Gilberto Gil celebrates his 80th birthday with a global striptease

The Brazilian artist Gilberto Gil is preparing to celebrate in style his 80th birthday on June 26. As of this Tuesday, any Internet user will be able to dive into the many facets of his artistic life and his family life because, hand in hand with Google, the Brazilian has dumped 900 videos and digitized recordings and 40,000 images and documents on the Internet. A full-fledged x-ray of eight decades of one of the most influential artists in Brazilian popular music. “He is a nice striptease” before a global audience, he says during a videoconference meeting with the international press. As part of the celebrations, the singer is preparing a tour of Europe and in a few days he will premiere the docuseries “At Home with the Gils”, in which he stars alongside his wife and the rest of the artistic clan, which includes sons, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law and grandchildren. .

Gilberto Gil in concert during the 'UNPLUGGED' tour.
Gilberto Gil in concert during the ‘UNPLUGGED’ tour.Gilberto Gil Institute

And as an unexpected gift, a disk lost four decades ago, discovered during the digitization process of its immense archive to upload it to the Internet. It is an album that Gilberto Gil recorded in 1982 in New York, but never released and includes unreleased songs like you need love. “I thought we lost it, but about a year or a year and a half ago someone found those (cassette) tapes and we thought we would release it internationally.”

The singer and composer Gilberto Gil, who was born in 1942 in Salvador de Bahía, is still very active after an intense life. After a certain hibernation during the pandemic, with shows broadcast live on YouTube, he has multiplied his activities now that the coronavirus crisis subsides in Brazil. This project with Google “is portrayed my whole life, family, childhood, immersion in the world of music, my interest in global, European, American, South American music…”, he explained a few days ago to a group of journalists the digital exhibition Gil’s rhythm, which from this Tuesday will be posted on the Internet available to anyone from a mobile phone or a computer, is the result of the collaboration of the Gilberto Gil Institute with Google Arts & Culture. This is a platform that allows you to walk through 2,500 museums and with Gilberto Gail welcomes a Brazilian artist for the first time.

Gil gave birth to Caetano Veloso, who will enter the octogenarian league on August 7, tropicalism, he had to go into exile in London during the dictatorship —he speaks excellent English—, he made a parenthesis in a musical career that has taken him through stages from all over the world to accept the position of Minister of Culture in the first government of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. He is an active promoter in the Salvador de Bahía Carnival. And he has just entered the Brazilian Academy of Letters for his contribution to literature.

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Gil, an artist who has always combined strong roots in Brazil with a global vocation, is enthusiastic about this collaboration. The exhibition focuses on his collaborations with artists such as Stevie Wonder or the Marleys. He declares himself a fan of new technologies and a believer in the virtues of cultural exchanges. “I think it helps civilization keep moving forward. It is important to taste, swallow, digest and transform the culture”. He maintains that these types of projects are “guarantees to avoid possible interference by governments and dictatorships in our lives.”

Gilberto Gil in the film 'O Demiurge', recorded during his exile in London.
Gilberto Gil in the film ‘O Demiurge’, recorded during his exile in London.Gilberto Gil Institute

The digitized documents are also a journey through his speeches and his political ideas. Asked about the next elections, he answers that he will vote for Lula. “We have a government that is not up to the needs of the people. We have the Amazon problem, economic problems, wealth distribution problems, ”he says about his country and the Executive of the far-right Jair Bolsonaro. Leftist Lula leads the polls, followed by the current president.

The documentary At home with the Gils, that Amazon Prime premieres on the occasion of his 80th birthday, was shot during a family conclave on a farm in the interior of Rio de Janeiro, where they were summoned to prepare the patriarch’s tour of Europe this summer. There are five chapters in which music and art intertwine with the daily life of a huge, talented and diverse family that at times looks like any other.

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