Gilberto Gil and Rhythm Foundation's 25th Season Celebration at New World Center

Photo by Tomas Loewy
Rhythm Foundation's 25th Season Celebration
Featuring Gilberto Gil
New World Center, Miami Beach
Sunday, October 21, 2012

Better Than: Tim Robbins's CD collection in High Fidelity.

Last night, the Rhythm Foundation kicked off its 25th season of international music by hosting an intimate evening with world-renowned Brazilian guitarist Gilberto Gil. And the results were nothing short of spellbinding.

See also:
-Gilberto Gil Celebrates 25 Years of Miami's Rhythm Foundation at New World Center

Before the concert, guests were treated to complimentary Brazilian cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, and the globe-spanning vinyl spinning of DJ Da Lua. Most DJs can't break out of one or two genres, let alone cover both hemispheres, so it was impressive to hear so many continents in Mr. Da Lua's mix. And, hey, the drinks were strong and delicious. Conclusion: The Rhythm Foundation knows how to party.

Photo by Tomas Loewy
DJ Da Lua.

Before bringing out the man of the hour, the Rhythm Foundation projected a montage of live footage, album covers, news clippings, and candid photographs. This visual tribute made the guitarist's appearance on the stage that much more powerful. It was as though the epic, nearly mythological figure depicted had suddenly ripped himself out of two-dimensionality and into our corporeal realm.
There was one notable difference between the Gil we saw in the opening video and the one that appeared in the flesh a few moments later. The opening clip show depicted Gil performing with every form of accompaniment imagineable: rock bands, Samba rock bands, Jazz players, folkloric Brazilian musicians and dancers, and so on.

But last night was an exquisitely rare opportunity to see the iconic songwriter ride the spotlight like a rodeo cowboy with the grace of a prima ballerina.

"Enjoy the concert," he stated invitingly at the show's start. "It's simply me and my guitar."

Photo by Tomas Loewy
Gilberto Gil.

Gilberto Gil, his guitar, and, of course, his sonorous, multidimensional, dexterous vocal chords that match the sounds he makes with his instrument in emotion and astounding technicality. After a brief tuning -- which the maestro managed to make sound like a minimalist composition unto itself -- Gil launched full-force into a passionate set that displayed his capabilities as a singer in full splendor.

His default cadence was that of the street corner Bossa guitarist on a Sunday afternoon. But the audience was also treated to some expert scatting which sometimes even took on an air of rapping or toasting. And we may have spoken too soon when we dubbed Andrew Bird the "hardest whistling man in show business." Gil's puckered lips could emulate everything from violins to songbirds.

Location Info


New World Center

500 17th St., Miami Beach, FL

Category: Music

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