Gilberto Gil

After a four-year layoff from writing and releasing new material, 67-year-old Gilberto Gil has emerged with a collection of songs that marry ideas from northeastern Brazilian street poetry (cordel) and contemporary concepts. He opens with the upbeat "Despedida de Solteira" ("Bachelorette Party"), whose humorous lyrics tell the story of a young woman who announces her engagement to "another beautiful girl who once dated my brother." But the album take a serious turn. Gil contemplates the end of his own life on the wonderfully poetic "Não Tenho Medo da Morte" ("I Do Not Fear Death"). Later, on the gentle "A Faca e o Queijo" ("The Knife and the Cheese"), he revels in the comfort of long-term relationships brought about with age.

This time around, Gil doesn't really touch on social issues — it would be risky territory for him, since he has served as his country's minister of culture for the past six years. Instead, he prefers to look into human behavioral changes brought about by the Internet, Google, and iPods, all of which are name-checked on the title track. With his voice intact after more than 40 years in the business, Gil demonstrates that the muse is still with him and that he is still unafraid to try something new.


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