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Gilberto Gill will celebrate his 80th birthday with a European tour
Gilberto Gill will celebrate his 80th birthday with a European tour. Photo: Getty Images

Gilberto Gil celebrates 80th birthday with 'digital museum' of unpublished work

The digital archive, called 'The Rhythm of Gil,' was promoted by Google and the Gilberto Gil Institute

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The Brazilian composer and singer Gilberto Gil will celebrate his 80th anniversary this year on June 26, and now has a tribute worthy of his prolific artistic career. The opening of a 'digital museum' was announced at an event in Sao Paolo, which will compile the life and work of the man considered one of the greatest exponents of the Tropicália movement.

Gil's voice was key in that social upheaval that began in 1967, and completely shook popular music as a reaction to the brutal military dictatorship that controlled Brazil.

“This collection brings together many things, it ends a long period of my life, 60 years of contribution to artistic work. It recycles all that and relaunches it in another plane of possibility of use,” Gil explained during the Google for Brazil event.

The digital archive, named The Rhythm of Gil, was promoted by Google and the Gilberto Gil Institute, and includes more than 41,000 images and documents, as well as 900 videos of recordings that show the career of one of the greatest icons of Brazilian music.

One of the revelations is a 'lost album,' recorded in New York in 1982, and includes unreleased songs like "You need love." At 40 years old, Gil recorded a fresh album that was found decades after its production.

Gil defines the project as musical artistic archeology.

“For some reason the album ended up unreleased. There were some observations that I made about possible improvements. Time passed and it got lost. Only now, very recently, through extensive research that we did, the record came back and ended up in this collection,” he said.

Starting on Tuesday, June 14, Internet users from all over the world could begin accessing the valuable files, which the singer defines as a "pleasant striptease." Over the next few days, he will also premiere the documentary At Home with the Gils, a film in which he stars alongside his wife and the rest of his 'artistic clan,' including his sons, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law and grandchildren. Gil is also preparing a new tour around Europe.

Gil, born in Salvador de Bahía in 1942, continues to maintain an intense artistic output despite getting older. During the break forced by the pandemic, he broadcast performances live on YouTube, and after the coronavirus break, continues performing around his country.

As he explained, the digital archive is a portrayal of a lifetime: “family, childhood, immersion in the world of music, my interest in global, European, American and South American music.” In addition to living for a period of exile in London to flee the dictatorship, he made a significant break from his career to make the leap into politics. During the first government of Luiz Inácio Lula de Silva, Gil held the position of minister of culture. He also recently entered the Brazilian Academy of Letters for his literary contributions, and is a great promoter of the Salvador de Bahia Carnival.

In addition to the cultural contribution of the digital museum, Gil does not forget his strong social commitment: "these projects are guarantees to avoid possible interference from governments and dictatorships in our lives."

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