SERGIO MENDES & FRIENDS: A CELEBRATION, a joyfully tuneful salute to the pioneering Brazilian musical artist – producer, composer, keyboardist, vocalist – and Oscar-nominated songwriter will make its world premiere as part of special programming on PBS stations in June 2021. This program, presented by WNED PBS, was created especially for PBS and is derived from the forthcoming feature documentary Sergio Mendes: In The Key Of Joy by acclaimed filmmaker John Scheinfeld (The U.S. vs John Lennon, Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary, and The Happy Days of Garry Marshall). The deal was negotiated by WNED PBS and the film’s distributor Brainstorm Media.
Mendes, a singular artist who remains as vital and relevant today as when he exploded on the scene in the 1960s with his group, Brasil ’66, played a huge role in popularizing Brazilian music around the world, and at the same time created his own genre by fusing Brazilian music with American pop. He continued to produce hits, decade after decade, staying current and relevant while staying true to his unique sound.
One of the most internationally successful Brazilian artists of all time, Mendes is a three-time Grammy Award winner with some 35 albums, including many gold or platinum, including the critically acclaimed Timeless, produced by will.i.am. Hit singles include Mas Que Nada, The Look of Love, Scarborough Fair, Night and Day, Never Gonna Let You Go and his unforgettable rendition of Fool on the Hill. In 2012, Sergio’s Real in Rio from the animated film “Rio” was nominated for an Academy Award® as Best Original Song.
SERGIO MENDES & FRIENDS: A CELEBRATION features the singer telling much of his story in his own words. He is joined onscreen by such friends and collaborators as Herb Alpert, Common, Lani Hall (lead singer of Brasil ’66), Quincy Jones, John Legend, Gracinha Mendes (Sergio’s lead singer since 1971 and his wife of 46 years), Jerry Moss, Carlos Saldhana (Oscar®-nominated filmmaker of Rio) and singer/songwriter/producer will.i.am. These friends offer unique perspectives on the man and his music, with plenty of the latter, including recordings and performances from nearly every phase of Sergio’s career.
“I am really looking forward to sharing my life and musical journey through the decades from Brasil ’66 through present day with PBS viewers across the nation,” says Mendes. “I hope viewers will have a joyful and uplifting experience.”
“Sergio’s warmth, humor and appreciation of life through all the senses made me feel a strong connection with him and I want others to feel the same way,” says director Scheinfeld. “His life is an exceptional blend of encounters, spontaneity and serendipity and makes him an irresistible subject for a film.”