Mixing pop and politics: Gilberto Gil to speak at McGill


Media@McGill and MISC welcome Brazilian politician/musician for lecture on digital culture

Rarely do the worlds of politics and art converge so seamlessly as in the work of Brazil’s Minister of Culture and Grammy Award-winning performer, Gilberto Gil. As the entertainment industry grapples with the unbridled spread of content on the Internet, Gil has emerged as a central player in the global hunt for more flexible forms of distributing artistic works, and as an outspoken advocate for Internet rights, free and open source software, and digital culture.

Media@McGill and the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada (MISC) will jointly welcome Gil for a free public lecture on Friday, February 15, at 6 p.m. at the Hotel Omni Mont-Royal, 1050 Sherbrooke St. West. Digital Culture: Re-inventing America’s New World Dream will explore innovative policies and practices at the cutting edge of hot-button issues like copyright, digital culture and Internet rights.

“As Brazil’s Minister of Culture, Gil has been one of the leading international advocates for the rights of artists, cultural producers and ordinary citizens with respect to new media technologies,” said Marc Raboy, Beaverbrook Chair in Ethics, Media and Communications and head of Media@McGill.

In addition to being a high-profile politician, Gil has for four decades been one of Brazil’s most famous singers and composers, with nearly 50 albums and two Grammy Awards to his name. He began his career as a bossa nova musician and as his lyrical leanings became more politically and socially charged, helped found the popular anti-establishment movement called Tropicalia – a mix of bossa nova, psychedelic rock, bahia folk music and Portuguese fado. In 1968, Gil was imprisoned for several months by Brazil’s military government and upon his release was sent into exile in London, England. Gil returned to Brazil in 1972 to resume his career in music and activism. When Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva took office in January 2003, he appointed Gil as the country’s new Minister of Culture. While in office, Gil continues to write, record and tour.

This public lecture will be delivered following the conclusion of the 2008 MISC Conference: Are we American? Canadian Culture in North America. Simultaneous translation will be provided. In addition, Gil will be at La SAT (Society for Arts and Technology), 1195 Boulevard St-Laurent, on Saturday, February 16, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for a free bilingual discussion, Broadband: A conversation with Gilberto Gil. For more information, please visit: http://media.mcgill.ca/en/node/1055

Interviews with Mr. Gil may be arranged prior to his lecture on February 15th.