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Jorge Ben

While many of the performers during the heyday of Tropicalia and the rise of MPB (música popular brasileira) opted for a more radical stance in their challenge to Brazil's political and cultural authorities, artists like Jorge Ben took a more understated approach. Rather than use overly theatrical performance to shock the audience or write songs loaded with political content, Ben became known as one of the country's great musical alchemists, a furiously eclectic songwriter who combined elements of indigenous Brazilian music with a groove from the west coast of Africa. Never a controversial figure in the manner of the tropicalistas like Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, Ben became one of the most respected and resilient figures in Brazilian pop.

Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1940, Ben took up bossa nova guitar playing after hearing João Gilberto but found the style too complex to execute. This led to his developing his own approach to the bossa nova that focused on playing the guitar as one would a bass -- his early recordings are in fact bass-less. His first big hit as a singer/songwriter came at the age of 23 with "Mas, Que Nada." The song's subtle bossa nova groove proved so seductive that it was quickly covered by a number of Brazilian artists, most successfully by Sergio Mendes. During the military dictatorship's cultural crackdown in the late '60s Ben, whose music wasn't scrutinized as rigorously as that of tropicalistas like Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso, was able to perform without too much trouble into the early '70s. Still, he felt the long arm of Brazilian censorship when a 1971 performance was stopped in midsong because censors felt as though Ben's backup singers were dancing too suggestively.

It was from the late '60s to mid-'70s that Ben established himself as a songwriting force within Brazil. Over the next ten to 15 years he expanded his reach, with varying success, to Europe and America (he's more popular in Europe than America). In 1989 he released the album Benjor, simultaneously announcing that he was changing his last name to Benjor. During that same time period Ben realized his dream of working with prominent African musicians when he collaborated with Nigeria's King Sunny Ade, and also was represented on an anthology of Brazilian music compiled by former Talking Head David Byrne. Although not as politically radical as many of his contemporaries, Ben proved that in certain contexts and under unusually repressive restraint, music takes on a radical political dimension. ~ John Dougan
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Dadiva

1. Eu Quero Ver A Rainha

2. Conquero

3. Dadiva Da Da

4. Filho Maravilha / Pais Tropical

5. A Loba Comeu O Canario

6. Ana Tropicana

7. Energia Bom Bom

8. Rio Babilonia

9. No Reino Encantado Do Amor

10. Waimea 55.000

x

Track List: Forca Bruta

1. Oba, La Vem Ela

2. Ze Canjica

3. Domenica Domingava Num Domingo Toda De Branco

4. Charles Junior

5. Pulo, Pulo

6. Apareceu, Aparecida

7. O Telefone Tocou Novamente

8. Mulher Brasileira

9. Terezinha

10. Forca Bruta

x

Track List: Jorge Ben (1969)

1. Criola

2. Domingas

3. Cade Tereza

4. Barbarella

5. Pais Tropical

6. Take It Easy My Brother Charles

7. Descobri Que Eu Sou Um Anjo

8. Bebete Vaobora

9. Quem Foi Que Roubou A Sopeira De Porcelana Chinesa Que A Vovo Ganhou Da Baronesa?

10. Que Pena

11. Charles, Anjo 45

x

Track List: Samba Esquema Novo

1. Mas Que Nada

2. Tim Dom Dom

3. Balanca Pema

4. Vem Morena, Vem

5. Chove Chuva

6. E So Sambar

7. Rosa, Menina Rosa

8. Quero Esquecer Voce

9. Uila Ualala

10. A Tamba

11. Menina Bonita Nao Chora

12. Por Causa De Voce

x

Track List: A Tabua De Esmeralda

1. Os Alquimistas Estão Chegando Os Alquimistas

2. O Homem Da Gravata Florida

3. Errare Humanum Est

4. Menina Mulher Da Pele Preta

5. Eu Vou Torcer

6. Magnólia

7. Minha Teimosia, Uma Arma Pra Te Conquistar

8. Zumbi

9. Brother

10. O Namorado Da Viúva

11. Hermes Trismegisto E Sua Celeste Tábua De Esmeralda

12. Cinco Minutos (5 Minutos)

x

Track List: Ben E Samba Bom

2. Onde Anda O Meu Amor

3. Bicho Do Mato

5. Samba Legal

7. Gabriela

8. Zope Zope

10. Dandara, Hei

11. Samba, Menina

12. Guerreiro Do Rei

Comments

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rojasfl
Pure Gold-Sounds! Brother...
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adoro Jorge Ben jor Mais esta musica nao gosto nao Tem letra pobre
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Great artist to introduce to foreign audiences and then move into more traditional samba music. Listeners in the US love him.
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He's a rock star. Brazilian rock star. Voice is like butter on a track
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The greatest! Great range of style over time and a passionate singer, subtle and fiery. Great vibes and innovative grooves, especially for my American ears.
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LOVES JORGE BEN so so somuch
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From the 70's....Samb a Nova?
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regispearl20 0 9
kkkkkk very nice
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apfeiffenber g e r
Voce fala Portugues? Maybe one day I will. Ben's music is just another reason to start.
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kimberly.qua c h
boa tarde
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J'adore Jorge ben Jor. His music makes me smile.
Report as inappropriate
earlwiggs10
NICE!!!!! TWO THUMBS UP!!!

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