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Gilberto Gil
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Gilberto Gil

Gilberto Gil (born June 29, 1942) is a Brazilian singer and songwriter, and the country's current Minister of Culture. Gil is best known for his late 1960s tropicalismo recordings, including "Roda," "Lunik 9," and "Domingo No Parque," the latter of which bears striking similarities to "A Day in the Life" by the Beatles. Elis Regina recorded many of his songs.

He began his career as a bossa nova musician, but soon began writing songs that reflected a new focus on political awareness and social activism, along with fellow singer Caetano Veloso. In the '70s, Gil added new elements of African and North American music to his already broad palette, and continued to release a steady stream of albums, including Realce and Refazenda. João Gilberto recorded Gil's "Eu Vim Da Bahia" ("I Came from Bahia") on his classic João Gilberto LP.

In 1969, Gil and Veloso, whose status in Brazil was, and is, equivalent to that of John Lennon and Paul McCartney in the English-speaking world, were arrested by the military government of Brazil for anti-government activities. Upon their release, the pair both moved to London. Gil began playing with groups like Yes, Pink Floyd and the Incredible String Band, while continuing his solo career. In the 1970s, he toured the US and recorded an English-language album. He worked with Jimmy Cliff and released in 1980 a cover of "No Woman, No Cry" (Bob Marley & the Wailers;) that was a massive hit and introduced reggae to Brazil.

Gil continued recording, performing and involving himself in various social causes, and was eventually elected to office in Salvador, Brazil, his hometown, in the early 1990s. His 1993 album with Caetano Veloso, Tropicália 2, featured a cover of a Jimi Hendrix song, "Wait Until Tomorrow," and is regarded as one of his finest efforts since the late '60s.

When President Lula da Silva took office in January 2003, he chose Gil to serve as Brazil's new Minister of Culture.