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WIRED Concert and CD: A Study in Collaboration

Glenn Otis Brown, September 28th, 2004

My favorite part of the WIRED concert last week were the two songs Gilberto Gil and David Byrne performed together.

The first was called “Asa Branca,” a 1947 song penned by Luiz Gonzaga and Humberto Teixeira and based on a traditional Brazilian tune. Gil and Bryne traded verses in Portuguese and English as their percussionists rumbled like a mad river behind them.

The second was a Brazilian arrangement of Cole Porter’s commons-minded cowboy song, “Don’t Fence Me In”:


Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above,

Don’t fence me in.

Let me ride through the wide open country that I love,

Don’t fence me in.

gil-byrne

Photo by Yoon Son.

Both songs had the 1500-person crowd dancing, thanks to the tasty rhythms, yes, but also to the gesture: Musical superstars from North and South, jamming together, building earlier works into new creations, in real time. Lawyers on the sidelines and in the audience, where they belong. The big Creative Commons logo smiling overhead.

To me the two songs stand for the entire WIRED concert and its forthcoming CD. It has all been an exercise in joint authorship, a study in collaboration. Here’s a grossly oversimplified list of players (there are too many to list here):

The best part: the main collaboration is yet to come. That’s between you and the artists. Come October 26, you can jam with Gil and Byrne, and many more.

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