Jorge Ben Jor

Fusing shuffling bossa nova rhythms with West African grooves and American R&B melodies, Jorge Ben became an important, pioneering figure in Brazilian pop music, best remembered for his big signature standard 'Mas, Que Nada'. Born in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, he grew up singing in church and after falling in love with the music of Joao Gilberto began playing in the carnivals and night clubs of Copacabana. Using his mother's Ethiopian name and a guitar she had bought him, he was spotted by an executive from Philips Records in 1963 and the quirky, ramshackle energy of 'Mas, Que Nada' was turned into a popular hit. The song's legacy was cemented three years later when legendary bandleader Sergio Mendes recorded a version for his 'Brasil 66' album, and its infectious samba beat and dreamy hooks have become a memorable standard covered over the years by Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald and even The Black Eyed Peas. Thanks to his groundbreaking self-titled album in 1969, Ben was linked to the Tropicalia counter-culture art movement led by Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, but his soulful, modern style of Brazilian music was more connected to his African roots and he is credited with bringing a black consciousness to the country's pop songs for the first time. Incorporating more funk and R&B influences into his sound, his 1976 samba rock album 'Africa Brasil' is revered as another of his classic works. It features the hit single 'Xica da Silva' which was used as the theme tune to a movie, and also the track 'Taj Mahal', which Rod Stewart liked and used the melody for his popular hit 'Da Ya Think I'm Sexy'. He changed his name to Jorge Ben Jor in 1989, and went on to have a late career hit with 'W. Brasil' in 1992 and performed at the giant Live Earth concert in Rio in 2007

Related Artists

Stations Featuring Jorge Ben Jor

Please enable Javascript to view this page competely.