Brazil’s most famous musical export Gilberto Gil is a pioneer whose long career has fused Brazilian grooves with rock and reggae. He virtually embodies the term ‘world music’ and here fronts a globe-trotting doc in search of authentic musical traditions. Visiting indigenous peoples in Australia, touring South African townships and Brazil’s troubled Amazonia, the sprightly 71-year-old brings the gift of listening – encouraging us to listen too.
There is no concrete goal to this drifting odyssey – for Gil, the journey is worth more than the destination. He was Brazil’s Minister of Culture between 2003 and 2008, introducing policies that brought communication technology to far-flung provinces. He’s outspoken on the value of outreach in embattled communities. And in his uncanny ability to create new harmonies with collaborators – from the Antipodes to Soweto – we see that philosophy in action. ‘Viramundo’ makes up in sheer warmth what it lacks in incisiveness.