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Brazilian Culture Minister Rocks Out with New Album

Musician Gilberto Gil is Brazil's culture minister. His latest album, <em>Gil Luminoso</em>, will be released in the United States March 15.
Frank Perry
/
AFP/Getty Images
Musician Gilberto Gil is Brazil's culture minister. His latest album, Gil Luminoso, will be released in the United States March 15.

The military leaders who ruled Brazil for two decades considered Gilberto Gil's music subversive. Today, as cultural minister, he is one of the country's most visible diplomats.

The 64-year-old musician has a career that spans four decades, covering rock, the gentle beats of Bossa Nova and everything in between.

Gil has often received inspiration from politics. He co-founded Tropicalia — an avant-garde movement that melded musical styles — with longtime collaborator Caetano Veloso in the 1960s.

Both men were exiled to London and returned to Brazil to perform under the name The Sweet Barbarians.

Along the way, hardship has only fueled Gil's art.

"We should not take suffering as collateral or a side-effect of life," he says. "Suffering is an ingredient you have to use."

Gil talks about some of the songs on his latest album, Gil Luminoso. He begins a North American tour March 15.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Julie McCarthy
Julie McCarthy has spent most of career traveling the world for NPR. She's covered wars, prime ministers, presidents and paupers. But her favorite stories "are about the common man or woman doing uncommon things," she says.
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