The music of Seu Jorge occupies a singular place in today's Brazil. His songs are widely hailed as a return to the traditional songwriting of Tom Jobim and Caetano Veloso. But his style, and his background, lead many to call Jorge a hero of life on Rio's streets. It was his history in the slums of Rio de Janeiro that led to bigger things for Jorge, including a high-profile appearance in the 2002 film City of God.
In America, many listeners were first exposed to Jorge's music in The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, the Wes Anderson film that featured Jorge as a guitar-playing member of a sea expedition crew. He appeared between narrative sequences, playing intimate versions of David Bowie classics.
Jorge released Cru, a calmer follow-up to his album Carolina, in 2002. The songs on it mix ballads and bossa nova while helping cement Seu Jorge's place in the line of great Brazilian songwriters and performers. Hear a few recorded songs from Cru in this session for World Cafe.
This story and session were first published on Dec. 6, 2005.