12 O'Clock Track: Watching the World Cup with Gilberto Gil's 'Back in Bahia'

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Expresso 2222
  • Expresso 2222
I spent a chunk of the past weekend watching some of the World Cup, sleepily taking in long stretches of dribbling and passing punctuated by dramatic and improbable goals (poor Greece, I was rooting for them). In the spirit of the World Cup taking place in Brazil, I've been spending more time revisiting some older Brazilian music. For today's 12 O'Clock Track I'm going with Gilberto Gil's "Back in Bahia," the second track off the singer-songwriter-guitarist's 1972 album Expresso 2222. Recorded after Gil was exiled in London for three years following an arrest and three-month prison sentence by the Brazilian military government, the song is a funky, buoyant celebration of returning home, backed by a loose rhythm section that propels the snaky melody and Gil's otherworldly guitar playing. "Back in Bahia" meanders a little but it's also bouncy and captivating, kind of like the World Cup.

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