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ED GORDON, host:

And now NPR's Farai Chideya talks with a Brazilian musician who's making big waves in America.

FARAI CHIDEYA reporting:

It's the beginning of fall here in the United States, but in Brazil, spring has just started. It's the kind of weather you can almost hear in the fresh breezy sound of Rio de Janeiro's Seu Jorge.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. SEU JORGE: (Singing) Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh-ahh-ahh. Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ahh-ahh...

CHIDEYA: Jorge's new CD is called "Cru," or `raw' in Portuguese. The word doesn't just describe the album's no-frills production style. It refers to the stark slums where Jorge grew up, a setting he revisited when he played Knockout Ned in the film "City of God." Jorge returned to the big screen last year, singing Brazilianized David Bowie tunes in "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou."

(Soundbite of "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou")

Mr. JORGE: (As Pele dos Santos; singing in foreign language)

CHIDEYA: Jorge is touring the US right now. I'd like to welcome you and your interpreter.

Mr. JORGE: (Through Translator) Thank you.

CHIDEYA: So let me ask a little bit about where the music in your life comes from. What was it like being a child in the Favelas? What was it like listening to the sounds around you? And what made you want to make music yourself?

Mr. JORGE: (Through Translator) Even though he was raised in a very poor community, he had a wonderful father and mother. And they were my primary inspiration to invest into my dreams. First of all, I felt like I needed to do something for them.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. JORGE: (Singing in foreign language)

(Through Translator) And this is not about money but about pride. I wanted to make them feel proud for what I have accomplished in my life. And music was one of the outlets that I found to make these dreams come true.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. JORGE: (Singing in foreign language)

CHIDEYA: Let me ask you a little bit more about growing up. We understand that your brother was murdered when you were growing up. What kind of feelings do you have when you go home now, knowing that the place that you grew up obviously you have such love for but also there was some pain in your life associated with it.

Mr. JORGE: (Through Translator) This is something that was very difficult in my life, but now to go back to where I used to live and meet the people that I knew at that time, it's very important for me now, as it was then, because the people over there, the reverence that they have towards me is of a guy that has always worked very hard to find not just the place of my own within the society but equality within the larger picture.

CHIDEYA: Let me ask you about something that's been happening here in the United States, the Hurricane Katrina. Many people around the world have seen the devastation and the black faces of people who survived Katrina. Did it surprise you or was this something that you expected from the United States?

Mr. JORGE: (Through Translator) Nobody expected this from the United States. Everybody on the planet knows exactly what happened. And if the United States, the superpower in the world that it is, cannot do something for these people, nobody can. It looks like United States took care primarily of the white and the rich and abandoned the poor and the black. And this something that--it's not acceptable. This should not have happened in this country.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. JORGE: (Singing in foreign language)

(Through Translator) I do not have a specific favorite song, but I have a special place for the song "Una Mujer," which was written by Robertio Gotee(ph) and it was written for my daughter, who's called Flo.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. JORGE: (Singing in foreign language)

(Through Translator) I have two daughters. I am extremely in love with my children. I think it's a great gift from God. And every time I come home, I have these beautiful two smiles facing me when I come home.

My main focus is taking care of my family. The rest is work. If I have film, theater, music opportunities to pursue, I'll go after them. If not, I'll wash some cars. I'll do whatever it takes.

CHIDEYA: Rio de Janeiro's Seu Jorge. His new album is called "Cru." Thank you very much.

Mr. JORGE: (Through Translator) Thank you. Thank you very much for this fantastic interview.

CHIDEYA: Farai Chideya, NPR News.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. JORGE: (Singing in foreign language)

GORDON: There's more from Seu Jorge's new album, "Cru," on our Web site at npr.org.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. JORGE: (Singing in foreign language)

GORDON: Thanks for joining us. That's our program for today. To listen to the show, visit npr.org. If you'd like to comment, log on to npr.org and click on `contact us' or give us a call at (202) 408-3330. NEWS & NOTES was created by NPR News and the African-American Public Radio Consortium.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. JORGE: (Singing in foreign language)

GORDON: I'm Ed Gordon. This is NEWS & NOTES.

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