The King of Baião: 100 years of birth of Luiz Gonzaga

Entry type: Single project

Country/area: Brazil

Publishing organisation: Nexo Jornal

Organisation size: Small

Publication date: 2022-12-13

Language: Portuguese

Authors: César Gaglioni, journalist
Caroline Souza, infographic designer
Gabriel Zanlorenssi, data scientist and graphics editor
Larissa Redivo, web development intern
Mariana Froner, infographic designer
Nicholas Pretto, data science assistant


Caroline Souza is a visual journalist and designer with a bachelor degree in Geography, at University of São Paulo USP, and Columbia’s Lede Progam Alumni.

Cesar Gaglioni is a journalist and writer, working at Nexo Jornal.

Gabriel Zanlorenssi is Data Editor at Nexo Jornal. He is master in Political Science.

Mariana Froner is an information designer and illustrator with a bachelor degree in Architecture.

Larissa Redivo is a web developer and Computer Systems Analysis student at University of Vale do Itajaí.

Nicholas Pretto is a data journalist and data science assistant with a bachelor degree in Architecture, at USP.

Project description:

Luiz Gonzaga was a composer, singer and accordion player born in the arid interior of Pernambuco, northeastern Brazil. He is considered one of the most important artists of Brazilian popular music and became known as “the King of Baião”, a typical rhythm of the Brazilian Northeast that became nationally known through his songs.

The material addresses his career and personal life arranged on a timeline, combining short texts with illustrations, maps, data visualizations about his discography and interactive features that allow the readers to listen to some of his songs.

Impact reached:

The project is a visual biography and a source of information about Luiz Gonzaga’s musical work, for a broad audience.

The illustrations and visual resources made the material more appealing and dynamic for readers, who were able to explore the artist’s work in a unique way, through data visualization.

The material was published on the day that Luiz Gonzaga completed 110 years of birth as a way of celebrating his legacy, and also had a good reception among our readers.

Techniques/technologies used:

R was used for data analysis and initial charts. Data used was mainly web scrapped from the original sources, using ‘httr’, and wrangled and analyzed using ‘tidyverse’ packages. The word cloud were made using ‘word cloud’ package.

Adobe Illustrator was used for illustrations, maps, charts and layout.

Javascript and CSS were used for animations and interactive parts. The accordion and radio were animated using a CSS element named CSS Animation. We used JavaScript to play the songs based on user interaction.

Context about the project:

Luiz Gonzaga was one of the most significant cultural figures of the 20th century in Brazil.

The Northeast region of the country was the main subject of Luiz Gonzaga’s career of this former military who came in contact with different Brazilian rhythms while in the Army. The spread of his songs occurred during the ‘golden age’ of radio in the country, helping to build the identity of Brazil.

His musics are well known all over the country. ‘Asa Branca’, his masterpiece, is still played in radios, more than 60 years after its release, and up to 2021 has already been covered 316 times.

What can other journalists learn from this project?

It is a good example of the possibilities of combining visual assets to a biography and the use of data visualization and illustrations to highlight a cultural subject. Also, it was an interdisciplinary work done between journalists, data scientists, designers and developers.

Project links: