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Brazilian visionary Gilberto Gil

Banda Larga We’ve expressed support for Gilberto Gil previously (( at this blog’s previous address , and one article republished already)), but the subject of technology and music is still newsworthy: Artists such as Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails recently enjoyed huge publicity windfalls by distributing their music for free on-line, but they’ve got a way to go before catching up to Brazilian singer Gilberto Gil as digital visionaries. … In the ‘60s he wrote the song “Electric Brain,” which presaged his Internet breakthrough three decades later, and his latest album is titled “ Banda Larga ” (Warner), or “The Broad Band,” in part a manifesto for a more democratic future driven by technology.


Banda Larga

We’ve expressed support for Gilberto Gil previously1, but the subject of technology and music is still newsworthy:

Artists such as Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails recently enjoyed huge publicity windfalls by distributing their music for free on-line, but they’ve got a way to go before catching up to Brazilian singer Gilberto Gil as digital visionaries.

Long before peer-to-peer file sharing turned the music world into a free-for-all, Gil was distributing his songs on the Internet.

He launched his own Web site in 1996, began streaming his music for listeners to audition, and officially released the first song by Brazilian artist through the new medium. It was a stage in a journey that has obsessed him for a half-century. In the ‘60s he wrote the song “Electric Brain,” which presaged his Internet breakthrough three decades later, and his latest album is titled “Banda Larga” (Warner), or “The Broad Band,” in part a manifesto for a more democratic future driven by technology.

“It has been a dream of mine for a long time, this world we live in now,” Gil said in an interview from his office in Brazil. “It is a natural outcome, a world in which technology allows universal access. It makes music and tools available to large parts of society that didn’t have that kind of access before.”

That “natural outcome” is still a few years off from reaching the poorest of the poor in Brazil, a vast country in which many citizens in the remote interior still do not have electricity, let alone computers.

Which is why Gil, in his latest guise as his country’s minister of culture, is spearheading a project to ensure that each child in the country has a laptop within the next few years.

[Click to read more of Turn It Up – Brazilian visionary Gilberto Gil leads a second revolution]

Viva Mr. Gil! Computer technology has been a commodity long enough so that the basic building materials are available for pennies. Why shouldn’t access to computers be a basic human right?

“The electronic culture is our future, and it needs to be open to everyone as quickly as possible,” he says. “I consider it my main goal as a politician.”

It’s not a role one would’ve predicted for Gil. In the ‘60s, he and fellow iconoclast Caetano Veloso were thrown out of Brazil by the dictatorial government for making music that openly questioned the status quo. Gil, Veloso and a handful of young artists led the subversive Tropicalia movement, which melded Brazilian sounds with rock and avant-garde music. Tropicalia embraced hybrids of seemingly incompatible styles, and tacitly celebrated the multiracial makeup of Brazil’s population. It was a time when music played a critical role in pushing a nation forward, at great personal risk.

“Gil himself, with his incredible ear and mastery of the guitar, his pulverizing sense of rhythm, was a constant promise that the limitations of our environment could be overcome,” Veloso wrote in his memoir, “Tropical Truth: A Story of Music and Revolution in Brazil” (Knopf).

Footnotes:
  1. at this blog’s previous address, and one article republished already []

One reply on “Brazilian visionary Gilberto Gil”

All power to Gilberto Gil, who lost a son, Pedro, who was on the cover of Expreesso 2222, was psychologically tortured for being black and still today suffers the prejudice of ignorant Brazilians. His music is light-years before his time, his ability to play the acoustic guitar is remarkable.
I wanted to visit you earlier; unfortunately parents at SMMUSD ar eup in arms about a post I wrote about the lying at SMMUSD. Wait till tomorrow, when they’ find out the high school is doomed.

Sleep tight,

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