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'Cru': Brazil in the Raw with Seu Jorge

Musician and actor Seu Jorge's songs are much like his native Rio de Janeiro: lyrical and soaring at times, but with a hint of hoarse sadness... much like the favelas, or slums, that tower above the marquee beaches that give the city a facade of glamour.

Jorge grew up in those slums, forced from his family home as a child. He survived by cleaning sidewalks. One day a stranger gave him an old guitar, and Jorge taught himself to sing and play.

He later revisited that stark childhood with his performance as Knockout Ned in the acclaimed film City of God. He has an easy, natural gift both as an actor and musician. His enigmatic performance in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, where he played bossa nova cover versions of Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie tunes to his crew mates, was to many critics the emotional heart of the film.

Jorge is currently touring to promote his latest CD, Cru, or "raw" in Portuguese. The word doesn't just describe the CD's no-frills production style -- it also refers to the stark slums where Jorge came from.

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Farai Chideya
Farai Chideya is a multimedia journalist who has worked in print, television, online, and radio. Prior to joining NPR's News & Notes, Chideya hosted Your Call, a daily news and cultural call-in show on San Francisco's KALW 91.7 FM. Chideya has also been a correspondent for ABC News, anchored the prime time program Pure Oxygen on the Oxygen women's channel, and contributed commentaries to CNN, Fox, MSNBC, and BET. She got her start as a researcher and reporter at Newsweek magazine. In 1997 Newsweek named her to its "Century Club" of 100 people to watch.