Gilberto Gil: The legendary Brazilian musician is coming to Athens

Gilberto Gil

When Gilberto Gil was only two and a half years old, he told his mother that he would become either a musician or the President of Brazil.

The charismatic Gil, whom the Greek public will have the opportunity to enjoy live at the concert he will give on July 17 at Odeon of Herodes Atticus, managed to stand out in the world music scene and also serve the public as a timeless political activist and Minister of Culture of his homeland.

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The legendary artist, who travelled Brazilian music to the ends of the earth, will be in our country as part of the world tour he is carrying out to celebrate his 60 years of presence in the music scene.

During his recent visit to Odeon of Herodes Atticus, in fact, could not hide his excitement: "The Romans were here? Now the Brazilians have arrived."

"There is an atmosphere, a spirit, a historical concentration, concentration, it touches us and it is something that we feel as if we are becoming part of history. The Brazilians also came to Odeon of Herodes Atticus," he said, referring to the elements that connect the two peoples.

"Greeks and Latins helped Western societies grow and become what they are today. Let's say, many Greek words we also use in our language. I feel it in music too. Western civilisation began with Rome and Greece.

"We have the same 'taste' of the Mediterranean feeling. We also have places in Spain, Portugal, France, and Italy that have influenced Brazil and its culture, music, literature, poetry, and history."

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As for the program he will present to the Greek public? This will include the most important milestones of his long journey during which he has received numerous honours.

"We will present to you a program that we have conceived together, me and my family. There will be about 12 to 15 musicians on stage. And we'll also have some from our wider cultural family playing sax and trumpet and other instruments to put the effect together," the Brazilian legend said.

"One of my daughters will sing and one of my granddaughters will do the back-up vocals," he added.

Born in 1942 to a teacher mother and a doctor father, he first came into contact with music at the age of 10 when he received an accordion. He then attended a music school where he was taught classical music, yet Brazil's rich musical tradition always attracted him like a magnet.

As a musician, he was at the forefront of the Tropicália artistic movement, which defined the new Brazilian sound, creatively melding musical tradition, bossa nova, rock’n’roll and reggae as well as bringing Brazilian music back in touch with its African roots.

Gilberto Gil

As a politician, he tirelessly defended democracy and championed musical diversity.

Because of this movement, however, the two artists would be arrested in 1969 by the dictatorship, imprisoned for a year and then expelled from their homeland.

Gilberto Gil will settle in London, he will come into contact with many different musical currents of the time and broaden his musical horizons until he returns to Brazil again in 1972.

"I opened up to new music in London. For a while there it was the absolute cente of developments. And that was one of the reasons I chose this city when I had to leave Brazil. Not only for the music but also for the revolutionary attitude of the youth at that time," he said previously.

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