Gilberto Gil's Discography: 'All albums have a biography' - Part 4

Writer of other biographies for Brazilian music albums gives an overview of Gilberto Gil’s records, which contain experiences and reflections.

By Instituto Gilberto Gil

Text: Chris Fuscaldo*, journalist and music researcher

Capa do álbum Parabolicamará, de Gilberto Gil (1992)Instituto Gilberto Gil

Gilberto Gil em Parabolicamará

Political and musical Gil

Gilberto Gil was elected councilman in Salvador in 1988, and, during that time, he reconfigured his thoughts on human relationships and the modern world. Youngest to Flora, José was born in 1990. Still in the City Council, with all his children born and an established career, in 1992, he released Parabolicamará.

Parabolicamará Livro com partituras do álbum Parabolicamará, de Gilberto Gil (1992)Instituto Gilberto Gil

The title track raises a discussion of how past and present can live together in a flow, pointing towards the future. Tradition and modernity mix in the parabolic antenna and in the “camará”, so frequent in capoeira.

Capa do álbum Tropicália 2, de Gilberto Gil e Caetano Veloso (1993)Instituto Gilberto Gil

Celebrating Tropicália

Now away from politics, in 1993, Gil joined Caetano in celebrating 26 years of tropicalism and 30 of friendship, with the album Tropicália 2.

Tropicália 2 Livro de partituras com canções do álbum Tropicália 2, de Gilberto Gil e Caetano Veloso (1993)Instituto Gilberto Gil

Nossa Gente em ensaio de Gilberto Gil e Caetano Veloso para o show Tropicália 2

That same year, record label PolyGram started releasing remastered CDs of all of Gil’s old albums which had been released by Philips as vinyl records (the audio is a recording of part of Caetano Veloso's rehearsal for the album tour).

Capa do álbum Unplugged, de Gilberto Gil (1994)Instituto Gilberto Gil

In early 1994, Gil recorded the program Acústico MTV. The performance was recorded and later released worldwide by Warner Music, as an album and home video titled Gilberto Gil: Unplugged.

Capa do álbum Quanta, de Gilberto Gil (1997)Instituto Gilberto Gil


Focus on quantum physics

In 1997, Gil launched Quanta. Before reaching the final result, he consulted the physicist César Lattes to help him define the concepts of the album he would like to make. To which the physicist replied, in a letter:

Gilberto Gil no palco durante show na turnê Quanta (Década de 1990)Instituto Gilberto Gil

Ciência e Arte

“I ask that you allow me to say that the meaning that physics currently gives to some words that you used, with great happiness, but that in some cases seem to me poetic license: The 'infinitesimal' is a mathematical fiction; Quantum is the minimum of action (energy x time)..."

On the album, the track Pela Internet shows the composer amazed when he realized that he had the world at his fingertips, through the world wide web.

Capa do álbum Quanta Gente Veio Ver, de Gilberto Gil (1998)Instituto Gilberto Gil

Other projects

In 1998, the artist prepared the live album Quanta Gente Veio Ver. Released in the United States under the title Quanta Live, the album recorded at Teatro João Caetano, in Rio de Janeiro, won a Grammy in 1998.

Capa do álbum O Sol de Oslo, de Gilberto Gil (1998)Instituto Gilberto Gil


That same year, Gil released the album O Sol de Oslo. Except for the songs Onde o Xaxado Tá and Oslodum, O Sol de Oslo was recorded in Norway four years earlier and shelved because it was considered a non-commercial album by the label.

Documents from Gilberto Gil's Private ArchiveInstituto Gilberto Gil

The era of boxes begins

In 1999, a box called Ensaio Geral was released containing the entire discography from the time when Gil was hired by PolyGram (today, Universal Music) and other rarities discovered by researcher Marcelo Fróes, the subject of Part 6 of this discobiography.

Capa do álbum Gil & Milton, de Gilberto Gil e Milton Nascimento (2000)Instituto Gilberto Gil

Ensaio da música Duas Sanfonas para o show conjunto de Milton Nascimento e Gilberto Gil

The accordion and the forró

In 2000, Gil teamed up with Milton Nascimento to record Gil & Milton, an album in which the Bahian takes up his first instrument, the accordion.

Capa do álbum As canções de Eu, Tu, Eles, de Gilberto Gil (2000)Instituto Gilberto Gil

Olha Pro Ceú Gilberto Gil no show As Canções de Eu, Tu, Eles

In the same year, he immersed himself in the forró universe when recording the soundtrack of the film Eu, Tu, Eles, called As Canções de Eu Tu Eles.

Capa do álbum São João Vivo, de Gilberto Gil (2001)Instituto Gilberto Gil

Gilberto Gil canta Asa Branca em show do álbum São João Vivo

The year 2001 ended up becoming the year of forró music. Gil recorded the São João Vivo album, then went back on stage for Arraial de Gilberto Gil, performed at the Aterro do Flamengo, in Rio, marking the beginning of filming for Andrucha Waddington’s documentary, Viva São João.

Capa do álbum Kaya N'Gan Daya, de Gilberto Gil (2002)Instituto Gilberto Gil

Kaya N Gan Daya

Taking on reggae

Finally, also in 2001, the Bahian took up his passion for reggae, embarking for Jamaica again, this time to record re-recordings or versions of Bob Marley in an album entirely focused on rhythm, Kaya N'Gan Daya.

Capa do DVD Kaya N'Gan Daya, de Gilberto Gil (2002)Instituto Gilberto Gil

Is This Love por Gilberto Gil na turnê Kaya N’Gan Daya

The disc was released in 2002, also on DVD, bringing, in addition to images from a documentary made in Jamaica, the recording of a show in São Paulo produced especially to be included in this release.

Documents from Gilberto Gil's Private ArchiveInstituto Gilberto Gil

Another box

Also in 2002, Gil released another box set directed by Marcelo Fróes: Palco came out with thirty CDs, containing his discography on the Warner label between 1975 and 2002, and including soundtracks.

Capa do álbum Kaya N'Gan Daya Ao Vivo, de Gilberto Gil (2003)Instituto Gilberto Gil

Three Little Birds por Gilberto Gil durante ensaio para show Kaya N'Gan Daya

In 2003, Gilberto Gil became Minister of Culture, but he did not leave the stage: the album dedicated to reggae won a version recorded at a concert. Kaya N'Gan Daya Ao Vivo was recorded in Rio de Janeiro, at Teatro João Caetano.

Gilberto Gil, ao lado de seu ex-empresário Daniel Rodrigues, nos bastidores de um dos shows de divulgação do álbum Kaya N' Gan Daya (Década de 2000)Instituto Gilberto Gil

Continues on Part 5.

Credits: Story

Exhibit credits

Research and text: Chris Fuscaldo (*author of Discobiografia Legionária and Discobiografia Mutante: Álbuns que Revolucionaram a Música Brasileira)
Assembly: Patrícia Sá Rêgo

General credits

Editing and curation: Chris Fuscaldo / Garota FM 
Musical content research: Ceci Alves, Chris Fuscaldo, Laura Zandonadi and Ricardo Schott 
Ministry of Culture content research: Carla Peixoto, Ceci Alves, Chris Fuscaldo 
Captions: Anna Durão, Carla Peixoto, Ceci Alves, Chris Fuscaldo, Daniel Malafaia, Fernanda Pimentel, Gilberto Porcidonio, Kamille Viola, Laura Zandonadi, Lucas Vieira, Luciana Azevedo, Patrícia Sá Rêgo, Pedro Felitte, Ricardo Schott, Roni Filgueiras e Tito Guedes 
Data editing: Isabela Marinho and Marco Konopacki
Gege Produções Review: Cristina Doria
Acknowledgements Gege Produções, Gilberto Gil, Flora Gil, Gilda Mattoso, Fafá Giordano, Maria Gil, Meny Lopes, Nelci Frangipani, Cristina Doria, Daniella Bartolini e todos os autores das fotos e personagens da história
All media: Instituto Gilberto Gil
*Every effort has been made to credit the images, audios and videos and correctly tell the story about the episodes narrated in the exhibitions. If you find errors and/or omissions, please contact us by email

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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