Is portuguese THE new language to learn for the clubbers?

There was an interesting blog entry on The Guardian's Music blog by Danny McFadden. He states that by the rise of baile funk and kuduro on the dancefloor of western world, portuguese is becoming one of the dominant languages of electronic music.

I myself think it's a pity that most of the people who dig baile funk can't understand the lyrics, because that prevents it to fully boom on the western market. The lyrics are often funny and full of double meanings and without understanding what the artists are saying, the beats and the rhythm can be a bit repetetive after a while. Like, what's the point on listening to hip-hop if you can't really understand what the MC is rapping about. Of course you can dance to it, but for you to really get envolved and follow the scene, it would be crucial to understand all the tendencies that the lyrics hold inside. In baile funk for example there are various songs that have given birth to response songs and a lot of jokes that open only to the ones following the scene. (though don't worry; not even all the portuguese speakers understand the baile funk lyrics, since they're so loaded with street slang...)

Danny McFadden is starting with an "obrigado", but how about you, my readers? How many of you are irritated of not being able to understand baile funk lyrics and trying to learn some portuguese?

(for you to start with there a baile funk dictionary on my blog)


Seleção do Gringo on Beat Diaspora blog

I came across this Beat Diaspora blog by Greg Scruggs and found out that he’s just put together a nice baile funk mix called Seleção do Gringo (you can download it from Blogariddims). It’s a nice journey through time from old shool funk antigo to some tamborzão and proibidão tunes and going off to pós-baile-funk beats. But the best thing about it is that in his blog he opens each track and tells about it: the artists, tracks, and other things connected (such as the favela communities). It’s a really nice read-through while listening and plenty of useful and interesting information for those not directly connected in the Rio baile funk scene.

Greg has volunteered at an NGO called Instituto Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers Foundation) that’s based in the favela of Rocinha. He also highlights other favela based NGO’s like Nós do Morro. (At some point I’m gonna feature some of these organizations on my blog too: even though they’re not directly linked to baile funk, they do fabulous work there! Nós de Morro, Afroreggae and Dois Irmãos: Keep it up!)

He also brings out an interesting study about proibidão baile funk style. It’s written by Paul Sneed and called "Machine Gun Voices". But I’ll comment more on this after I’ve read it.

He also writes about Flamin Hotz, a record label that put out a bootleg 12” without any credits:
”The version of this song I got on relatively high-quality mp3 ripped from the Sou Funk EP, which I later discovered was 100% pirated, a pretty rough culture-vulture case. Fortunately, Flamin Hotz Records turned out not to be such bad guys, and I helped them track down which artists we could and pay them back. Júnior and Leonardo were one of them.”

Now this is an interesting case, as the guys from Flamin Hotz have publicly apologised for their bootleg actions on their website and aim to compensate the artists afterwords. They’re also planning on releasing another compilation directly with the artists. I hope this kind of responsibility is honest and leads to some good results. Anyway I’d like to hear more of this one!

But on the other hand Greg also makes some quite bold accusations:

Accusing Diplo of ”failing to credit artists” on his mixes I can understand; crediting the right artists is the only way they will ever get even some change to compensation by gaining some reputation. But as Greg and anyone who has bought CDs from the Uruguiana market or the streets of Rio knows, sometimes artist names and track titles are hard to find. And if I’d be Greg (having himself also has some unknown artists on his tracklist), I wouldn’t be so eager to judge others.

Accusing Bonde do Role as ”a cheap ripoff” and ”jokers from Curitiba” is another thing I don’t quite understand... I don’t see baile funk as a musical genre having some musical dogma or boundaries. So adding rock guitars to baile funk in De Falla style, in my opinion, isn’t any different then sampling Kratfwerk and indian chants as Sany Pitbull does. I believe Bonde do Role themselves have never claimed being ”authentic” baile funk, just having baile funk as one of their infuencies...

And then accusing Man Recordings of ”questionable contracts”. First I’d like to know how and what does Greg know about the contracts? And then arguments and some justification of how are they ”questionable”. I think it’s a bit low to throw in accusations without prooving anything and standing behind one’s words...

And I’m not trying to act as a judge or anything, I just feel that these kind of things should be argued and talked about properly.

But dispite of these it’s a very interesting blog and a good read. So I recommend to take a peek.


Kuduro vs Baile Funk – An interview of Frédéric Galliano (14.2.2007)

Last spring when I was in Rio I met there also a french producer called who is one of the world’s leading kuduro connoisseurs. He was in Rio on a project attempting to put together kuduro beats with baile funk MCs. We met at his rental appartment where he had set up his mobile recording studio. Right after me MC Xana was coming over to sing on top of one of Galliano’s kuduro rhythyms.

At this point some of you might ask what is kuduro. Well, to put it short kuduro is hyped up ghetto techno and house out of Angola; a mixture of electronic beats with traditional angolan carnaval music. By the name of kuduro goes also the crazy, freaky dancing style that combines with the music. Something of the music and the dance might tell the direct translation of the word kuduro that is ”tight ass”.

That’s about all I knew about it by that time, so that’s why I wanted Frédéric himself to explain more about the origins of kuduro:

”Kuduro was created by Tony Amado 1996. He used to listen house music. During that time songs like Reel 2 Real: I Like To Move It were international hits and he thought that it’s good but it lacks angolan flavour. So he wanted to do and angolan version of these. So kept the straight kick drum and all around the kick he produced traditional carnaval rhythms. It was an instant success. He called the style kuduro because he had created a dance style inspired by a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie, in which he dances all stiff and with a tight ass. (Amado thought the Van Damme dance was really funny; white man's dance...)”

On this clip Tony Amado explains it himself (in portuguese) and you can see the Van Damme dance.
The creation of Kuduro by Tony Amado

”The dance is special; broken, stupid, funny; they fall on the floor, bounce to walls. It’s acrobatic and more like clownery. Everything is possible in kuduro dance.” As it def is better seen then described I searched some kuduro madness on video for you to check out:

After Tony Amado all the DJs in Luanda copied the style and 10 years after it’s really popular in Angola and spreading around the world. But still kuduro doens’t get really much airplay in the radio in Angola, because the lyrics are so harsh; some sexual slackness some social and political. But it gets played in the popular mini taxis of Luanda, so everybody hears the new songs anyway.”

”When I heard it for the first time two years ago Kuduro hit me right away: For me kuduro is the first and only original electronic music from Africa. It’s fast as techno, but groovy as zouk. The mixture is incredible and completely african. It’s contemporary like european electronic music scene, but with 100% african style and attitude.” Since then he’s been to Angola to learn and record kuduro three times. And went again in March 2007.

”The composition of kuduro is really strict. It comes from the traditional carnaval music of Angola and all the snares and hi-hat hits have to be on a certain place.”

Frédéric learned to produce kuduro with DJ Kito da Machina from Luanda. ”After two weeks of everyday practice with him to learn the rhythm and the composition he said that now you’re qualified to do it alone. But I still send my batidas to him to Luanda to be approved, because the DJs in Luanda are the ones who created the whole music. And you know if someone does kuduro without the strict composition, they say it’s a ”kuduro de branco” (=white man’s kuduro). Some people in Portugal do kuduro, but with europan vision, and that’s stupid, because angolan kuduro is stronger, more original. They miss the real nature of kuduro and that’s very unfortunate.”

It was also with Kito da Machina that he produced the exellent album Frédéric Galliano presents Kuduro Sound System, where many of the hottest kuduro MCs like Tony Amado, Dog Murras, Pai Diesel, Zoca Zoca, Pinta Tirrù and Gata Agressiva lay their vocals on top of their booming kuduro batidas. In the future he’s producing a dub version album of Kuduro Sound System, and he’s also touring live with different kuduro MCs and dancers: Paris, Mexico, USA, Portugal, Roskilde Festival... the list goes on.

8.11, next thursday, he’s gonna be performing with his Kuduro Sound System at Cargo in London, UK. Also DJ Marlboro is there. And so am I, so come and holla if you’re around.