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Nascimento, Milton (26th October 1942-Present)

He is a singer-songwriter and guitarist born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to Maria Nascimento who was a maid to the Campos family where Lilia Silvo Campos was a choral singer and taught music.  His mother Maria died when he was only 18 months old, he and the Campos family adopted him and moved cities to Tres Pontas.

He began his interest in playing music from at least when he was two years old when he used to play around on his grandparents’ piano.  Before long he was given his first musical instrument which was a two bass accordion. He was later given a harmonica and four bass accordion and also began singing. He received his first guitar in 1955 when he was thirteen and within a year or so he started the band Luar de Prata with his friend Wagner Tiso.  The duo became Milton Nascimento e seu Conjunto and then they added some musician friends and called themselves W’s Boys. They were beginning to get noticed and then in 1960 worked on the album Barulhode Trem with the group Conjunto Holliday.

He worked as a DJ on a few occasions and in the early 1960s he performed as a member of the groups Sambacana and Evolussamba and moved to Belo Horizonte where he played with the theband Celio Balona.  Performing on the double bass, he started the Berimbau Trio with Wagner Tiso and Paulinho Braga.  It was around this time he wrote his first song and his “E a GenteVai Sonhando” was recorded by the Tempo Trio in 1966.

While in Belo Horizonte he met up with Lo Borges and got involved with a group of musicians and composers known as the Clube de Esquina.  Thanks to this work with the group he performed on television in 1966 and performed on the album Clube de Esquina and several single releases which became hits for them.

After having gotten his name recognised and becoming nationally renowned during the latter half of the 1960s and early 1970s he had already released several of his own albums.  He then performed on the album Native Dancer by Wayne Shorter in 1974 which brought him his first taste of international success.  This, and his falsetto voice, gained him the attention of many top musical artists and groups and before long he was performing with them on stage and in many recordings.

In 1984 his song “Coaracao de Estudante” was used during the social political campaign of the Diretas Ja and later used at the funerals of Tancredo Neves and Ayrton Senna.  His many other songs that have brought him acclaim are “Bailies da Vida”, “Cancao da America”, “Maria, Maria” and “Travessia”.

Also in 1984 he gave his debut performance at Carnegie Hall and was honoured by being made a Knight of the Order of Arts, Science and Literature by the Brazilian President.  In 1988 he gave his first performance in Japan and a fan club was started for him in Tokyo.

In the 1990s he continued to be busy and he collaborated with the group Duran Duran on their self-titled 1993 album when he co-wrote “Breath After Breath” and joined them on stage when they were promoting the album in Brazil.  Later in the 1990s he was involved in charity work for AIDS when he gave the song “Dancing” for use on the benefit album Red Hot + Rio.  He also won the Grammy Award for Best World Music Album for his album Nascimento.

When the new millennium came around he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Universidade Federal de Ouro Predo and worked on “Late Redemption” on Temple of Shadowsby the Brazilian band Angra.  He has also recently been working in collaboration with Jason Mrz.

During the course of his career he has performed with and/or had his compositions performed by countless singers, musicians and groups that include Badi Assad, Dave Brubeck, Ron Carter, George Duke, Percy Faith, Peter Gabriel, Herbie Hancock, Quincy Jones, Del Kacher Hubert Laws, Herbie Mann, Pat Metheny, Paul Simon, Cat Stevens, Sting, James Taylor, Stanley Turrentine amongst many others.

His album output is extensive and spans over four decades from 1967.  Just a few of these include Milton Nascimento and Courage from the 1960s, Milagra dos Peixes, Minas, Journey to Dawn and Geraes from the 1970s, Sentinela, Anima, Ao Vivo, A Barca dos Amantes and Miltonsfrom the 1980s, Txai, Noticias do Brasil, Angelus, Amigo and Crooner from the 1990s and Oratorio, Pieta, Music for Sunday Lovers and Novas Bossas in the 2000s.

His work on the albums of other artists as a musician and/or composer can be found on I Feel You by Herb Alpert, Deseo by Jon Anderson, Caribbean Guitar by Chet Atkins, Sound of Velvetby Tony Bennett, All ‘n’ All by Earth, Wind & Fire, Life at Montmartre, Vol. 1 by Stan Getz, Now by Astrud Gilberto, Jobim Sinfonico by Antonio Carlos Jobim, Brasil by The Manhattan Transfer, Crystal Illusions by Sergio Mendes, Out of the Shadows by The Shadows, Rhythm of the Saints by Paul Simon and I Love Brazil by Sarah Vaughan along with countless soundtracks and compilations and albums by many successful Latin American artists such as Gilberto Gil, Flora Purim, Simone and Mercedes Sosa.