Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted on Jun 22nd 2009 12:00PM by Benjy Eisen
But while the spotlight was clearly on him as he lead the non-Parrothead crowd through Parrothead anthems that everybody knew by heart, Buffett really came to Bonnaroo with a purpose: to introduce America's most rabid music fans to Ilo Ferreira, an unknown singer-songwriter from Cape Verde, an island off the coast of West Africa. Buffett and several notable colleagues stumbled upon Ferreira on their way to a music festival in Mali several years ago and have since taken the kid under their wing. Buffett's colleagues, by the way, were Island Record's founder Chris Blackwell (whose previous "discoveries" include Bob Marley and U2), powerhouse producer Bill Flanagan and MTV godfather Tom Freston.
"I had decided to make music my profession and I was just getting started on it and suddenly they stopped by my island," Ferriera tells Spinner. "They put together a jam session where we all played and I played a few songs and they liked it and they brought me here. And, well, that's it."
And so begins Ilo Ferreira's music career. First gig? Bonnaroo. Special guest? Jimmy Buffett. Audience? Tens of thousands strong. Making light of how easy he just made life for Ferriera, following the set Buffett joked to Spinner, "I thought it was better than American Idol."