terça-feira

28

março 2006

16

COMMENTS

BPM, abril/2006

Written by , Posted in Imprensa

bpm_april_cover_small.jpg

Alguns textos que escrevi para a matéria de capa sobre funk da revista americana BPM: uma página sobre o DJ Marlboro, as introduções, edição e tradução de várias mini-entrevistas (com Mr. Catra, DJ Sandrinho, MC Xana, Dj Edgar, DJ Mavi, Sany Pitbull) feitas pela Pitti (acho) e que acompanham a matéria principal.

DJ Marlboro: The Godfather of funk
words: Bruno Natal


Funk is much a amalgamation of situations as it is a clash of influences and references. Although other DJs, such as Grand Master Raphael, are also important in it’s development, if one person has to be pointed as the godfather of favela funk, DJ Marlboro is the name that stands out.

Even though he did not created it alone, not only was he the more determined, but also the more organized one. He produced and released the first tracks and artists and, up untill today, still is behind of much that has to do with the genre. Thru his label, publishing company, radio show or his chain of sound systems — all under the same name, Big Mix — he remains on top.
 
He began as a DJ at a very early age, 14, as black music selector, in small balls in Rio’s suburbs. Throughout the late 70s and early 80s, music shifted from funk and soul to disco and then to electronic. And so did Marlboro. The synthesized sounds that came along with songs like Kraftwerk’s “Numbers” or, most importantly, Bambaataa’s “Planet rock”, were crucial to what was yet to come.

Up untill then, the music played in Funk balls were mostly done by international artists. The turning point happened in 1989, after Marlboro received a Boss drum machine as a gift from anthropologist Hermano Vianna — who was then researching for his pioneer study, a book called “O mundo funk carioca” (Rio’s Funk World).

Marlboro learned how to program his new toy just enough to cut the first Funk rhythms. This set of songs came out in a compilation called “Funk Brasil”, a instant success and Funk ground zero.

Singers had no longer to chant over foreign instrumental beats, they could have their own. This also meant that producers could now incorporate local elements and samples, changing the sound, giving it a tropical flavor. From this point on, Funk became a Brazilian – and mostly, a favela – thing.

Nowadays, Marlboro hosts the country’s biggest radio show (with a absurd average of 500,000 listeners per minute). On screen, he has appeared as a guest DJ on TV shows, hosted his own Funk show and even played a — guess what — Funk DJ in a TV series directed by “City of God’s” Fernando Meirelles.

Since his appearance in Central Park Summer Stage, in 2003, Marlboro has travelled around the world and back: England, Croatia, Colombia, Holland, Germany, Slovenia, Mexico, France, you name it. When it comes to spreading the music, Marlboro simply knows no limit.



Q&As


MR. CATRA



Mr. Catra, 37, begun his career in a hardcore band. Then he went on to become one of the biggest names in the “proibidão” (loosely translated as “very prohibited”), a style of Funk against the law not only due to its lyrics, praising drug lords and their organizations, but also because of it`s – note the switch in the sense of the word – hardcore, real life approach of everyday favela subjects, such as sex, crime and police brutality.



He has since moved away from this kind of songs, establishing himself as one of the most prominent names in Funk, even landing deals with multi national record company Warner Music in the past.



Known by fans as “The Faithful”, he often praises the Lord on his lyrics, even if this means using Thy name along side lyrics about marijuana, and not in a rasta fashion. Along with other musician, he created the first live Funk band, Mr. Catra e os Apóstolos (Mr. Catra and the Apostles), that sometimes holds open rehearsal inside whorehouses in Rio de Janeiro’s Red Light District.

How do you spend a typical day?

It’s a regular day, lide everybody else. Work, wife, kids…

As a kid, what was it like growing up in your neighborhood? Tell me something you love about it and something you would change, if possible.

It was wonderful and healthy! It’s a wonderful community, I wouldn’t change a thing.

How have those memories influenced your music?

Through musics I’ve listened during my childhood, and religious learning.

It seems that a lot of the lyrics have a strong message. Who is your favorite MC? What one line stands out to you the most?

I don’t have a favorite MC, but James Brown is a strong reference. [I talk about] bringing peace and religiosity.

What is it about your local music scene that is so special to you?

The freddom of speech, to be able to make music without having to measure the words. In short, to be able to make a direct speech.

Who/what are your inspirations both musically and personally?

Just daily life, in general.

Funk is heavily influenced by American hip-hop, electro, Miami bass, R&B. What American artists do you find most inspirational?

George Clinton, James Brown and 2 live Crew.

Talk about the two predominent categories of funk lyrics: the sexy and the rougher, more political ones. What is true, what is false and how do you fit into everything?

The counscious lyrics are the ones that give you “hints” on how to live life good, on the right track. The sexy ones talk about sex in a natural way, with love and passion, like everyone does, in the form of a happy music, at the same time irreverent and sexy. My role in it is being a composer and singer of both styles.

Hollywood is famous for distorting the facts. Have you seen “City of God”? If yes, what’s your opinion about the movie?

It’s a cool visual interpretation of a “proibidão”.

Music taken you outside of Brazil, many times. Talk about your favorite trip.

Today my music is recognized in Europe and the US. The best trip was to Israel, because of the spiritual side and receptivity of the people there.

Where do you see yourself and funk music in five years?

You’ll see the billboards in your city!

DJ SANDRINHO

This fan of Snoop Dog, Stevie B, Dr. Dre, Africa Bambaataa, Gigolo Tony, Trinere, MC Ade and MC Shyd, started going to Funk balls with his older brother, also a DJ, from who he learned his turntable techniques, at age 10.

With a respectull record collection and having worked with big names 25 years old DJ Sandrinho is perceived by many as one of the best Funk DJs around, having worked with big names, like Mr. Catra. He also produces his own music.

“[I’m a fan of] the strong beats we call batidão, the groove, swing, rhythm, the special way we play, produce and show it”, states Sandrinho.

As a kid, what was it like growing up in your neighborhood? Talk about something you love and something you would change, if possible.

I used to like it very much, but nowadays is hard to do so, because of the increasing violence. Off course, that’s what I would change, if I could.


It seems that a lot of the lyrics have a strong message. Who is your favorite MC? What one line stands out to you the most?

Mano Brown (from Racionais MCs) and Menor do Chapa, who hails from the Turano community. What stands out for me are lirycs against violence, telling the true facts of our hidden reality.

Who/what are your inspirations both musically and personally?

Personally, my family and friends. Musically, my brother Mr. Catra, Jonathan French DJ, funk, hip hop, drum and bass, samba and, most of all, my inner inspiration.



Talk about the two predominent categories of funk lyrics: the sexy and the rougher, more political ones. What is true, what is false and how do you fit into everything?

It’s true, it is divided. The strongest political ones you can only hear at the communities’ balls, in the clubs you hear mostly to the sexy ones. I play, produce and like both styles.


Hollywood is famous for distorting the facts. Have you seen “City of God?” If yes, what’s your opinion about the movie?

It’s a good portrait of that time. But things have changed into a full parallel [crime] and social organization.



Has music taken you outside of Brazil? If yes, tell me about your favorite trip?

Yes, I went to France and was really cool to meet different people, sounds and culture. 


Where do you see yourself and funk music in five years?

There will be some changes, because funk always recreates itself, with new artists, beats, grooves, etc. I hope to get know outside Brazil and, with that, be able to release my own record.

DJ SANY PITBULL

Sergio Reis Silva, aka DJ Sany Pitbull, 35, spends his days surfing the web, looking for new songs. “Specially stuff other than Funk, as I work with it all the time. Old music is the best, at the moment I’m listening to Kraftwerk”.

Besides being a DJ at balls all over town, Sany also manages artists, produces music, writes about funk for websites and is frequently invited to take part in debates to discuss, whatnot, Funk.

“[Funk] it’s an important part of the communities’ economy. The majority of people selling beers, juices, hotdogs, t-shirts, etc, are elderly and women. The supermarkets are full of housewives the day after the balls, with some cash to buy the family’s meal”, he explains.

Read on, Sany has more to say. And he knows his stuff.

As a kid, what was it like growing up in your neighborhood?

At the suburban neighborhood I grew up in, everything was great. But I would increase the number of organized sports offered for the kids. I would have liked to try surfing, if I had a board or school available.

Going to the beach at Copacabana was the best part. And also listening to music, of course. My father was against me working with music, even being a very party person, with his beloved hi-fi stereo, that he only trusted to me. Eventually, he agreed that I became a DJ.

How have those memories influenced your music?

I’ve never lived in the really worst favelas, but part of my friends came from there. The suburbs were real neutral zone, a good place to meet everybody. The sounds coming from the hills were samba and various forms of 70s funk and soul. At home, my father listened to a lot of Brazilian romantic popular songs, with very sophisticated harmony and lyrics. Portuguese is a language famous for it’s poetry. My mother preferred disco (ABBA was a home hit) and classical.

It seems that a lot of the lyrics have a strong message. Who is your favorite MC? What one line stands out to you the most?

What appeals to me it’s the political side of the lyrics. I’m a collector of rare voices, and there are more of these hungry screams to be heard. But there’s not always space to show it.

What is it about your local music scene that is so special to you?

The sound itself and specially the happiness in peoples face at the communities balls. The preparation for the ball, during the day, it’s a party for everybody, including children. It’s a mobile discotheque. It’s a circus. Happiness all day and all night long. Everybody helps, food always appears all over the place.

Who/what are your inspirations both musically and personally?

American funk, James Brown, Kool & The Gang, Aretha Franklyn, Donna Summer, Egyptian Lover and Dr. Dre. Personally, my father is my biggest influence.

American hip-hop, electro, Miami bass, R&B, heavily influence Funk. What American artists do you find most inspirational?

2live Crew, Newcleus, MC Shy-D, Afrikan Bambaata, Zulu Nation.

Talk about the two predominent categories of funk lyrics: the sexy and the rougher, more political ones. What is true, what is false and how do you fit into everything?

What you mean by true or false? Tell me more about what you’ve heard. Who prohibited funk? Which ones? Who decides that? Some of the famous samba from Rio have even stronger lyrics, but as it became the Brazilian “classics”, it’s OK to sing or perform them.

Both styles, the sexy and the conscious, are part of our history. Always. But with the Funk beat, you can be legitimately afraid of being arrested in Rio or Brazil.

Hollywood is famous for distorting the facts. Have you seen “City of God?” If yes, what’s your opinion about the movie?

Nothing is 100% real, but could be. It’s a good story based on reality.

Has music taken you outside of Brazil? If yes, tell me about your favorite trip?

Not yet.

Where do you see yourself and funk music in five years?

We’ll see a funk artist performing at the opening of Pan-American games (that will take place in Rio 2007) and others events, not just as a participation, but as the main attraction.

DJ MAVI

The importance of “Planet rock” in Funk’s development is hard to measure. Not too hard to calculate is the happines DJ Mavi must have felt when his remix for Bambaataa’s “B more shake” was selected to be part of a special record that made it to the Billboard’s Top 50.

A hip hop fan and videogame addict, Mavi is worried about the monopoly in the scene. “Some DJs only play on his gigs or radio shows songs that are produced and edited at their studio. The team, the equipment, everything has to belong to the godfathers”, he explains.
His solution? Simply make more music, free, without worring too much. Seem like a good plan.

How do you spend a typical day?

I normally wake up in the afternoon and go to the studio. I stay there until 5 AM, making music, loops, samples, until midnight and then I start playing videogame (Soldiers of Fortune II, Double Helix) online with friends. At weekends, there are the balls to perform.

As a kid, what was it like growing up in your neighborhood? Tell me something you love about it and something you would change, if possible.

I feel privileged growing up here, no will to leave it ever. There were not many houses, lots of green and I played with kites, marbles and some other toys I can’t translate the names. All kind of toys kids don’t with today anymore, substituted by playgrounds, videogames and behind bars. If I could change something would be not allowing so many buildings to be constructed, there is no respect with what was here before.

How have those memories influenced your music?

The freedom I had that allowed me to create.

It seems that a lot of the lyrics have a strong message. Who is your favorite MC? What one line stands out to you the most?

I don’t have a favorite MC; I know and like all. I respect all of them and admire their will to triumph. But I have an opinion that they should be more concerned about the contents of lyrics. As they are so influential to children and the young living in poor communities, they should say something really constructive for their lives.

What is it about your local music scene that is so special to you?

There is a lot of bad managing at the scene. Some DJs only play on his gigs or radio shows songs that are produced and edited at their studio. The team, the equipment, everything has to belong to the godfathers. We are very strong to have survived and surpassed these barriers. I know this is not going to end soon, but the MCs should be more united and refuse to produce and edit through those guys. We don’t need them, they are not musicians like us. And we now have better options.

Who/what are your inspirations both musically and personally?

My inspiration comes from everywhere, but especially from American hip hop.

American hip-hop, electro, Miami bass, R&B, heavily influence Funk. What American artists do you find most inspirational?

Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Ja Rule, Young Bloodz, NAS, DMX, Dr Dre, Jay-Z, Puffy Daddy, Notorious BIG, Usher, Twista, Public Enemy, Etc. Fresstyle, Tinere, Stevie B, Olga, Debbie Debie, Debie Gibson, Afrika Bambaataa, Inoj, Dj Tragic, Dj Magic Mike, Etc.

Talk about the two predominent categories of funk lyrics: the sexy and the rougher, more political ones. What is true, what is false and how do you fit into everything?

This is a country full of hypocrisies. Poor people are discriminated even when they are successful. There are castes in society, but we live together. I find myself more attracted to the conscious Funk then the sexy ones. The “proibidões” are giving an important message, about a unspoken reality of millions here.

You can’t pretend reality is not there. There is violence, TV and cinema are using it, but and “funkeiros” can’t. If I make a movie out of a “proibidão” it would would then be considered art. But I think music is even more challenging. TV and films are too explicit. Music can drive you further.

That’s why I think the autorities should be more concerned about public health and food, etc, instead of persecute people singing about their lives.

Hollywood is famous for distorting the facts. Have you seen “City of God?” If yes, what’s your opinion about the movie?

I liked it. Was not the true story, but a good fiction about it. Really cool.

Has music taken you outside of Brazil? If yes, tell me about your favorite trip?

The most exciting one was to Boston, bringing my sound to Brazilians that have been abroad for a long time and seeing their emotion, feeling home thru the music. It was remarkable.

Where do you see yourself and funk music in five years?

Five years ago I could not imagine this (doing remixes for Afrika Bambaata). Life is unpredictable, we can never tell what’s gonna happen in five years. I just hope that things go even further, with more opportunities for everyone,l without stealing of royalties, etc. There is a lot of talent here, everywhere. We don’t need godfathers to slave us.

DJ EDGAR

Like most DJs, Edgar spends his days inside a studio, producing music and promoting his beats through the Internet. He is on the business for 16 years now and is currently Mr. Catra’s DJ, which is no small achievement. Together, they went to Europe on tour and DJ Edgar plans to go back this year to open even more doors for Funk.

“2005 was one of the best for Funk”, he believes. Above everything, DJ Edgar believes that Funk will always shake bootys, even of those who say they don’t like it.. That’s not far from the truth.

As a kid, what was it like growing up in your neighborhood? Tell me something you love about it and something you would change, if possible.

I wouldn’t leave the place I was born and still live until today for any other in the world. What I like most here is the peace and calm to rest after the nights of mixing and to work at the studio without bothering. The only thing I would change here is to send away people sucking my energy. The place has no flaws.

How have those memories influenced your music?

My father listened to James Brown, Barry White, Jimi Hendrix … Now maybe you can understand why I work with funk for 16 years already.

It seems that a lot of the lyrics have a strong message. Who is your favorite MC? What one line stands out to you the most?

Funk nowadays is portraying society too, not just hip-hop. It shows the reality of the favelas, protesting. I think the lyrics must talk about this too. In the conscious part of Funk there could be more hip hop samples.

My favorites MCs are: Mr. Catra, Gorilla & Preto, Menor do Chapa, Mr. Schock, Sapão, Mascote, Frank, Duda Do Borel and Ricardo, among others.

What is it about your local music scene that is so special to you?

The best is that our sound rocks everybody, from the 5 years old kid to the older ones. Even those that says they hate it… When it plays, they will dance with their little finger, there is no escape from it.

Who and what are your inspirations both musically and personally?

My father, my kids, my wife, Bob Marley, Jimmy Hendrix, James Brown, 50 Cent, Wu Tang Clan, Assassin, Z’africa Brasil, Racionais, Mr. Catra and many others.

Funk is heavily influenced by American hip hop, electro, Miami bass, R&B. What American artists do you find most inspirational?

Some old Miami bass, ADE, Freestyle, Trinere, Afrika Bambaataa…

Talk about the two predominent categories of funk lyrics: the sexy and the rougher, more political ones. What is true, what is false and how do you fit into everything?

The way to fit as a DJ is to play a little bit of everything, because the two styles have the same importance in Funk’s history. To say that Funk only speaka about drug traffic and the parallel power is a lie. It is underground, but real, and the sound systems are the real life, with music you cannot listen at the radio

Hollywood is famous for distorting the facts. Have you seen City of God?? If yes, what’s your opinion about the movie?

I liked it very much, was a landmark in Brazilian cinema. But Rio is not made only of criminals, there’s a lot of good stuff to be shown too.

Where do you see yourself and funk music in five years?

If I’m working with it for 16 years already, and doing fine, I don’t need to answer this. Funk it in the media world wide, despite been marginalized before, and I never gave up. Funk is my life and blood. Stay with God!

MC XANA

Is no wonder MC Xana, 24, looks up to Beyoncé. She is playing a rather new role in Funk history: of a woman MC. Along with other girls, like Tati Quebra-Barraco and Deise Tigrona, women are trailing a path that, not long a go, were mostly reserved to men.

As Denise Garcia’s documentary, “I’m ugly, but trendy”, depicts, the gender barrier is coming down fast. Girls are now producing some of the biggest hits, voicing femin issues, from woman to woman, sometimes in a neo-feminist way. Is the so called “girl power”. And it’s unstoppable.

How do you spend a typical day?

I wake up late and stay with my kids. If I can, I take them to school. Then I sleep again until is night, when I wake up to work: singing, composing, and producing.

As a kid, what was it like growing up in your neighborhood? Tell me something you love about it and something you would change, if possible.

The coolest thing is that everybody loves and knows how to dance, and the same choreography sometimes! I was always the one creating them. I wouldn’t change a thing, just keep on solving the problems of society, like we must do always.

How have those memories influenced your music?

I compose music dancing. I learned that way, I can’t and I won’t change it.

It seems that a lot of the lyrics have a strong message. Who is your favorite MC? What one line stands out to you the most?

Catra is the best. All lines must contain truth.

What is it about your local music scene that is so special to you?

Sensuality…the freedom to be sexy.

Who/what are your inspirations both musically and personally?

The way I feel the world at that specific moment.

American hip-hop, electro, Miami bass, R&B, heavily influence Funk. What American artists do you find most inspirational?

For me it actually comes from “candomblé”, a traditional Brazilian religion, [that mixes elements of African and Christian cultures]. The American music helped the development of communication, bringin it to more people, as a universal language. My preferred one is Beyoncé.

Talk about the two predominent categories of funk lyrics: the sexy and the rougher, more political ones. What is true, what is false and how do you fit into everything?

Things are not as dark as presented abroad. The parallel laws take place, yes, but when the social structures can’t provide the official laws, the population do it, as a way to survive.

Has music taken you outside of Brazil? If yes, tell me about your favorite trip?

Tomorrow I’m going for the first time to Europe! Ice cream? Cotton balls? How does snow feels?

Where do you see yourself and funk music in five years?

Funk is a rhythm that changes to be faithful to itself. It will keep on doing it even in a bigger scale. Me? I don’t know, man! “Now, show that you can!” [a line from Xanas first hit, “Dança do chão”].

Anúncios

Deixe uma resposta

16 Comments

  1. Carol *
  2. Lonha
  3. LTT
  4. Rod
  5. letícia
  6. Sonia

Deixe uma resposta

Anúncios
%d blogueiros gostam disto: