Circo Voador is a club/consert space right in the middle of Rio’s bohemian party district Lapa. The place is a big half-open round tent with a proper stage and a steady big sound system. Around it there’s a open-air space and all together you can fit some 3000 people there. It’s sponsored by prefeitura (the city of Rio) and offers varied program of arts, events and of course gigs, ranging from Caetano Veloso, to brazilian hc-punk. Once a month they organize a I Love Baile Funk party with a massive line-up of the most popular baile funk artists.
However November was a special case as they had a special party with melodic Miami Bass star Stevie B from the U.S. I had agreed with the producer of the event, Soca, that I could film there with my partner Taneli Bruun. (we were doing to do a 3 min insert about baile funk for a youth program in finnish television)
We arrived early, around midnight to put ready our filming equipment. Furacão 2000 Djs were still warming upp and most of the people drinking cheaper beer and caipirinhas outside on the street as people tend to do in Lapa. The party really started going only after one o’clock and people started flocking in despite of the light, occasional rain showers.
First was up Korell, with his mullet, play-back songs and old school hip-hop dancers. Two songs and Stevie B was released on stage. He was slick and seemed to very well know he has a reputation in Brazil. The dancers kept doing their moves straight out of ’87. It was all pretty absurd, flash back to eighties, but people seemed to enjoy it. At least judging by people singing with smiles on their faces the last song, his biggest hit, Spring Love, a sweet, melodic Miami boomer.
I enjoyed it also, but on a kind of ironic level, as he clearly had seen his best days... In the end he invited some girls dance on the stage and there was a tv-group filming it and it was all so totally brazilian.
But what was really impressing that night, was the group of 4 young guys, Os Ousados. They had an energic live show: The boys looked like basket ball players and were driving the girls in the audience crazy popping their asses and doing some pretty erotic choreograpies. We did a little interview with them after the show and got a promo cd of them and Gaiola das Popozudas. As I learned later on the bailes, they were one of the biggest newcomers of the year with their hit songs ”Arrasta Ela”, ”Pega o Sabãozinho” and ”Passinho do Basquete”.
The next tuesday, a day before a national holiday, there was the regular I Love Baile Funk party with bigger attractions. It was Mr. Catra’s night and he had invited a nice cavalcade of artists including Cidinho & Doca, Mc Galo, Mc Duda do Borel, Biruleybe etc.
We were there filming again and we were doing some interviews and left early so I only saw a couple of the artists, but who realy teared the stage with his energy was Duda do Borel. That’s why he also features in a main role on our tv-insert.
Duda is a huge, playful man, reminded me of Biz Markie because of his size and character. He was really taking his singing to another extent with grouwling, shouting, moaning and barking. He was constantly moving around the stage bouncing and he really got the crowd going. It seemed like everybody knew the lyrics and were singing along.
When performing live, most of the artist don’t do full length sets, but only kind of hit pout-pourris of 15 or 20 minutes. But Duda alongside Dj Sandrinho, who was really punishing his MPC on the stage, did about 30 minutes, which is quite much on baile funk standards.
We talked with Duda after the show and he said he feels like one of the funk veterans in Rio since he is already 31-years old. ”When I started at the age of 16, it was a whole lot more difficult to break though. Nowadays baile funk is more accepted, everybody loves us and the media is crazy about us. I’ve even been to France singing baile funk.” he explained. ”Thank god there are places like Circo Voador where the favelas can meet the middle class and get their voice heard peacefully. This has really been an important place for the funkeiros, opening doors to wider public among those who don’t go to favela bailes.” he went on praising Circo Voador. ”It’s two years since I’ve put out a new song, but still the audience loves me, they always welcome me with open arms. And I’m really happy to sing with the old guard, as I nowadays fell being one myself. Catra is like a brother to me; when I was not doing so well, just lying on my bed without any hope, he was the one who came and said you have to go on singing, you have fans out there.” Then Duda went on explaining the essence of baile funk: ”Funk has a story to tell, a story of the favelas. Funk is culture, you know, there’s no violence to it. An mc is an mc and a criminal is a criminal, as simple as that.”
Also Soca, the producer told me before the show that Circo Voador is one of the bridges between favelas and the wider audience: ”The baile in a cominidade (a favela community) and baile in a club are totally different things. In favela people are more at ease and enjoy more dancing. But thay don’t have proper stages for the artists to perform. Here we try to bring out the best of both worlds as we also deal out loads of free tickets for the funkeiros in the favelas, who couldn’t afford these parties otherwise. So the baile won’t become too middle class.”
One of the stragest acts and the last one I saw before we headed home, was Biruleybe. He’s an old bearded geezer who always when singing tries to imitate swiss jodling, making it sound pretty horrible to my ears. He was doing his show with two female dancers and the drunken in front were going crazy pulling their tongues out imitating licking and taking photos of the womens pussys and asses with their mobile phone cameras. Pretty absurd scene...
And how about the tv-insert we made? Well you can check out the clip here.