Nov 17, 2013 · 8:00 PM
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Jorge Ben Jor (born March 22, 1942 in Rio de Janeiro) is a Brazilian popular musician. His characteristic style fuses samba, funk, and rock into samba-rock, with lyrics that blend humor and satire with often esoteric subject matter. Born Jorge Duilio Lima Menezes, he initially took the stage name Jorge Ben after his mother's name (of Ethiopian origin) but later changed it to Jorge Ben Jor (commonly written Benjor), allegedly in response to an incident where some of his royalties had accidentally gone to American guitarist George Benson.
Jorge Ben obtained his first pandeiro (Brazil's most popular type of tambourine) when he was thirteen, and two years later, was singing in a church choir. He also took part as a pandeiro player in the blocos of Carnaval, and from eighteen years of age, he began performing at parties and nightclubs with the guitar his mother gave him.
It was at one of those clubs in which he performed that his musical career took off. In 1963, Jorge came on stage and sang "Mas Que Nada" to a small crowd that happened to include an executive from the recording company, Philips. One week later, Jorge Ben's first single was released.
Even if you don't know his name, chances are you're familiar with at least one of his melodies or songs.