Born and raised in Bahia, Gilberto Gil is arguably the most important cultural figure in Brazil. Gil’s career and music have defined Brazil’s popular culture for the past fifty years. In recognition of his contribution, Gil was appointed Brazil’s Minister of Culture in 2003, a post where he served for five years before resigning to spend more time on his own music.

From the beginning of his career, Gil has been a cultural and political force in Brazil. Along with Caetano Veloso, Gil was one of the founders of the Tropicalia movement in the sixties. His record, Tropicália: ou Panis et Circencis, (Tropicalia, or Bread and Circuses) is considered the manifesto of the movement and it's number two on Rolling Stone’s list of best all-time Brazilian albums. Perceived as a threat by Brazil's military dictatorship because of this recording, Gil was jailed and exiled to London.

His music includes a range of influences. It’s rooted in the Brazilian styles that he grew up with, from samba to bossa nova to MPB to forró, but it also draws on African highlife, pop, rock, reggae, and rap as well. Whatever style Gil chooses though, the result is inspired, heartfelt music. Gil can be seen during Carnival on his trio Espresso 2222.

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