Legendary Brazilian musician (and politician), Gilberto Gil, played two shows at the Market Theatre on Thursday and Friday evening this week. I first learnt about Gilberto Gil through Wired Magazine's feature on Creative Commons, which also featured new tracks from leading artists across the world (including Gilberto Gil). Later, I saw him perform in Salvador during the Carnaval (see my post here).
Gilberto Gil is filming a documentary called "Connecting the South", where he makes musical connections with various performers across the Southern Hemisphere. The concert was mostly for the purposes of the documentary, but it did help that there was a full house to see him perform.
As can be expected from such initiatives, there was a number of different genres on show - from Brazilian Bosa Nova, to traditional African, to afro-pop/contemporary pop and things in between. The show started with traditional Xhosa music - which I have seen on TV, and is very much an endangered musical form - played by Xhosa Muse Madosini. The drummer in Gilberto Gil's band would return later, to perform a more modern piece with the same traditional Xhosa instruments. In the varied South African music scene, I think there will be consensus with my view that traditional music forms are fast disappearing, and most South Africans have never heard traditional musical instruments. Events such as this, not only expose the traditional form of the music, but also the potential use of such instruments in new musical forms.
Vusi Mahlasela also joined Gilberto Gil a few times, playing both his own songs or joining in with the Bosa Nova. Other collaborations included the The Fatima Choral Community Choir, The WITS Choir and the The MIAGI Youth Orchestra.
It was an odd mix of languages (I recognised at least 5 - English, Sotho, Xhosa, Zulu and off course Brazilian Portuguese), and while some collaboration pieces worked, others were less than ideal. Given the documentary will probably only be 90 minutes or so, I am not sure how much footage of this concert will be used. Documentary aside, it was an enjoyable show of varied musical performance.