concert review | Gilberto Gil in Berlin: On tour with his family band

concert review | Gilberto Gil in Berlin

Sympathetic patriarch


Wed 7/6/22 | 12:06 | FROM Andrea Handel

dpa / V. Carvalho

Audio: rbb24 Inforadio | 07/06/2022 | Andrea Handel | Picture: dpa / V. Carvalho

Gilberto Gil turned 80 this year – the Brazilian music icon retained his enthusiasm and stage presence. On the roof terrace of the House of Cultures of the World, he received a thunderous applause – also from Andrea Handel.

Gilberto Gil is one of the most popular and famous musicians in Brazil. He has been on the scene since the 1960s, revolutionized Brazilian music, won various Grammy Awards and even was the Minister of Culture of Brazil for a time. Now he is 80 years old and traveling around Europe with his big family band.

Archival photo: Gilberto Gil plays with his band in Vienna.  (Source: dpa / H. Punz)
Picture: dpa / hour stigma

At the age of 80, full of joy to play

He seems to be very capable when he and his 12 musicians go out on stage under the shell of a “pregnant oyster”. Gilberto Gil welcomes the audience, three-quarters of whom appear to be Brazilian, with chanting and enthusiasm. He is obviously happy to be back in Berlin, he has already played a lot of concerts here. His voice is still good, and so is he playing guitar, and when he even dances a little, people are delighted.

It is a concert with many great old hits by Gilberto Gil, such as the reggae title “Vamos fugir” or the Rio de Janeiro anthem “Aquele Abraço”, which he also sang at the opening of the 2016 Olympics. like the Beatles song “Get back”, for which he wrote a Portuguese text version, or the classic “Girl from Ipanema”. Kind of the best Brazilian music, the atmosphere is suitably good.

Musical extended family – also known as the Amazon series

And Gilberto Gil has brought many members of his large family with him, all wearing brightly colored shirts or dresses with large African-inspired patterns. Again and again during the concert, some of his children and grandchildren give extra performances.

14-year-old granddaughter Flor sings with him in a duet “Girl with Ipanema” in a bell voice, his daughter from his first marriage, Nara, performs as a singer and soloist, others play guitar, bass and many other drums. Gilberto Gil José’s sons Francisco and Joao formed their own band called “Gilsons” or “Gilssöhne”, and there are samples of it. Especially Joao convinces with his wonderful voice that penetrates under the skin. And there is even a small, about 6-year-old mini-grandson with a guitar that others have to pick up so that he can even be seen over many heads on stage

The Gilowie are really a very musical family and this concert tour, entitled “Nós, a gente” (“We the People”), takes place in conjunction with the Brazilian Amazon Prime series about the Gil family: “Em Casa com os gil” (“In home with Gils “), a mixture of a home story and a musical film. The first part was filmed in Gilberto Gil’s country house in the mountains near Rio de Janeiro, where the whole family gathered. The second part is currently filmed on this tour that will take the Gils around Europe Yesterday evening, pictures were also shot in Berlin.

The audience knows the lyrics by heart

Gilberto Gil’s influence on the music and culture of Brazil is enormous. In the 1960s, with Caetano Veloso, he founded the Tropicalismo movement, which combined traditional Brazilian music such as samba, bossa nova and forró with electric guitars, rock, pop and reggae. This is how great new music was created that conquered the world.

Meanwhile, Gilberto Gil has released over 50 albums, and his songs are real hymns in Brazil that can also be felt at a concert in Berlin: the audience knows all the lyrics by heart.

Brazil’s first black culture minister

Gil has always been politically involved, not just with his songs. Therefore, he and Caetano Veloso were in prison, and in the early 1970s, when Brazil was under military dictatorship, they had to go into exile in London for several years. Upon his return to Brazil, he stood up for social justice, people in slums, favelas, and black self-confidence. In 2003, under the left-wing president Lula da Silva, he became Brazil’s first black minister of culture and remained so for five years.

Lula da Silva is running again in the October presidential election with the right-wing populist Bolsonaro and is said to have a good chance. At the concert, the Berlin audience constantly spreads their thumbs and forefingers in the air – it should be an L and it means Lula.

A successful concert evening

Cheerful, colorful group on stage, Gilberto Gil in good hands as happy patriarch inside, lots of friendly interaction with the audience, in English and Portuguese – all in all a great concert. In addition, a beautiful background: the curved roof of the House of World Cultures with lighting that changes color, sunset over the Spree. Nobody bothered that there was no proper encore. Finally: an hour and a half on stage, a great achievement for an 80-year-old.

Broadcasting: rbb24 Inforadio, 07/06/2022, 06.00

Contribution of Andrea Handel


Leave a Comment