atching Jorge Ben Jor take the stage, one cannot help but stand on one’s feet and start swaying to the funky rhythms and beats that Brazil is famous for. The music of the samba and funk has been, and still remains, a major influence among musicians around the world. Jorge, for one, is very aware of this movement, as his first-ever composition, mas Que nada, shot to global recognition after being covered and remixed first by, Sergio Mendes and then the cult dance outfit Black Eyed Peas. Even at this juncture of his career, Jorge himself is still driving the movement, working on new projects set for release next year. “I’m currently recording two new albums. One is a remix of an old record, and the other is a compilation of entirely new compositions. I’m also going to be working on a very special project with a heavy metal band, combining the sounds of samba and funk with rock.”

JorGe Ben Jor

WITH A CAreer sPAnnInG ALMosT HALf A CenTury, BrAZILIAn suPersTAr jorGe Ben jor sHoWs no sIGn of sLoWInG DoWn. dEbrina aliyah CAuGHT uP WITH jorGe WHen He WAs DoWn In DoHA To CLose THe HIGHLy suCCessfuL LATIn AMerICAn CuLTurAL fesTIvAL 2011 AT kATArA CuLTurAL vILLAGe.
Although Jorge considers himself a lyrical poet who composes music to accompany the written word, this legendary musician is one of the few performers in the world who transcends language in his musical reach. “It is truly a miracle! To this day, I am still amazed and flattered by how my music has reached such a wide audience and touched their hearts. The turning point in my career was when I travelled and performed at funk and jazz festivals in Europe for the very first time. In spite of the language difference, my music was so well received that it sparked off the beginning of global recognition of my work. Another memorable moment in my career was, of course, when I was invited to play at the Olympia Hall in Paris, one of the most prestigious music venues in Europe.” Jorge’s charismatic performances go beyond his music and words into his sense of style and demeanour. A big fan of fashion, he professes

his love for brands like Calvin Klein and Adidas, which he often wears when he is performing. He also has a penchant for adopting an allwhite look when he is on stage. And of course, who can miss Jorge’s signature sunglasses, which he wears almost all the time on and off stage. At the last count he owned about 87 pairs of sunglasses for different times of the day. For his show at Katara, Jorge donned a pair of his favourite Ray-Ban, a gift from his son. “When I was very young, I was diagnosed with an eye condition which makes them very sensitive to light so I had to wear sunglasses to protect my eyesight. Eventually, it became a trademark when people started to see me in my sunglasses all the time.” Jorge’s closing show for the Latin American Cultural Festival 2011 at Katara Cultural Village marked his first performance in Qatar, and he applauds the effort of the festival in bringing the unique sounds of the continent to this region. “Doha is a very impressive city; the city and the airport are very clean and the people are extremely friendly and welcoming. It has been such a great experience. I really do hope that the festival will take place again next year, and I look forward to being able to play in Doha again.”


November 2011

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