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Forty years after its release, Gilberto Gil is revisiting one of his iconic albums: Refavela. Gilberto Passos Gil Moreira was born in 1942 in the ultimate Afro-Brazilian city of Salvador, Bahia, the city of candomblé, the assertion of negritude and the trance-like Afoxés carnival. The repertoire of the project he brings us shows an era in which Salvador natives collided with their Yorubas roots. Although Refavela, released in 1977, is rarely showcased in the singer’s discography (over sixty albums), the work occupies a significant place in it. At that time, Gil’s career had already spanned fifteen years (first single released in ‘62). From 1967, he was with Caetano Veloso, one of the spearheads of the Tropicalist revolution. The military dictatorship imprisoned him, then sent him to London in exile. On his return, he created his masterpiece Expresso 2222 (in 1972) and then released his ‘Re’ trilogy: Refazenda (75), Refavela (77) and finally Realce (79). In the middle of this period, Gil was invited to the World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture which took place in 1977 in Nigeria. “I thought of recording a new album when I was in Lagos,” he said. This trip to Africa inspired him to make ‘Aqui e Agora’, ‘Refavela’ and ‘Balafon’. The Nordeste idol recalled how he “brought back a balafon from the Gulf of Guinea and immediately wrote the piece with this instrument.”

Line-up : Gilberto Gil (v, g) Mayra Andrade (v), Chiara Civello (v), Mestrinho (v, accordéon), , Bem Gil (g), Domenico Lancellotti (dms, perc), Bruno Di Lullo (b), Thomas Harres (perc), Thiagô Queiroz (sax, fl), Mateus Aleluia Filho (tp et bgl), Nara Gil et Ana Lomelino (bkv)

Photo : © DR

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