childhood in the favelas of Rio left him with a formidable tenacity and a political commitment that has lasted to this day. He lived on the street and taught himself to play guitar, doing odd jobs to scrape a living. But then he was taken on by a thereat company and, through acting, got rid of of the ghosts of his past once and for all.

In the mid-1990s, he formed a group called Farofa Carioca, whose infectious, pop samba soon became popular in Rio. After a series of concerts, they recorded a single album and the charismatic charmer Jorge became the talk of the Cidade Maravilhosa.

Feeling a little crowded in the group, he began a solo career with an album produced by Mario Caldato (Beastie Boys): Samba Esporte Fino. Released to critical acclaim, it became the 1999 album of the year in Brazil. But it was the cinema and Fernando Meirelles that really made Seu Jorge a household name: his tailored role in Cidade de Deus (City of God) rocketed him to national stardom.

Not content with his newfound celebrity in Brazil, in winter of 2004, he worked on a major Disney production directed by Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums), starring Bill Murray, Angelica Houston and Willem Dafoe. The film, The Life Aquatic, was released at the beginning of 2005.

Taking a break between Brazilian art film-making and Hollywood, Jorge went to France to recharge his batteries and made a new solo album, Cru. Produced by Gringo da Parada (one of the founders of Favela Chic) for his new label Fla Flu Prod and mixed by Renaud Letang, Cru’s lyrics range from the political commitment of Eu sou Favela to the words of love of Tive Razao, while the sounds include a tense cover of Gainsbourg’s Chatterton, a softer take on Elvis’s Don’t, laying down guitar on Tive Razao and the irony of Mania de Peitao. With its bossa, stripped-down rock and song, Cru is hard to categorize.

Discography

Samba Esporte Fino (Regata Musica, 2001)
Cru (Naive, 2005)
The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions (Hollywood Records, 2005)
América Brasil O Disco (EMI, 2007)
Seu Jorge & Almaz (Now-Again Records, 2010)
Músicas para Churrasco, Vol. 1 (Cafuné, 2011)
Carolina: Deluxe Edition (2014)
Músicas para Churrasco, Vol. 2 (Cafuné, 2015)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. 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.

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