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Thursday, April 14, 2016

In Context: Caetano Veloso & Gilberto Gil

Two major artists of the 20th century—Caetano Veloso, arguably Brazil’s greatest contemporary songwriter, and Gilberto Gil, the renowned Brazilian guitarist and singer who led the 1960s Tropicália movement with Veloso and others—come together April 20 & 21 for a celebration of music and friendship. Context is everything, so get even closer to the show with this curated selection of related articles, interviews, and videos. After you've attended the show, let us know what you thought below and by posting on social media using #DoisAmigosUmSeculoDeMusica.

Program Notes

Caetano Veloso & Gilberto Gil (PDF)


“Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso in London” (The Guardian)
When 1960s Brazilian dictatorship decided they were a threat, Veloso and Gil played a concert to raise money for plane tickets and fled.

Gilberto Gil
The Brazilian songwriter on growing up in Bahia, cyber culture, and activism.

“Dinner with Caetano Veloso” (
A writer visits Veloso at his Bahia home.

“Tropicalia, Agora!” (New York Times)
Adventures in Brazilian music, via David Byrne and Banana Republic.

Watch & Listen

Veloso and Gil in Paris (YouTube)
Old friends play the Palais des Congrès. From June 2015.

Caetano Veloso in Talk To Her (YouTube)
Veloso sings “Cucurrucucu Paloma (Hable Con Ella)” in a scene from Pedro Almodovar’s film.

On Tropicalia and More (BBC)
Veloso and Gil discuss the Tropicalia movement, the Beatles, the state of Brazil, and more.

Now your turn...

What did you think? Favorite song/moment from the concert? Any surprises? Are you filled with the revolutionary spirit of Tropicália? Tell us what's on your mind in the comments below and by posting on social media using #DoisAmigosUmSeculoDeMusica.


  1. So you only have standby tickets left. does that mean people just go and wait and see if there's any availability before it happens? Or is there any other way to find out?

  2. Perhaps I was being naïve to hope that Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil would steal a moment from their two and a half hour concert at Brooklyn Academy of Music Wednesday night to mention this week’s hard fought New York primaries as well as the ongoing right wing attempt to depose elected Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff. Much of the material performed evoked Brazil’s first right wing coup against a liberal leftist president in the late 1960s, so the grim synchronicities would not have escaped these two observant and topical singer/songwriters.

    But part of my naiveté included forgetting that Brazilian pop stars tend to be more politically astute and subtle than their American counterparts. Where, say, Kanye, might have blurted out some ill-considered or intemperate remark from center stage, Veloso and Gil let their guitars and their charismatic charm do the talking. These two septuagenarians have over 40 years of experience in speaking truth to power and putting the plaints of common citizens to melodies so infectious even the threats of jail, exile, and censorship could not obliterate them. Every moment of their calm, genteel, and witty set last night celebrated the resilience of human compassion struggling against the brutal strategies of contemporary global politics. They simply never had to point fingers or name names to inspire an extremely well-mixed American and Brazilian audience to believe in the value of resisting the forces of entropy.

    With songs mostly about love, culture, metaphysics, dancing, and the inevitability of death, two old friends, two shamanic elders, encouraged and healed us with beats, rhymes, and melodies in Portuguese, Spanish, English, and Italian. From the gentle ironies of “Eu Vim da Bahia” to the eco-spiritualism of “Terra” to the neo-abolitionist redemption song of “As Camelias do Quilombo do Leblon” Gil and Cae sang their hopes for a globally better tomorrow.

    --Carol Cooper

    1. Thanks for the great review. I wish I could have been there.

  3. The concert on Wednesday was absolutely fantastic! Truly magical. Shame though that BAM kept letting people in after the concert had started, we spent the first half hour staring at people's backs as they looked for their seats instead of being able to enjoy the show.

    - Justin

  4. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil on Thursday, 4/21. We've seen them numerous times before, but not together. We loved that it was a truly acoustic performance. They were great. We love that BAM provides the public with opportunities to see wonderful artists like these.


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