VF Mix 125: Gilberto Gil by DJ Tahira





An hour with the Brazilian legend.

One of the titans of contemporary music, Gilberto Gil has done it all. He was a pioneering member of Brazil’s politically subversive, musically radical Tropicália movement, for which he was subsequently arrested, he explored the nation’s oft-neglected African heritage, and cut some of the country’s most enduring, diverse records in the process. In 2003 he became Brazil’s Minster of Culture, where he increased state expenditure on the arts by almost 40%, before returning full time to music in 2008.

Paying homage is Sao Paulo’s DJ Tahira, something of a musical polymath when it comes to Brazilian groove and whose much sought after remix of Gil’s ‘Toda Menina Baiana’ has finally seen the light of day on his fantastic new compilation Levanta Poeira: Afro​-​Brazilian music & rhythms from 1976 – 2016, which was one of our favourite releases in February.

Listen to the mix and read Tahira’s detailed introduction below.

It’s not easy to pay tribute to a great living legend like Gilberto Gil. His music has influenced me since I was a kid and it still touches me today. I keep discovering and re-discovering his music.

I recorded this mix with a lot of different ideas in my head, so here are some of them:

Gilbert Gil had several big hits in Brazil so I’ve included some of them on this mix since I believe that a few might still be unknown to people abroad, such as ‘Anda Com Fé’, ‘Realce’, ‘Eu Só Quero Um Xodó’ (from Dominguinhos) and ‘Esperando Pela Janela’. These 4 tracks were a huge success and still remain classics.

At the start of his career, Gilberto Gil was hugely influenced by the Forró of Luiz Gonzaga. He became fascinated by guitars (especially of the Tropicalia era) before he re-discovered his Forró roots, exploring the northeastern sound of Brazil and fusing it with the rich musical experiences he gathered during his career.

The moment he returned to his Forró roots with a more open minded and experimental approach was one of my favourite periods in his career.

So in this mix you will experience several Forró moments, and many different influences, such as on ‘Sonho Molhado’, ‘Eu Só Quero Um Xodó’, ‘Toda Menina Baiana (Live Version)’, ‘Esperando Pela Janela’ and ‘Cores Vivas’.

The selection focuses more on the African side of Gil’s music. The only more US-oriented track is ‘Ha Ha Ha’ from a 1998 release featuring rare and exclusive music recorded between ’74 and ’77.

In his shows Gilberto Gil always tries to perform alternative versions of his big hits. This is a thing that just few artists in the world are able to do properly, and I have included some examples. Just listen to the fantastic remake of ‘Toda Menina Baiana’ blending Forró and Ijexa or the disco monster ‘Palco’, in an all acoustic version.

I’ve included a lot of tracks from 1981 album Luar, as it’s the album that I listen to most nowadays.

The tracks ‘Ile Aye’ and ‘Patuscada de Gandhi’ are both from the album Refavela. It’s an album influenced by a trip to Nigeria in ’77 when he met Fela Kuti and Stevie Wonder at the Second International Festival of Black Art and Culture. After Gil returned to Brazil, he felt the strong necessity to express his pride in being a black man in his songs and connected even more closely with Brazil’s African roots.

I finished the set with a track from Banda de Pifanos de Caruaru – ‘Pipoca Moderna’. This track was recorded by Gilberto Gil and later on by Caetano Veloso in different versions. The group Banda de Pifanos has existed since 1924. Several years later, in 1972, Gilberto Gil covered the track ‘Pipoca Moderna’ for his own album Expresso 222 and made the group famous. Eventually, Banda de Pifanos recorded their first album in 1972.


1. É Menina (Mercuty)
2. É Menina (First Version)(Mercuty)
3. Anda Com Fé (Warner)
4. Sonho Molhado (Warner)
5. Eu Só Quero Um Xodó (Mercury)
6. Maracatu Atomico (Bonus Track)(Mercuty)
7. Ile Aye (Philips)
Palco (Unplugged Version)(WEA)
8. Oju Oba (Polygram)
9. Vida (Charly)
10. Patuscada De Gandhi (Philips)
11. Toda Menina Baiana (Live Version)(WEA)
12. Sarro (Philips)
13. Realce (Elektra)
14. Ha Ha Ha (Polygram)
15. Esperando pela Janela (Atlantic)
Cores vivas (Warner)
Banda de Pifanos de Caruaru – Pipoca Moderna (Musicolor)

Levanta Poeira – Afro​-​Brazilian music & rhythms from 1976 – 2016 compiled by Tahira is available to order here.

For more on Gilberto Gil, read our introduction to his 10 most important records here.