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Every Wednesday at 4pm the North 103.3 highlights global artists during Northland Afternoon

World Music Wednesday: Gilberto Gil

Older man singing with guitar
Fine Art America

World Music Wednesday is a weekly segment on The North 103.3 FM. Every Wednesday at 4pm on Northland Afternoon, we will feature a brand-new release or a significantly important past work from our vast library of music from around the world.

Support for World Music Wednesday comes from Simply Ballroom in Duluth's Craft District.

Gilberto Gil was born in 1942 in Salvador and has had a professional musical career that has spanned nearly 60 years. When he was a very small child, he told his mother that he “was going to become a musician or president.” This was certainly foreshadowing as in 1987 he was elected to local government in Bahia and then became the Salvador Secretary of Culture. Eventually becoming Brazil’s Minister of Culture in 2003 as part of the Green Party, Gil was the second black person to serve in Brazil’s cabinet. As Minister, Gil developed a “Culture Points” program that supported the arts and provided musical and education technology and programming for some of the poorest people in Brazil.

Gil began his musical career early through various school activities and in his teens joined a band. He began his career as a bossa nova musician and grew to write songs that reflected a focus on political awareness and social activism. He was a key figure in the Música popular brasileira and tropicália movements of the 1960s and worked with artists such as longtime collaborator Caetano Veloso. When a Brazilian military regime took power in 1964, they saw both Gil and Veloso as a threat, and the two were imprisoned for nine months in 1969 before they were told to leave the country. Gil moved to London but returned to Bahia in 1972 where he continued his musical career while also working as a politician and environmental advocate.

Gilberto Gil has won multiple awards throughout his career, including in 1998, the Grammy Award for Best World Music Album, in 2005 he won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary World Music Album for Eletracústico and in May 2005 he was awarded the Polar Music Prize by Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden in Stockholm, the prize's first Latin American recipient. Rolling Stone magazine declared his album OK OK OK as the 4th best Brazilian album of 2018, and that album also won the Latin Grammy Award for Musica Popular Brasileira Album. He currently holds the office of the “7th Academic of the 20th Chair of the Brazilian Academy of Letters” and still performs live.

And our last song on today’s World Music Wednesday with Gilberto Gil is one of those live tracks from 2022’s album Brasilia from the Ao Vivo Coala Festival. It’s Garota de Ipanema, otherwise known as The Girl from Ipanema . . . here on the North!

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