Other stuff about Rio baile funk in internet, part.1

Even though it’s quite hard to find music or information about baile funk in internet, there is some good stuff available. Here’s some I liked and found useful:


Funk Carioca at Wikipedia
As most of the times Wikipedia offers good accurate information and a good starting point to the ones not yet familiar with baile funk.


Ghetto Fabulous by Alex Bellos (18.9.2005)
An exellent article about baile funk music, mcs, producing, favelas and drug traffic by notorious journalist Alex Bellos published by Observer Music Monthly. Even though Bellos displays quite a lot of the violence side and less of the music, the article gives a real insight and introduction on the scene. It’s superbly written and so thrilling I’d like to put it here on the whole, but you can read the article at Guardian web archives so I don’t have to. A must.

The Funk Phonomenom by Bruno Natal
Another nice article about baile funk in general done by a brazilian journalist Bruno Natal. Published in XLR8R May 2005 it makes another nice introduction to baile funk.


Carioca Funk Clube podcast
An exellent podcast by Adriana Pittigliani, Sany Pitbull’s manager featuring mainly Sany’s stuff. Check out the exellent 9 min story of the beginning of the tamborzão (baile funk with brazilian percussion) style and the use of MPC in baile funk. The episode of Rio Bootylegs is also nice with cool remixes where Billie Jean and The Clash meet baile funk.

Favela on Blast by Diplo
A good mix by the american ”funk embassador” dj Diplo. Even though a little old already, definately a good hit mix to hear the 2004 baile funk sound. A good one to start with, if you’re not familiar with baile funk sound yet.


O Baile Funk Carioca of Hermano Vianna
This is in portuguese only, but if you can read any go and download this immeately. It’s a pdf made availble by the author Hermano Vianna himself of his groud breaking university reasearch paper on the bailes funk in 1988, before the funk sung in porttuguese. The book has been sold out for years and super hard to find anywhere. It’s vividly written and a real insight of the old baile funk world. After all this was the man who gave Dj Marlboro his first sampler when the man was still a beginning dj... I’m still reading it myself and I’ll try translating and posting you some highlights from the book.

These for now, I'll get you some more stuff to browse later...


Second time at the baile funk in Cantagalo (12.1.2007)

The second time I went back to the baile funk in Cantagalo was totally different then the first one.

I had sent an e-mail to dj Sany Pitbull (one of the bigger dj names in Rio funk scene that had just returned from a tour in Europe) asking for an interview and got an astounishingly quick reply by brazilian standards: Her manager Adriana called me the next morning and said they are gonna do a baile at Cantagalo on friday and that in the afternoon, while the crew was putting up the sound system, there would be a possibility to do some interviews. There would also be some journalist from Austria and a brazilian photographer.

Perfect! Meet you at four, down at the favela entrance.

Four o’clock I met there the Austrians: Natalie and Mario. Waiting for Adriana we had time to chat. Natalie presented herself as a radio producer from the austrian national radio, FM4, and Mario was her boyfriend. Natalie was producing stuff for her night program of electronic music with dj guests. This was her third time in Rio, and she wanted to do quite a lot of different material about baile funk.

After Adriana came, we went up to the quadra (hall) where the crew was setting the sound systems for the night. Yes, sound systems in plural, since there were gonna be two equipes (crews) that night: Sany’s Pitbull and then Espacial, Cantagalo’s own boys, and they both had their own wall of speakers, set up on different sides of the hall in the old school hip-hop style.

We were presented to Sany and also to Pantera, the organizer of the baile (he’s in charge of the space; samba school Alegria da Zona Sul’s quadra). We met dj 17 from the Espacial and also mc Gringo, a german mc who’s been living two years in Rio singing at the bailes. And then there was Fernanda, a brazilian photographer.

Natalie interviewing MC Gringo.

During the afternoon a lot of contacts and friendships were made while chatting about baile funk and we did a lot of interviews. I’ll try to put the results out in further posts.

To do the interview with Sany we climbed up to the roof of the quadra, from where you could see the whole morro (hill) of Cantagalo with the shagg houses of the favela climbing all the way to the to, on left side Copacabana and a fabulous ocean view and on the right side sunset at Ipanema and Morro Dois Irmãos. There were at least 20 kids flying kites on the roof tops.

After the interview sessions we went to a local joint to get some dinner. In midst of some busy talking, several people from the neighbouring table started to chat with our party. We were introduced to Rita, a woman on her forties that was one of the main radio djs of the community radio. She had frequented baile funk scene in the seventies while it was still all about black soul and funk and nowadays hosted a flashback program of those days on the radio. She was also a vinyl collector and said she a whole wall full of vinyl at her home. Sany was really impressed as she was a woman and know a whole lot about baile funk history in the seventies. (Normally the sound system bisnes was men’s priority.) We met also Kátia, a local boxing teacher and Silvia, a guide who organizes visits to the favela for tourists.

After some rest at home we were to meet at the same juice bar in the corner at two o’clock to go together to the baile. By this time it was pouring rain, and as I come there were several police cars and police with heavy machine guns hiding behind one corner. I thought there was something big going on, but after a while they just packed their things and left. False alarm I guess...

The others picked me up with a taxi and up we went to the baile. It was totally different from the first time: There was plenty of colorful disco lights and lasers, and there wa a fairly big screen at the back wall, where mtv style hip-hop and r’n’b videos were projected. The djs were up on stands, Sany on one side and the Espacial team on the other. It was full, but it wasn’t packed like on New Year’s Eve.

The equipes played in about one hour turns and when we arrived Sany was kicking it off. He had he’s MPC with him and it gave far more potential to bass end frequencies then the cds. He’s sound system was really heavy and he had this bass frequency test sound on his MPC. It went sliding from the higher bass frequencies all the way to the lowest. When he released it you could feel like like a wave of bass shivering through you. It’s the most powerful single sound I’ve ever heard.

Sany and his Pitbull sound system.

The party was good. From what I could recognize Menor da Chapa and Os Ousados were the names that got the most positive reaction from the crowd. The MPC gave an advantage tp Sany over Espacial, even though they weren’t competing in any way. He used the MPC quite a lot to rhytmicly accentuate songs and also to do a rhythm base just wholly on samples. It looks really good, as you’re really playing it live.

This time there was also a more mixed crowd of black and white brazilians and unnaturally many gringos also. Sany had some swedish guests with him and they tried to do some rap shit on the mics, but they were really drunk and really didn’t fit the mood of the party. Most of the people were just looking like what the fuck is this... Also Mc Gringo did a couple of songs on the mic, but he didn’t have much of a response either.

Every once in a while the both djs would talk on the mic to get the people going, send shout outs, greet friends or to do commercials. The community had just gained it’s first pharmacy, and they both did an ad to it several times. So many times it fellt like old school jamaican style djing with all the interruptions and general mic chatting, even though both were pretty good in mixing and western style djing also.

Around five am they started playing cheesy brazilian slow songs and we left as it was coming to the end of the baile.
Me and Sany Pitbull

Baile Funk at Cantagalo favela

As we live really close to it in posto 6 of Copacabana, Cantagalo was the most obvious place to go to my first baile funk in favela. First of all, a lot of people don’t go to favela at all and it really can be dangerous. All the favelas are controlled by the drug factions and a lot people die every day in the confrontations between traficantes (the drug dealers) and police. Comando Vermelho (CV) that controls Cantagalo is one of the most notorious factions. But I’ll tell you more about the favelas, factions and violence in another post, now just about the first time I went to the baile funk in Cantagalo.

When I mentioned that I was planning to go to the baile there, a friend of mine said to me: ”What! Are you crazy?! You wanna die?!” Anyway, it was New Year’s Eve and I went with my girlfriend Veera to Ipanema where there was a huge consert of Black Eyed Peas. They sucked, so we decided to go up to the baile. It was two o’clock in the night and raining lightly. Normally you would take a van or a moto taxi up the hill, but we didn’t see any at the entrance of the favela, so we went walking upwords.

When you enter the favela, you can clearly see it’ a world apart. After the first bending of the road there was two cars on the both sides of the street and sitting on top of them about 10 drug dealers competing of the customers. ”Crack? Cocaine? Marihuana?” Passing the pusher corridor there were some people hanging out on a bar and some five kids (aprox. 7-12 years old) in a corner across the street smoking crack from small pots.

Down in Copacabana it’s high class apartments, hotels and rich people passing on the streets just 500m away. The more you go up into the favela, the more there is trash on the streets and irregular buildings made of tile blocks and sement growing to all directions seemingly without any control or plan.

So we continued up the road and it was a bit more calmer. The was a group of girls and I asked them where the baile was. They said they were going there also, so we went together. It was up some 1000m more and there were loads of people hanging outside a huge building, with an entire wall open on the second floor. The stairs going up on the side of the building were crowded with ghetto youth and we passed sqeezing through the mass into the tiny passage. People were really looking at us like they weren’t used to see white foreigners there. The whole night I didn’t see any other white people, not even brazilian; every one in the baile was black or mulatto.

The baile was in a big hall, that was surrounded by a second floor, from where you could watch down to the dancefloor. The open side where there was no wall was covered by a wall of speakers about 4m high and 15m wide. Behind them the rain was pouring down from the roof. It was pitch black and the hall was so absolutely full you started sweating immeadietly. The sound loud as fuck and I could feel a nice resonance of bass in my chest. Oh yeah, this was a favela baile alright!

There was so many people I could see nor the dj or any mc, even though you could hear someone shouting to the mic every once in a while. A lot of people had come with their bonde, a group of friends and were dancing together on a row. (the name bonde, meaning a tram, comes apparently from this dancing style of dancing forward, one behind another, like a train.)

All the people were dancing with crazy styles; some small boys (there was a lot of about 10-14 years old kids around) were bouncing away on a bonde, leaning back on each other and touching the floor with their hands and popping their hips up towards the girls. Others were going on a row, turning their heads on the side on every backbeat, all simultaneously. A group of guys was hitting on three girls, dancing on a bonde, surrounding them and provoking them sexually, while closing the circle around the girls at the same time. Girls were breaking down to the floor, them winding slowly their asses up and then shaking them like only brazilian girls can.

Most of the girls were wearing tiny shorts or skirts and a skin tight top leaving the breasts well pumped up. (even Veera, who isn’t generally into that kind of clothes, admitted that it’s so fucking hot dancing squeezed in a crowd like that on a tropical Rio night, that no wonder they wear as little as possible.) The boys were most wearing surfing shorts and a sleeveless t-shirt.

While we were dancing away on the ruff beat, (I didn’t recognize a single song that evening, even though I know quite a few...) I went on observing the space. Near the entrance there was a booth where you could buy drinks and the toilets. On the second floor balcony you could see the shape of a young guy standing and monitoring the hall with a gun (AK-47 or something) hanging from his shoulder. On the other side there was another.

The power of the sound system, the enthusiasm of the crowd, the joy of people dancing and the whole atmosphere of the baile really impressed me: This was definately my type of party!

We stayed at the baile for about an hour and a half, until Veera got so hot in her clothes that she began feeling dizzy. (There wasn’t much fresh air to breath in the hall.) So we left home, walking down the road. It was around four in the morning and the bass left swaying in the air behind us. Sweet, huh?

Baile Funk Dictionary

Baile Funk dictionary:

(I’ve consentrated on such words, expressions, different meanings and slang that you might not find in other dictionaries.)


alemão = a german; in the street slang meaning enemy. can be either someone from a rival drug gang or a police.
amante = a lover
Amigos dos Amigos (ADA) = Friends of Friends; one of the 3 drug gangs controlling Rio's drug trafficing in the favelas.
apologia = glorification; a lot of talk going on about proibidão songs glorifying the drug gangs and violence
aquecimento = heating; meaning a warm-up
arrastão = "pulling a web" meaning a mass assault done by a group of people running and creating of big confusion.
asfalto = the name reffering to the normal city instead of a favela or a morro. Comes from the paved streets. (many of the favelas have only unofficial dirt streets.)


baile =
a ball, a party
baile de corredor = funk parties held during the late 90's, where at some point side A and side B were separated by a corridor to their own sides of the party and urged to fight against each other. This violent period of baile funk parties ended almost completely before the beginning of 2000.
baile funk = a funk ball, party where funk is played
bala = a bullet
bala perdida = a stray bullet, very common in the gunfights between police and drug gangs.
batida = a beat, or a drink
batucada, batuque = percussion only style of samba. some batucada patterns are also used as percussive elements in baile funk. read more on wikipedia
bolado/a = angry, furious, crazy
boladona = even more furious
bonde = a group of people, a crew – also a train like dancing style where you go dancing in a row, one behind each other.
BOPE = a special force of the military police that often participates in the action against drug trafficing in the favelas
buceta = pussy
bum bum = an milder expression of bunda
bunda = ass
burro = translates as donkey, but
is used instead of bunda (meaning ass), in the song "Joga O Burro Pro Alto" of Bonde da Oskley, to make it "radio-friendly".

cachorra = a female dog; a bitch
caixa = a snare drum
candomblé =
an afro-brazilian religion brought over by slaves, based mainly on the yoruba tradition from the area of Nigeria. Very similar to santeria in Cuba. read more on wikipedia see also macumba.
carioca = a Rio inhabitant
caveirão = "a big skull"; black, bullet-proof vehicle that police use to invade favelas. (a skull with a knife going through its head and two revolvers in the background is paintes on the doors; hence the name...) It has small shooting holes on the side and police has been accused of just invading and shooting blindly without asking. see the pic
charme = charm, used also as a name for the modern r'n'b music style
chão, xão = floor
chumbo = metal, lead; meaning a gun or a bullet
Comando Vermelho (CV) = Red Command; one of the Rio's most notorious and powerful drug gangs. read more on wikipedia
comer = to eat; in slang also to fuck
comunidade = a favela community (some people consider favela a bit discriminating as a name and prefer to talk about communities.)
coruja = an owl; also a drung gang member on a night watch out.
= ass

danado/a = horny
daquele jeito = an expression meaning "that's the way you do it".

equipe = a sound system crew
erva = herb

favela = a slum, a shanty town read more on wikipedia
ficante = one-night hook-up
ficar puto = literally to became a prostitute, but actually means "to get angry/mad"
frango assado = whole fried chicken (in slang refers to position when a woman is all legs wide open)
funk = people in Rio refer to baile funk music simply as funk. the american 70's music style is instead labelled under música black where go also most of hip-hop and r'n'b.
funk carioca = People in Rion call the style of music funk carioca. Outside of Brazil it’s generally called baile funk deriving from the name of the parties where it’s played.
funkeiro/a = a person who likes baile funk

gata = a female cat, meaning a good looking girl
gringo = a foreigner
gostoso/a = a hot guy or girl
gozar = to enjoy; in slang for a man to come

horta = a market-garden; on slang pussy (on sale)

jogo do bicho = an animal bingo in which an animal corresponds a number from 1 to 25. It's illegal and still hugely popular in Brazil. It's used for money laundering and many of the organizers of the illegal game are connected with organized crime. The history of the game is an really interesting one! read more on wikipedia

kuduro = Angolan ghetto-tech/house music

maconha = marihuana
macumba = an afro-brazilian religion similar to voodoo. counter-part of candomblé, but where as candomblé uses "white magic", macumba tends to go on the darker side. Most of the percussion patterns used in baile funk can be argued to derive from macumba rhythms that accompany the rites. read more on wikipedia see also candomblé.
montagem = a remix
morro = a hill, also used generally as a synonym reffering to the favelas that are mostly situated on hills and hill tops and slopes.
muleque = a small boy, a kid

negão = literally a big nigga, but can be used also of any thug
novinha = a young girl

otário = a goose; someone goofy and stupid
ousado = bold, daring

pancadão = a big beat meaning the way baile funk sounds from a big sound system
pão de queijo = officially it means cheese bread (an brazilian style small round bun with cheese inside) but it also has a double meaning as "pau de queijo" which translates as a stick with cheese aka a dick with sperm on it.
papo = talk
papo reto = straight talk
parada = literally "a stop", but can be used instead of any noun as "a thing". (f.ex. "Qual é a parada?" translates "What's the deal?)
passinho = steps, meaning dance choreography
pau = a wooden stick; a dick
peito = breast
perder a linha = lose control
perereca = pussy
pista = a dancefloor
playboy = a trendy, usually wealthy and pumped up guy
= literally "powder", but in slang cocaine
ponto = literally "a point", but baile funk producers use this word instead of a (loop) sample
popozuda = a girl with a big ass (brazilian men prefer the good, round big asses)
porra = sperm (used commonly to curse)
proibidão = genre of "extremely forbidden" songs, that usually contain gun lyrics, references and praises of the drug gangs or hard sexual slackness.
punheta = wank
puta = a female prostitute
putaria = the word itself means a brothel or a whorehouse, but it is also used as an adjective and substantive to discribe the genre of baile funk that uses harsh sexual lyrics and slackness, or the orgies. (f.ex. "vai começar a putaria!" translates "let's begin the orgies!")

quadra = a home space of a samba school, used for training and parties
de quatro = "on four" meaning doggy-style
quebra = to break, meaning break it down on the floor

rabo = tail, meaning ass
rebolar = to shake
ressaca = a hangover

safado/a = horny
saia = a skirt
sainha = a miniskirt
senta = sit down; refering to a stripper/pole dance style of dance where the girls, mmm, bend to sit down again and again
sequencia = a sequence
solteira = single girl

tambor = a drum or a percussion instrument
tamborzão = the main heavy percussion loop used in baile funk songs
tapa = hit, slap
tarado/a = pervert
tchutchuca = a girl
Terceiro Comando Puro (TCP) = The Pure Third Command; one of the 3 drug gangs controling Rio's drug traffic. CV's biggest rival that got started out of CV's internal power struggle.
tesão = lust
tiroteio = fight of crossing gunshots
traficante = a drug dealer operating within some of Rio’s drug factions

Vila Mimosa = The red light district in Rio.

whiskey & red bull = the most preferred drink in the baile funk game. launched by Mr. Catra in various songs.


What is Rio Baile Funk?

For me Rio baile funk is absolutely the best dance music available at moment. All though I listen to and enjoy a huge variety of different music styles, Rio baile funk has got something that really cought me.

The ruff, yet swinging beats, the brutalness of the lyrics and sounds, the huge bass that goes though you in the middle of a corridor of speakers. The simpleness of the music: no hi-fi tricks, just sheer fun and playing with the music. As one of my dj-friends put it: It’s idiot music, but that’s just why it sound so good.

Baile funk is based on miami bass and old school electro beats made with the legendary drum machine TR-808. Loops of these beats are reused, mixed with brazilian samba percussion (tambores) and different effects (like gun shots for instance). The whole thing is topped with cruel horn samples and brazilian rapping that sounds often more like cheesy shouting. The beats are ruff and hard-hitting; their simple, but there’s loads of bass and what’s most important: The rhythm is guaranteed to make the booties shake. Most of the lyrics are obscene and explicitly sexual or deal with ghetto life full of guns, violence and drug factions.

In Finland I could only dig the music, but coming to Rio has really opened my eyes to the power of the culture involved in it. What really does the atmosphere of the music are the people. The joy of life cariocas (Rio inhabitants) possess is something you can’t imagine unless you’ve been there. People are always ready to sing and dance and they do it with naturalness, not to impress or to show off. When you go to a baile funk party you can feel the people truly enjoying themselves. And the pure energy they transmit with their crazy, sexual dance moves. I often feel, that in western countries people dance sexually to look good (like some r’n’b star on MTV), but here people dance sexually because they feel good.

About the author

First some things about myself, so you know who’s opinions you’re reading...

26-years old, I’m currently working as a free-lance journalist and a photographer. Finnish and normally living in Helsinki, I’ve also been djing and organizing my own club nigths, events and festivals from the year 2001. People in the Helsinki scene will propably remember such names as Hekuma, Old School Throw Down and Bustin Loose!

My first encounter with Rio funk was in January 2005, when I came back to Brazil for the first time since my exchange student year in 1999. I stayed in Rio for almost the whole January living at my friend’s place. I was the time Bonde do Tigrão was at it’s hight of popularity and Baile funk was all over, but since none my friend’s wasn’t into that sound, I didn’t go into any bailes.

Back in Finland I started looking for more of that sound and information about it. In the internet there is fairly little, but enough to feed my curiosity. I’ll show you some of the good stuff in internet later in a separate post. Anyway, I downloaded some music and wondered if there was any on vinyl. (as I dj the question of vinyl is always relevant, since I’m not as comfortable playing with cds yet...) I found a couple of European record labels that have put out funk compilations on vinyl. The one I could get from my local supplier was Slum Dunk Presents Funk Carioca released on Mr. Bongo. After getting the vinyl I put together a mix of my favorite baile funk tunes. I named it Favela 808. It was autumn 2005 and it was the first finnish mix entierly of Rio baile funk.

Photo of the Hekuma crew.

That time I was organizing Hekuma nights with a dancehall soundsystem / live act of the same name at a Helsinki club called Kuudes Linja. So on February 2006 I decided to organize a special night of baile funk. I invited my friend DJ Rudeboy to play as he was also into Rio baile funk.

People liked baile funk so much, that in May we had a reload and I put a night with baile funk and grime. We even had some mcing pon di stage, as MC Boazinha, the singer of Maria Gasolina, a local band playing finnish versions of brazilian songs, got onto the stage to do two songs. The grime part was handled my a superb finnish grime collective, the Dead Boys Massive.

Of course I had been playing Rio baile funk also in other parties along 2005 and 2006, but always among other music styles. Besides parties I had also made some remixes in baile funk style during that time. You can check them and more of my dj stuff out at MySpace: www.myspace.com/djrideon (There are 3 remixes available at the moment.)

Now I’ve been living in Rio since the beginning of October 2006 free-lancing for different news papers, magazines, radios and tv programs with my audio-visual companion Taneli Bruun. You’ll find more about our Rio project at http://mlab.uiah.fi/~lbruun/Riodoc/index.htm (It’s in finnish only, but there are some video clips and a photo portfolio everybody can enjoy.)

Besides working one of my main interests to come to Rio, was to get to know the baile funk scene in here. A lot of things have happened already, but I’ll try tell all the stories along introducing baile funk music and culture in general. Hopefully it’ll all be of some interest and be able to offer some information about a phenomenom that’s yet relatively little covered by international media.



This blog is dedicated to Rio Baile Funk: It’s all about the music, the persons envolved in it, and the whole funk universe inside and outside Rio. It’s about the artists, thd djs, the producers, the dancers. The favelas, the bailes and the culture around the whole thing. It’s stories, interviews and history lessons. Opinions, reviews and reports. Songs, beats and lyrics.

I’ll try writing this blog mainly in english, so that a major public can appreciate it. However some stories and posts will have to be in finnish, due to my limited language skills. Propably I’ll use also quite a lot of brazilian words; baile funk slang that goes better on original language. But when so, I’ll try to add a explicative dictionary in the end of the text...

Stay tuned!