It’s hard to say if Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil are friends because they are musicians, or if they are musicians because they are friends. Both their careers and collaboration started in the early 60s, in Salvador, Bahia, which preceded the Tropicália movement, together with Gal Costa, Os Mutantes, and Tom Zé. In 1969, they were jailed by the Brazilian military for being dangerous musical subversives and later deported to London, England. They were allowed back in Brazil in 1972 and, in typical fashion, never stopped shaking the foundations of Brazilian music with the idea of “cultural cannibalism” – devouring influences from around the world and spitting them back out into a uniquely Brazilian identity.
Now both 72 years old, the Grammy-winning singer-songwriters are taking their partnership on the road for the first time since 1994 with a tour called Two Friends — One Century of Music, which also generated an album recorded live last year in São Paulo. (Available online).
In an interview with AFP, Caetano said about their lifetime friendship: “I think we’re more different than alike but we are strongly united by life and by music.” Gil also confessed that even after five decades, he still gets nervous before going on stage. “My hands get cold, sometimes my heart even races,” he said. “But it’s easier with him by my side. Of all the musicians out there, the one I feel most at peace with on stage is Caetano.”