Born in 1936 in Irará, Brazil; lives in São Paulo.
Studied Music in Salvador da Bahia, among others with Hans-Joachim Koellreutter, who confronted him with the work of German-language avant- gardists (Schönberg, Bill, Stockhausen, etc.) and encouraged him to explore the traditional music of his home country. Together with Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa and others, he founded the Tropicália movement in the mid-1960s, which counterposed the aesthetically elegant musical revolution of Bossa Nova, the eruption of the “Beat Generation”, who provoked conflict with the Brazilian military dictatorship with its disrespectful desire for freedom.
Tom Zè has the New York-based David Byrne from Talking Heads to thank for his artistic “rebirth”, as it was the pop avant-gardist who rediscovered Tom Zè in 1989 and who sells his work worldwide via his label “Luaka Bop”. This was followed by glowing reviews by critics in the USA and Europe, international tours and cooperations, a presentation in the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the award-winning dance theater music for the “Companie Grupo Corpo”.