With the football World Cup having just started on Thursday, I thought I should bring you something from my collection that celebrates the vast musical heritage of the country where the tournament is taking place – Brazil.
One of the things that disappointed me most about the opening ceremony was the fact that the organisers saw fit to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars having Jennifer Lopez shake her ass for a few minutes and some guy called “Pitbull” mumble along (whoever the hell he is) rather than showcasing any one of the vast range of talented artists from Brazil. Well today’s selection is an appreciation of one of the very finest to come from Brazil, Mr Jorge Ben.
Jorge Ben (or Jorge Duilio Lima Menezies as he was christened) was born in Rio in 1945. He first became interested in music at the age of 13 and by age 15 had joined a local choir. His big break came in 1963 when he was playing at a local club and a record executive from Phillips spotted him and signed him immediately. One week later his debut single was released – “Mas Que Nada” Most people probably aren’t aware that it was Jorge Ben who wrote the song as Sergio Mendes’ version became the most well-known version before the truly awful Black Eyed Peas take on it.
Ben continued to record right through to the new millennium and during that time release almost an album every year as well as writing and recording tracks for other artists. Ben is still performing to this day at festivals around the world so if he turns up at a music festival near you, I highly recommend going to see one of the genuine legends of Brazilian music.