Aldeburgh: Rare UK appearance by Grammy nominated singer Bebel Gilberto at FlipSide Festival

Bebel Gilberto, appearing at FlipSide. Photo: Darian Dornelles

Bebel Gilberto, appearing at FlipSide. Photo: Darian Dornelles - Credit: Archant

Prepping for a headliner show in Rio de Janeiro when I catch up with her, multi-Grammy nominated Bebel Gilberto says audiences at this year’s FlipSide are in for a surprise.

Bebel Gilberto will perform music from her latest album. Photo: Harper Smith

Bebel Gilberto will perform music from her latest album. Photo: Harper Smith - Credit: Archant

“We’ve been with the same band since February doing other shows and it’s really tight and great. It should be fun,” says the singer-songwriter, making a rare UK appearance.

New album Tudo, which means everything in English, dropped in August. Her first studio recording in five years, she hadn’t stopped making music.

“The last five years in my life were very, very complicated,” says Gilberto, who was ordered at one point to rest to combat exhaustion, adding “I have a life, other things to do as a human, who suffers and cries and laughs as anyone else.”

Tucking songs away all the time. It was while working on her Bebel Gilberto in Rio album and DVD in 2011-2012, which she describes as being about her history, almost like a collection of all the albums she’d done, as well as a portrait about Rio, that she knew it was the right time to record.

“I recorded Tudo album in less than seven months. Each song comes in a different way, I can have an idea walking down the beach, have an idea with a love disillusion or being in love or simply sitting down to compose a song with someone else.

“Rarely I finish a song in three minutes, it’s the only moment I’m not so spontaneous. When writing, I revisit my ideas, studies. Inspiration is the main thing.”

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Gilberto, born in New York to Brazilian music icons João Gilberto and Miúcha, describes Tudo as a surprise. Music that’s easy to listen to, that soothes, that inspires.

“Some of my music is good for dancing and I definitely will say that is good recipe for a date.”

There’s quite a variety of styles, with Brazilian rhythms and instruments to electronica. She’s somebody who likes to mix things up in the studio and on stage.

“Of course, it’s all about wanting to do it. It’s important to be eclectic. I believe I can put in my music that variation of gusto. I wanted to sing about each little moment, emotion, idea, melody that has been part of my life over the past year. I am loving life and living more passionately than ever and wanted to share all those mixed up feelings.”

Recorded in Brazil, New York City and Los Angeles; it was produced and mixed by Mario Caldato Jr who she chose to work with because, as she puts it, she’s so eclectic, she needed one producer to translate it all.

“Mario executed all my ideas, I already had the songs pre-recorded. He makes such a great sound and knows how to cut the sound just like any other great producer I worked with. The recording process was one of the most intense I have ever been through but it worked.

“A good part of the album was recorded in LA and you really feel that lighter, brighter west coast vibe in the music, mixed in with my darker New Yorker feelings, disco recorded in the middle of the winter which changes the vibe,” says Gilberto who, as well as living and breathing all types of Brazilian musical styles as a child, was exposed to everything from Debussy and Prince to Michel Legrand and Donna Summer growing up.

She worked with some of her favourite musicians from around the world; some of who will be coming to Flipside in Aldeburgh.

“They are the same four as the Barbican will be - Masa Shimisu, Jorge Continentino, Leo Costa and John Roggie. Amazing musicians and I’m excited to bring them to FlipSide. It will be the same show as the other shows we are now doing in Brazil. The rest is a suprise,” she teases.

Bebel Gilberto plays Snape Maltings Concert Hall from 8pm, October 4. For full details of the events and line-up of this year’s FlipSide Festival, running from October 3-5, visit

Read Andrew Clarke’s interview with founder Liz Calder online now.

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