Ballroom Dancing

SXSW Panels

Ballroom Dancing
Photo By Gary Miller

SXSW Interview: Gilberto Gil

Austin Convention Center, Wednesday, March 14

Interviewer Christopher Dunn's problem was palpable. What do you ask Gilberto Gil, the Minister of Culture of the world's fifth most populous nation, an international music star, and someone who's lived several lifetimes? About bossa nova's advent, or Gil's fiftysomethingth new album Gil Luminoso (DRG)? Creating tropicália with Caetano Veloso in the late Sixties, or being jailed and then exiled by the government because of it, ending up in London with Yes and Pink Floyd? Joining Stevie Wonder and Fela Kuti at the FESTAC festival/conference in Nigeria in 1977, or bringing reggae to Brazil with Jimmy Cliff? Or should Gil's interlocutor ask about getting the key to Austin earlier in the day? Dunn – a professor of Latin American studies from Tulane University – wisely used a historical thread to ask these and other questions. Describing Brazil's Cultural Hot Spots program supporting the arts, the dreadlocked cabinet official declared: "Hip-hop is recognized as a very important expression, a form of resistance. There must be new ways of thinking about culture. Culture is bio-power!"

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