For those who don't know, baile funk is "the hottest dance music in the world" (copyright the Observer) or at least it was a few months ago. I don't know what's trendy now (nu rave?) and I don't care because I love baile funk. It's been around in Brazil for a few years now, but in the last couple of years it's become popular in the rest of the world. It consists of huge electro miami bass beats and old school sing song style rapping. Its basic and yet it's superbly constructed for the dancefloor. It's big, loud, obnoxious and rude (so I am told) and it makes me grin like a mental.

I love the way almost every Brazilian I have met thinks it's trash, the worst music in the world, an embarrasment and I can shock them and tease them with my love for it. They can't believe that a gringo can like this rubbish. They always say that if I understood the lyrics, which are generally pretty sexist, but relatively tame compared to a lot of hip hop, I would hate it. I always counter by saying that I am capable of ignoring lousy lyrics, as is necessary if you are fan of commercial hip hop, and their reaction is the exact proof that the music is doing it's job. If they, middle class and educated people in their late twenties like the music, then where is the rebellion? (I am exempt from this cos I is down with da kids) I explain that this is crucial in all music movements throughout the story of popular music and that there criticisms are exactly the same ones that were levelled at Elvis, David Bowie, Sex Pistols etc. Then they mutter something about cultural difference and I have won.

This is my favourite baile funk track:

Jack E Chocolate - Pavaroty

Thats Pavaroty as in Pavarotti, presumably because of the vaguely operatic style of singing in the chorus. It doesn't really matter, other than to add to overall ridiculousness of it all, it's just a fantastic big grin of a song.

Like all genres, baile funk has become more commercial. A new melodic style has developed, with less rapping and more singing, and tamer lyrics. It blows, big time. You can now see funk on the telly, in between informercials for denture cream (for real! I saw it with my own eyes!) The good stuff is still out there though, and if you want to find it, let me recommend two sources. Firstly, Diplo, the fantastic dj and producer does a podcast every week or so with his findings from various countries, including loads of funk tunes. Subscribe here via Itunes. Secondly, there are some great podcasts here, courtesy of Mr Phipson, live and direct from Berlin(?). Highly recommended. And you could buy this cd, where the above track comes from, and the new volume, which I haven't heard but need in my life. Put your brain on hold, jump up and down and try not to grin.

1 comment:

David N said...

I can't believe you would actually pimp His Masters Voice on your blog. Is nothing sacred? You getting a cut? You hold onto your shares?