Even in the earliest stages of his career, Gil had a remarkable way of bringing a number of radically different elements together in his music. Tropicalism, the genre for which Gilberto Gil’s name is nearly synonymous, incorporates elements of rock, reggae, funk, and traditional Brazilian rhythms. The message of Gil’s music was fearless in its criticism of the authoritarian regime in control of his country, so much so that Gil and Caetano Veloso – his partner in the foundation of the Tropicalism movement – were imprisoned and eventually exiled from their country in 1969.
He continued his musical career in London until he was able to return to Brazil in 1972. Since then, Gil has released dozens of albums, winning 7 Grammy awards and selling over 4 million records. In addition to his music, Gil has served the people of Brazil in the world of politics, acting as a UN Goodwill Ambassador since 2001 and as the Brazilian Minister of Culture from 2003 to 2008.