Jorge Ben
Photo taken from the cover of the album "Ben", released in 1972 by Philips. Photo: Publicity / Phonogram

A few days ago, after an informal chat on Facebook, I received eight scanned pages of the entirety of a report with Jorge Ben Jor published in the January 1976 edition of He She, period when he still defended the artistic codename Jorge Ben. Signed by reporter Daysy Cury de Abreu and originally published in number 81 of the magazine aimed at the male audience, the article was kindly scanned by journalist and researcher João Antônio Buhrer, a precious friend in that social network, who dedicates the space of his timeline mostly to distribute, in an open way, some digitalized jewels from his collection of newspapers and magazines from the Brazilian press from the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s.

But, after all, why is this documentary pill, spontaneously launched by João in the virtual universe, something so valuable? Well, because it concerns the story of someone like Jorge, one of the most emblematic and proportionally enigmatic artists of our popular music. Even at the height he experienced in the 1960,70s, 90s, 2000s and XNUMXs, the cult Babulina was never used to talking regularly to the local press. Pure shyness, they assure those closest to them.

In Jorge's “bread line” I, for example, am just another cultural press reporter who spent years and years of his professional life trying to make a deal with the guy. When I came close to such a feat, I was struck by the sad reaffirmation of the finitude that haunts us all. Let me explain: who was giving the most strength to make the interview with Jorge happen, Ivone Kassu, his advisor – kindness personified, an incredible woman – left days before we realized the idea of ​​the chat.

Ivone was with Jorge and other great artists, such as Roberto Carlos, for decades on end. The King's right-hand man, another notorious escapee from the press microphones, she, better than anyone, understood Jorge's elusive nature and tried to explain to me the reason for his silence. Days before she left, in our last phone conversation, she ended the conversation in a welcoming tone. “Stay calm, Marcelo. I'm sure it will happen!”.

In reverence for Ivone, and out of respect for the determination of the reporter Daysy, author of the article digitized by her friend João that was the trigger for this report - in fact, in the text, she describes, in a delicious way, the journey that she went to approach the subject - I let go of the obsessive idea of ​​having a chat with Babulina and I am content, now, to make here for you, dear readers and fans of Jorge, a summary of his best statements to the press between the years 1966 and 1979.

As an unconditional fan of the subject, I spent a week delving into everything I could find documented on the web in newspapers and magazines from that period. I mean, I made this selection looking for what is available online about him, digging through websites, blogs and some essential digital newspaper libraries, in case of Awesome Files, from friend John (follow the page of the journalist on FB), and old age, by the collector Eduardo Menezes.

So let's stay with this chronological overview of historical documentation on the life and work of Jorge Ben Jor. In addition to the clippings of reports and interviews, I added small, very special reviews that address the release of some of the classics released by the subject in the heyday of the Phonogram/Philips phase, in the case of albums such as release the peacock e Africa-Brazil.

Good reading!

Testimony by Jorge Ben for issue 167 of the magazine Break, from the week of 20 to 26.3.1966, in an uncredited report entitled Samba Subversives Persegue Cantor – Jorge Ben made enemies because he joined Iê-Iê-Iê (At the time, Jorge was patrolled for having, in a short interval, participated in the programs Young guardDivine, Wonderful, TV store in Tropicália, and The Fino da Bossa, which should, in the TV protocol, be its stronghold of origin, for associating Samba New SchemeSacundin Ben SambaBen Is Samba Good e Big Ben to the concept of bossa, samba jazz).   

“I get ice, jokes, indirections and criticism from samba subversives and the social samba gang. I have nothing against them, but let me sing my compositions to the audience I want. Without the pernostics of imported jazz and social lyrics, my music is sung by everyone. For children who can barely speak, for young people and adults. Which is to say, it's 'success', despite being snubbed and graffitied by samba subversives.”

Excerpts from It's George's Day, story by Scarlet Moon for the June 1973 issue of the magazine POP.

Scarlett says:
"...all this work, for now, is being done to fulfill requests from other singers. He makes the songs according to each one's style, but only if the guy wants to record. Recently, Jorge created the JB Coqueluche Band (the initials must be pronounced in English, jei-bi, and the rest with a good Northeastern accent), which has already recorded a simple single, with the Flamengo Anthem on a track and jazzpotato in the other. The band also participated in the recording of Jorge's testimony for the Museum of Image and Sound. But the real surprise is jazzpotato, a new rhythm created by him, very hot, very Latin. The secret lies in the kind of harmony that Jorge makes with the melodic line. It is a kind of portunhol (Portuguese with Spanish), mixed with English (“Is coming jazzpotato / aqui yo no quiedo más”).

Jorge then explains the origin of jazzpotato and talks about its intuitiveness.
“We kept repeating this harmonization, until everyone was lit to play the other songs. But then the word jazzpotato appeared (just as he is now glazed over the sound of the word whooping cough, says Scarlett) and the theme became music. When I write music, I do things the way I feel, without worrying about rhymes or adjectives. With me things are very intuitive and research and elaboration don't work. Most of the time, I don't correct my songs. Sometimes the correction can improve, but I believe that there are cases where we start to move a lot and the music turns into something else, very different and far from the idea, the initial feeling.”

“Without any vedettes, I'm a person who tries as much as possible to defend his ideas and act in his own way. Things always have to be the way I want, even if I break my face. I don't identify my work with that of any other composer. I don’t know exactly what influences I may have suffered, and I think that’s really cool.”

Opening pages of the report It's Jorge's Day
Opening pages of the report “É Dia de Jorge”, published by Scarlett Moon in POP magazine, in June 1973. Photo: Reproduction / “POP Magazine” (source blog Velhidade, by researcher Eduardo Menezes)

album review release the peacock, uncredited, published in the December 1975 issue of the magazine POP. 
Nobody Holds Jorge Ben – Simple songs, inspired lyrics, and a cool influence from Gilberto Gil: the new album by Jorge Ben painted, following the same line he adopted in The Emerald Tablet. the disk is release the peacock, and their strongest songs are George of CappadociadumingazJesualdaDorothy e Beware the Bulldog. Jorge, whose trip to Mexico was the biggest hedgehog (he stayed there for 20 days), has returned and, after a Christmas break, resumes his European sex.

Review of release the peacock, uncredited, also published in the journal POP, in December 1975, in the Em Cartaz session.  
The peacock, the bulldog, Santo Tomaz de Aquino, old people, flowers, little children, dogs, the king, Jesualda, the defender who can’t score plays – Jorge Ben opens the windows of his lighted head and lets go of everything, in a damned mixture and irresistible. In this new album, released by Phonogram, Ben confirms that he is one of the most relaxed and relaxed composers of modern Brazilian popular music. And that he is one of the strongest and most original interpreters. And his music full of swing, almost raw, with a primitive quality. Ah, enough adjectives! Let's go dancing, to the sound of Jorge Ben!

album review Africa-Brazil published by Ana Maria Bahiana in Music Journal in the January 1977 issue
Fly Jorge, Jorge fly! Anthropophagy lesson, back on top, healthy digestion of our daily massification. Against canned goods and merchandising music, Jorge builds his beachhead with pure animal rhythm, black, infinitely Brazilian. Again, Jorge flies!

Review of Africa-Brazil published by Oscar Pitta in the January 1977 issue of the magazine POP
It is really impossible to remain indifferent to the hot and explosive rhythm that Jorge Ben and his group – the Admiral Jorge V Ben – detonate in Africa-Brazil. And rock? Is it samba? Is it soul? Is it maracatu? Neither this nor that. It is simply the sound (and Jorge Ben's trademark, which is born from the brilliant union of guitars, keyboards, cuíca, surdo and atabaques, infecting the senses in an undeniable invitation to primitive and sensual dance). Africa-Brazil it's a celebration. Enjoy.

Excerpts from the report I want to make a sound that is universal, uncredited, published in Music Magazinein December 1977. 
“I don't perform (in theaters) because I depend on businessman Marcos Lázaro. I've always thought it was cool to work in theater, but when I arrive to chat, Marcos says it's not a good time, that the occasion isn't right. I'd like to do a job for college students and they've actually painted many proposals, but I can't go over the manager. You know, I enjoy both theater and dance audiences. The first will enjoy quiet – and we will work with that desire to do everything right, to sing beautifully, to have sex with that delicious sound. It will be an almost carefree job. Now, at a dance, it's that excitement, and I also like to feel the guy singing and dancing. It really excites me a lot too.”

About the shows he did in Europe and the United States in 1977. 
“We play a medium samba, like What the hell is this, with more universal characteristics, which may be a blues song, but it is really sambão. We play a frevo, like Taj Mahal, which is more sophisticated, and we play zazueira, with a very Brazilian rhythm, but of baião. Guys want to die!”

Jorge points out that he played shows in Italy, at the Sistina Theater, in addition to a 15-day season with Jair Rodrigues at the Olympia in Paris, with a full house. 
“I noticed that the guys were silly, astonished, because they thought that Brazilian music is just the music that plays during Carnival. I think it will be the time for Brazilian music, because the guys are tired of pop music. And then the artists there no longer sing their songs. They can sing in the local language, but the songs are American: soul music, rock. So our music moves them.”

Jorge bets on the success of Belchior and João Nogueira.
“I think that in the future there will be a group making different Brazilian music. There are those who are trying a universal, more electronic sound, and there are those who are trying a roots sound. At the moment, there is a guy who is in fashion, and who I consider a poet, is Belchior. He talks more than he sings, and he says some pretty things. And he has another one, João Nogueira, who gives a very important message with his division. I think their work will create a school.”

Jovem Guarda, Tropicália and political positioning.
“Jovem Guarda was an impact and a barrier that I managed to overcome, because I was very shy musically. I was afraid to perform for the public, I was nervous to play. At Jovem Guarda, I was able to uninhibit myself due to the heat that the public gave us. And then, when I moved to Tropicália, it was awesome. In fact, it was a shame to end Tropicália, because it was such a joyful and dancing business. My music had no political connotations. In this period I composed What a pityTropical countryzazueira, all very danceable and a real and true music. Charles Angel 45is the story of a childhood friend. But I don't know how to do anything political. My songs are romantic, and I think I say something with them.”

the universal sound
“My work is rooted, more for the popular. When I make a song, I make it for myself first, because I like music, but then I test it on kids. If they like it, it's because it's really good. I want to make a sound that is universal, even though it is sung in Portuguese”.

From guitar to guitar*
“At first I tried to put a microphone on my guitar, but there was feedback, so I bought an Ovation guitar, with nylon strings and amplified. Finally I switched to guitar. But it wasn't easy, because the guitar has more features, more neck, so it has to be well tuned and we have to hurt the strings properly, we have to swing differently from the guitar”.

*Jorge closes the conversation by revealing that he has two national guitars “that are the best”, a Giannini and a Di Giorgio.

Excerpts from the report Jorge Ben: My dream is to be President, uncredited, published in the March 1978 issue of the magazine POP.  

the disappointment with Africa-Brazil*
“The release of my record Africa-Brazil, in early 1977, was the biggest lack of professional respect. Phonogram released the record without consulting me – I was in Europe at the time, and they didn't even want to know. They sent it to see, modifying a lot of things. Even the cover was not the one I had chosen – the one in the stores is awful.”
*Complaining, by the way, about the precariousness of the studios, Jorge says, about the recording environment: “In Brazil, we have only good human material”.

Tokyo souvenirs
“In 1973, for example, I sang in Japan for a theater full of only Japanese people: everyone seated, behaved, waiting for the show to start. But soon they were clapping to the beat, they even sang with me in the choir of zazueira, imagine! In the end, they went on stage, danced. A party! I really liked those little guys.”

President/King of a kingdom “full of flowers”
“Besides football, I dreamed of being a lawyer, an important profession… I would like to be king of a kingdom full of flowers, where no child would have an injection. president? I would like to be, yes. But president of Mengo. I'll be there in ten years. And then Mengo will always be the best.”

Excerpts from Save Jorge! – Its Sound Elevates the Astral and gives a Sensation of Goal, article published by Daisy Cury de Abreu in the magazine he she, in January 1976, in issue 81.

crazy by nature
“I don't drink and I don't smoke. My high is football and music. Besides the beach, of course. I drink at Christmas and New Years. But a glass of champagne sends me into orbit. I’m crazy like that, by nature.”

Rose, the muse of But, What Nothing!
“When I came to the south, I lived in the Republic of Peru (Copacabana street that ends at the edge of the beach). I had my first guitar class there. Then when I did Because of you girl, they helped me a lot. They called the radios asking for the song. As it was a very large group, I was played on the radio all the time. My first muse also lived there – Rosa – she was always saying “what the hell, boy!”, and inspired me to make the song.”

Better to be happy than to be sad.
“When I'm not happy, I try to stay. It's no use being sad. Because it's only going to get in the way, you know? It's no use. Even though I'm sad inside, I try to be happy. Because sadness will only be negative – and it will not solve anything!”

Sao Paulo, stone jungle,
“It is very difficult to live in São Paulo. Just working really hard. Even the people of São Paulo can't take it anymore. They are leaving downtown, looking for another place in the vicinity to live. Even firms like Phonogram are moving, looking for a secluded, more human place. Where I live is still beautiful. I still hear birds and there's a lot of green. I live in Ibirapuera. In the evening, I hear plane snoring, which I like and is good for me.”

Madureira, land of samba. 
“I was born in the land of samba, which is not Vila Isabel, but Madureira. I was a little boy for Rio Comprido. I remember my childhood well. He was a poor boy, he had no luxury, but he had the love of my parents. I had what they could give me. I played a lot of football, played on the hill, danced at carnival, Thank God, now I'm trying to give back to my parents when I can.”

Opening pages of the report Salve Jorge
Opening pages of the article “Salve Jorge” – Seu Sound Elevates the Astral and gives a Sensation of Goal, published by Daysy Cury de Abreu in the magazine “Ele Ela”, in January 1976. Photo: Reproduction / “Ele Ela” (source : Arquivos Incríveis / João Antônio Buhrer).

The Patricio Teixeira method

“I got my first guitar with my mother's sacrifice. She played the guitar and my father was a samba dancer. When I joined the Army, she gave me the guitar and the method she used as a gift. A very old method, called Patrício Teixeira. And I started alone with that method. As I liked the instrument, it was easy and quick to learn. At that time I thought: how cool for us to sing and accompany each other!”

Joao Gilberto, at ten at night.
“I was also influenced by João Gilberto, my idol. I thought his style of playing the guitar was cool. I used to tell my friends: a very nice guy came along and stuff. And we kept waiting to hear it on the radio. He only played at Tamoio after 10 pm, and we were waiting to enjoy his music.”

Babulina, the origin.
“My older brother, a naval officer, traveled a lot. He once went to the United States. At the time, it was all that excitement for American music, rock and other animals. So he brought me a record that was on the wave, Bob and Lena (as a matter of fact, Bop to Lena, hit by Ronnie Self) and a shirt that had the name of the song. I sang this, hinted that I was 'Babulina' and wore the shirt. So the nickname stuck, in Tijuca and Rio Comprido.”

Jorge altar boy, seminarian and alchemist. 
“When I was a boy, I read some books by my grandfather, who was a Rosicrucian, and I began to admire their way of seeing the world, their perseverance at work. Since I was little, I was connected with Hermetic art, although I didn't quite know what it meant. When I was in Paris, I started researching books on alchemy. I walked around the Latin Quarter looking for esoteric books. There is a very famous bookstore on Boulevard Saint-Gerrmain, Livraria Ariete. You are there and suddenly you find a philosopher, writer or professor at the Sorbonne looking for the same book as you. That's cool. I ended up making friends with the bookseller, and he gave me a lot of tips. In Europe it's easy to get information, isn't it? When I discovered that in Hermetic art there is also music, I wanted to do a musical alchemy. Then came the The Emerald Tablet and now the release the peacock, which is a continuation of Boardrelease the peacock I made it in honor of the peacock. I've always liked this bird, and in hermetic art it represents a discovery, you know? They say that when you release the peacock it is because you have found something wonderful, a treasure.”

Son of Ogun.
“I like to pay tribute through music. George of Cappadocia is to honor Saint George. I am the son of Ogun, São Jorge. In addition to being a saint, he is an idol for me. I think he's very cool. Not only for its history, for the difficult times it has gone through, but also for our friendship. Even in music I treat Jorge very intimately. Like he was there, understand?”

Daysy asks how Jorge wrote The Circus Has Arrived, from the eponymous 1969 album.
“The clown for me is a figure I love. For me he is the great hero of the circus. When I go to a circus, I mostly go to see the clown. I imagined a clown, and he had a sensational, incredible woman who knew everything that happened. She guessed and held all the bars. Always in hers, looking at everything very wisely. I thought: a woman as amazing as Daisy can only have a man who eats laser beams.”

Composing for you is like sneezing, as some argue, asks Daysy?
“Not quite. To compose I feel like something starts hammering in my head. Sometimes a simple thing, a phrase from a friend, a word that sticks in my head and something that starts to create itself. Suddenly I pick up the guitar and the music comes out. My songs always have a story. Things that happened to me, that I witnessed or experienced. A simple thing can inspire me. I just can't make commissioned music. Then it doesn't come out. First of all, I have to feel. It's not like a test you study to get everything right. I feel and arrange it all the best way I can interpret it. I have my style and I'm used to it. When I'm composing I know my rhythm and melodic line. I have something on my mind. I want to make universal music. Everyone will enjoy and understand. Normally, I like all my songs. But my favorite is But, what nothing!"

What do you think of today's more relaxed women, speaking slang, working, asks the reporter?
“But this is from the time. It is modernism today. I agree with them. Heck, you can't cut the wave. We are almost into the XNUMXst century, and everyone is changing or becoming aware of the change. Today's women are very different from my childhood days. For me, a woman can do anything. But she has one thing, it has to be feminine.”

Daysy asks what Jorge hears at home. Ray Charles, James Brown and Stevie Wonder, the answer.
Drip-fire: to close the conversation, the reporter asks for verdicts on some co-workers.
Gilberto Gil?: Wonderful, a guy I would like to be!
Milton (Birth)?: You are about to find a treasure.
Caetano Veloso)?: It's tenderness!
Gal (Coast)?: I wish you were my girlfriend.

Putting the fireworks aside, perhaps because the subject requires further explanation, Daysy asks: “Is Simonal still your friend?”. Jorge Responds succinctly. 
I think Simonal is a very nice guy. He, by the way, was the first singer to believe in me as a songwriter.

Weren't you disappointed in him? He doesn't think he has become a bad character (Daysy details the controversy that, until then, 1976, had not yet been silenced, while Simonal was artistically languishing).
He never disappointed me. Not that he did a thing, well, ugly. I can't find anything ugly in anyone. I like everyone. I have a philosophy of life. A kind of cheap philosophy, but with a sense of humor that I think is very cool: 'Jacaré has to be a rogue, because when he's not a rogue, he becomes a madam's purse'. Do you know what it means? Don't mess with other people's lives if you don't want others to mess with your life. And that's how I follow it.”

Sad note, which appears at the bottom of the article: “Message for Jorge: after so much work and having such a nice interview, a zebra happened. The tape recorder broke and only recorded half of one side. It was very unlucky, but it will be nothing. I'm going to hell! A kiss,” says Daysy.

Voa Voa Jorge, Jorge Voa – the alchemist has returned. report by Ruy Fabiano for the Music Journal, published in January 1978

Country music, chorinho, samba and Black Rio,
“Sometimes, I'm alone in my apartment in São Paulo and I turn on the radio at dawn to listen to those redneck duos. I think their transaction is incredible. Chorinho, which is now fashionable, I've been listening to since I was little, because my father is an old serenader. I'm from Salgueiro, and my connection with samba is also old. None of that stopped me from being interested in rock and the different rhythms that went in and out of fashion. I have always participated in suburban dances and parties, those things that nowadays they have decided to label Black Rio.”

Escape from the Vietnam War. 
“My first international experience was in 1965, when Itamaraty sent some musicians, including Sergio Mendes, on a cultural mission to the United States. I was included and won a scholarship to study music. I didn't take the course because I didn't speak English. I didn't do much there, because I stayed for a short time. It's just that to work there it was necessary to acquire a Green Card, and I ended up having to enlist in the US Army. I did it out of sheer formality, to get work, only I got drafted to go to Vietnam and had to hurry back.”

Visiting the Midem festival in Paris
“When I went on stage and saw those very serious, starched people, I thought 'what do I do now?' my luck is that But, what nothing! it was a success with Sergio Mendes and everyone knew about it. It was enough for me to start singing to feel that everyone was into mine. I was granted a double, and from then on, job offers began to pour in”.

Again, the disappointment with Africa-Brazil (and also with release the peacock) and the departure for Som Livre.
“My latest LPs – release the peacock e Africa Brazil – did not come out with the technical quality I expected. The last one, then, was too much. I took great care with the recordings, knowing the limitations of the Hawaii studio, where the record was made. I wanted to participate in the mixing and had already submitted suggestions for the cover. Well, when I arrived from a trip, I found the record ready, badly mixed, with a cover that had nothing to do with what I wanted. But all this is the least. The most serious thing is that, under the Phonogram contract, I cannot re-record any of my songs within 10 years, counted from the moment I left the company. I mean, the song is mine, but I can't sing. If I want to re-record Tropical country ou But, what nothing!I'll have to wait until 1987. So, I went to Som Livre, who presented me with a very interesting proposal: a contract for a record, without any requirements, which can be renewed, if there are no problems.”

The reverence of the Japanese public
“One amazing thing is the Japanese audience. Their musicality is impressive. And they clap their hands along with the samba without crossing the rhythm at any time. There, everything I sang worked. Since Flamengo Anthem to Cidade Maravilhosa. "

Jorge reiterates his attraction to alchemy as an ancient thing, awakened since the remote times when he studied in a college of priests and became a seminarian.
“One thing that always fascinated me was the stained glass windows of the church. Once, reading about it, I found references to the alchemists. I was curious, and having what I found on the subject – some old books by my grandfather, who was a Rosicrucian – I read with interest. I even got to talk to some French Hermetic philosophers, but I didn't join any sect. There's a lot more I'd like to know, because alchemy has a lot to do with music. For example, every alchemist – and they were usually men of some means – would hire a minstrel to memorize their formulas. When memory failed, the troubadour would sing the formula and resolve the situation. My interest in the subject, though great, is exclusively amateur.

Excerpts from the report Jorge Ben was a Success in New York, uncredited, published in the April 1979 issue of the magazine Music.

Studio 54 vs Xenon
“I gave a great show in a discocheque. It was a party. But it wasn't at Studio 54, as everyone is talking about, it was at Xenon, 54's rival. I was invited to this party because Ricardo Amaral made an agreement with Xenon to take people there and to bring people from there to Hippopotamus. And the first guy he invited was me. I was happy because for the first time I was performing in New York and in a highly regarded house like Xenon. The reception was great. Discocheque full. Right at the beginning, people were dancing and the announcer introduced me in that way of theirs 'ladies and gentlemen…'. People stopped dancing and came closer to watch. In the third song no one resisted, everyone fell into the dance until the end of the show. It was 54 hour and 1 of pauleira, I sang everything, and all the songs in Portuguese. I sang Tropical countryZé Pretinho's BandBut, what nothing!it rains rainWonder Wire etc. From New York I went to Los Angeles because I was invited to meet the record company AM Record – which was Chaplin's film studio. In the future I should go back there to make a record on this label. It's all settled now.”

New York Effervescence
“New York has everything. It's an eclectic place. There are many bars with live music. In a little bar there's only jazz, in another rock, in another blues. There is also funk – music more for the black side. It's another rhythm for dancing. Funk should be the music of the future. Multinationals are already planning their entry into the market for two years from now – time that record companies predict that discotchèque will remain a fad.”

The bias inherent in the movements
“I've been through several movements, in Bossa Nova there was a certain prejudice against me, people thought I wasn't very Bossa Nova and I felt very trapped myself. It was a business I couldn't keep up with very well. One day I was invited by Roberto Carlos to sing at Young guard. The program was on Sunday. On Monday, when I went to perform at the Bossa Fino, a program in which I participated every week, I was barred because I had gone to Roberto's program. Check it out, and that was because they were from the same station (a Record TV). Then the Bahians came to me, through the businessman Guilherme Araújo, inviting me to be part of a new movement that would emerge, Tropicalismo. 'Your music will fit right into this movement. Tropicália has everything to do with you', said Guilherme. Then I went just to meet, I liked it and decided to stay. It was nice because it was another step forward in my music. All this allowed an opening in my work. If I hadn't gone through the Jovem Guarda I would have been stuck in Bossa Nova. I prefer it as it is today where there are several trends, because this movement business creates a lot of prejudice. Today's opening is valid, insofar as it enriches Brazilian popular music.”

Excerpts from Rod Stewart Plagiarized Jorge Ben, magazine report Music, uncredited, of July 1979 (matter that reflects the plagiarism lawsuit filed against Do You Think I'm Sexy, by Rod Stewart, accused of being a plagiarism of Taj Mahal). 
“Musical coincidence can exist. A person listening to a lot of things, not current, is already difficult. If you're used to listening to a lot of old music, from ten or 20 years ago, then it might happen. And there's danger in every way, in the middle of the song and even in the chorus. Taj Mahal it was in the chorus, which is stronger. I see it as the composer himself said it was: a 'musical coincidence'. But then he changed his mind, he said that the song was not his authorship, but his drummer's (in the process, Rod gave this explanation), including donating the rights to Unicef. Now, if I were to have made music similar to that of a foreign composer, or even any other Brazilian composer who did that, I would be immediately demoralized. Our people would work out and repudiate. Thank God we didn't do that, nor any other composer of expression, otherwise it would be the end of his career. Folklore music, public domain, we can record and name it. It's the first time this has happened to me. I'm not very upset. Really, Taj Mahal it's the kind of music everyone is wanting to make. She's five years old now and I've always had faith in her. It is (because of the controversy) being successful again.”

Gilberto Gil, in defense of Jorge, says in the same report:
“Any Brazilian worker, mounted on a scaffold, working, whistles and accompanies Jorge Ben's chorus, being able to even comment: 'Well, I would do that myself, without being a musician'. And it would even be true, because it's one thing… A very Brazilian song. Well beans and rice. But not Rod Stewart! He wouldn't, and he didn't."


Read too, in full, interview by Jorge Ben Jor published in 2009 by journalist Pedro Alexandre Sanches in the magazine trip

See part of the MPB Especial Jorge Ben, an attraction on TV Cultura, directed by Fernando Faro, which aired in 1972.

1 comment

  1. I just discovered this page and I want to thank you. Jorge Ben (not Ben Jor) is one of my biggest idols and it's almost impossible to find something that contains interviews with him…

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