Performance Thursday, November 8, 2012 | 8 PM

Gilberto Gil

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
International superstar Gilberto Gil returns to his musical roots with an evening of forró, the infectious dance music from Northeastern Brazil.

La superestrella internacional Gilberto Gil vuelve a sus raíces musicales con una velada de forró, la contagiosa música de baile del noreste de Brasil.

Gilberto Gil, o super astro internacional retorna às suas raízes musicais com uma noite de forró, o ritmo contagiante do nordeste do Brasil.


  • Gilberto Gil, Vocals and Guitar
    Sergio Chiavazzoli, Guitar
    Arthur Maia, Bass Guitar
    Jorge Gomes, Zabumba and Drums
    Toninho Ferragutti, Accordion
    Gustavo di Dalva, Percussion
    Nicolas Krassik, Violin and Rabeca


  • Gilberto Gil

    Gilberto Gil is a unique musical ambassador, powered by a firm cultural conviction. As a child growing up in the countryside of Bahia, Brazil-where he used to run after the first clarinet sounds from the band that crossed town to celebrate religious festivities-Gil realized that music was his language. Although he chose to develop a solid body of work on the guitar, his first foray into music was on the accordion, initially inspired by the local bands and radio music, especially by Luiz Gonzaga and baião (a blend of European folk music with Asian, African, and Indian music).

    Gil has since developed one of the most relevant and renown careers as a singer, composer, and guitarist in both world and pop music. His career has spanned four decades with more than 50 releases and five million records sold. His extensive and prolific catalogue of work has been covered and recorded by João Gilberto, Elis Regina, Gal Costa, Sérgio Mendes, Ernie Watts, and Toots Thielemans. Over the years, his political and environmental activism gained prominence alongside his musical career, reaching a new height in 2002 when he was appointed Minister of Culture for Brazil. As a musician and diplomat, Gil plays a key role in the constant modernization of Brazilian popular music and culture throughout the world.

    A leader of Brazil's Tropicália movement in the 1960s, Gil was one of many artists-including Caetano Veloso and Gal Costa-who mixed Brazilian and African styles with rock and folk. It was his combination of various musical styles with political messages that ultimately led to his arrest in 1969. His subsequent exile in London contributed to even greater exposure to the world of popular music, including The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix. This was particularly influential for Gil, who went on to record in both Portuguese and English. Having fused samba and bossa nova with rock and folk, he is recognized today as one of the pioneers in world music.

    For his unflinching creative engagement in bringing the heart and soul of the Brazilian music to the world, Gilberto Gil has been honored both in Brazil and abroad. As a result of his activities, he has been named an Artist for Peace by UNESCO and earned Sweden's Polar Music Prize, among many others.

    More Info


O livre-atirador e a pegadora
Gilbert Gil
Universal UK

Jeff Tamarkin on Gilberto Gil

It's been said that there are two Gilberto Gils: The first is the legendary Brazilian singer, songwriter, and guitarist—a prime mover in his nation's music for a half-century now. He began as a high-profile trendsetter during the heady days of the Tropicália movement in the 1960s—a revolutionary trend that embraced music, theater, film, and poetry—and he's been an innovator since, incorporating rock, reggae, jazz, and African elements into Brazilian music, opening it up beyond the traditional samba sound. The other Gilberto Gil is the social force: Once imprisoned because the powers that be saw the outspoken musician as too palpable a threat to the status quo, he later became politically active himself, changing the system from within and ultimately rising to serve as Brazil's Minister of Culture for five years—the first black person to hold a cabinet minister post in his country. "He doesn't just make music, he also makes policy" (The New York Times).

But it's not true that there are two Gilberto Gils. Those seemingly incongruent aspects of this extraordinary human being are inextricably intertwined. His catalog of more than 50 albums—which has earned him a shelf full of awards that include nine Grammys—is permeated with words that speak to Gil's commitment to social justice, spirituality, and righteous philosophical truths. Conversely, his work within the public sector has always been in service of the arts.

Example: Just as he's labored for decades to create honest, insightful, sometimes provocative music, Gil has also done much to preserve the music made by other Brazilians. Working in tandem with Grateful Dead lyricist John Perry Barlow and others within the worlds of arts and technology, Gil helped to establish an online music repository that aims for nothing less than the archiving of every Brazilian song ever recorded, all eventually available for free download. According to Barlow, "It'll take time, but it'll happen. Brazilians are all about patience."

When Gil returns to Carnegie Hall, he plans to celebrate his roots in forró, the joyful, high-powered dance music long popular in Brazil's Northeast, where he was born. It's both a full circle and another step forward for this icon of world music. "It is our historical task to take advantage of the favorable conditions that exist today and to move on from celebration to transformation," Gil once told a gathering of dignitaries in New York. Celebration and transformation: What more admirable goals might one possibly have in this life?

—Jeff Tamarkin is the associate editor of JazzTimes magazine.


Glberto Gil on Forró

Gilberto Gil and Osvaldo Golijov on International Influences on Brazilian Music.

Osvaldo Golijov on the Global Influence of Latin American Music.

Latin American Music and Artists at Carnegie Hall: From the Carnegie Hall Archives.

Gilberto Gil performs "Óia eu aqui de novo."

Gilberto Gil performs "Pedras que cantam."

Sponsored, in part, by
Bank of Tokyo Logo
Lead funding for Voices from Latin America is provided by grants from the Ford Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Sponsored, in part, by Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and Mercantil Servicios Financieros.

Public support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Consulate General of Brazil in New York.
This performance is part of Around the Globe.

Part of