Funk carioca, favela funk and, elsewhere in the world, baile funk, is a type of dance music from Rio de Janeiro, derived from Miami bass.
"Baile funk", in Brazil, refers not to the music, but to the actual parties or discothèques in which the music is played. Although originated in Rio, funk carioca has become increasingly popular amongst (mainly) low classes in other parts of Brazil. In the whole country, funk carioca is most often simply known as funk, although it is very different musically from what funk means in most other places.
Funk is a direct derivative of Miami Bass and freestyle (another Miami-based genre) music from the United States. The reason why these genres, very localized in the USA, became popular and influential in Rio de Janeiro is due to proximity. Miami is a popular plane stop for Rio DJs to buy the latest American records.
The funk popularized in the 1980s in Rio de Janeiro shanty neighborhoods called favelas. From mid-1990s it was a mainstream phenomenon in Brazil. Funk songs discuss topics as varying as poverty, human dignity, racial pride of black people, sex (breaking its moral values), violence and social injustice. Social analysts believe that the funk is a genuine expression of the severe social issues falling on the poor and black people in Rio.
The rhythms of funk in its early days were mostly loops of electronic drums from Miami Bass or freestyle records, while a few artists composed them with actual drum machines. The most common drum beat was a loop of DJ Battery Brain's "808 volt", commonly referred to as "Voltmix", though Hassan's "Pump Up The Party" is also notable. Now, funk rhythms use tamborzão rhythms in addition to the older drum machine loops. Tamborzão beats use samples of Brazilian hand drums, particularly the atabaque, in arrangements that are close to the same as those used in Maculelê capoeira. Melodies are usually sampled. Older songs typically chopped up freestyle samples for the melody, or had none at all. Modern funk uses a set of samples from various sources, notably horn and accordion stabs, as well as the horn intro to the "Rocky" theme. Funk music has always used a small catalog of rhythms and samples which almost all songs take from (commonly with several in the same song). Funk carioca songs can either be instrumental or include rapping, singing, or something in between the two. On February 11, 2001, the first U.S. reference to the music itself was made by Neil Strauss in the New York Times newspaper, recognizing it as a distinct musical genre, and along with Kwaito music in South Africa, one of the first new genres of electronic, street dance music to have become important outside North America and Europe.
Recognition in Europe
Until the year 2000, Funk Carioca was only a regional phenomenon. Then the European media began to report its peculiar combination of music, social issues with a strong sexual appeal.
In 2001, for the first time, Baile funk tracks appeared on a Non-Brazilian label. The album was named Favela Chic by BMG and contained 3 old-school funk carioca hits, including the song Popozuda Rock n´Roll by De Falla.
In 2003, the tune Quem Que Caguetou (Follow Me Follow Me) by Black Alien & Speed, not a big hit in Brazil, was then used in a sports car advertisement in Europe, and it helped spread the word about baile funk. Berlin music journalist and DJ Daniel Haaksman released the seminal CD-compilations Rio Baile Funk Favela Booty Beats in 2004, and More Favela Booty Beats 2006 through Essay Recordings Germany. He launched the international career of "Popozuda Rock n´Roll" artist Edu K, whose baile funk anthem was used in a soft drink TV advertisement in Germany. Haaksman continued to produce and distribute many new baile funk records, especially the EP series "Funk Mundial" and "Baile Funk Masters" on his label Man Recordings.
In 2004, dance clubs from Eastern Europe, mainly Romania and Bulgaria increased the popularity of funk due to the strong sexual appeal of the music and dance, also known as Bonde das Popozudas. Many Rio funk artists started to do shows abroad at that time. DJ Marlboro and Favela Chic Paris club were the pioneer travellers/producers. The funk carioca production was until then limited to playing in the ghettos and the Brazilian pop market. DJ Marlboro, a major composer of funk carioca's tunes declared in 2006 in the Brazilian "Isto É magazine" how astonished he was with the sudden overseas interest in the genre. He traveled in over 10 European countries.
In London, artists Tetine have also assembled an important pioneer compilation in 2004, Slum Dunk Presents Funk Carioca mixed by Tetine, by Mr Bongo Records. In Italy, Irma Records released the 2005 compilation Colors Music #4: Rio Funk. Many small European (notably Arcade Mode) and American (Flamin´Hotz, Nossa) labels released several compilations and EPs in bootleg formats.
The artist M.I.A. brought mainstream international popularity to Brazilian Funk with her single Bucky Done Gun released in 2005, and attention to US-based Diplo who worked as the song's producer. He had worked on M.I.A.'s 2004 mixtape Piracy Funds Terrorism in addition to the tracks Baile Funk One, Baile Funk Two, and Baile Funk Three. Diplo made a 2004 bootleg mix CD Favela On Blast after finding Ivanna Bergese compiled remix-tapes of her performance act Yours Truly. He also produced documentary Favela on Blast, which was released in July 2010 and documents the role, culture, and character of funk carioca in Rio's favelas.
Other indie video-documentaries have been made in Europe, especially in Germany and Sweden. These generally focused on the social issues in the favelas. One of the most famous of these series of documentaries is Mr Catra the faithful (2005) by Danish filmmaker Andreas Rosforth Johnsen, broadcasted by many European open and cable television channels.
Criticism and Response
In Brazil, Funk Carioca lyrics are often criticized due to their violent and sexually explicit, as well as misogynistic content - the degradation of women as objects for sex is a recurring theme in funk Carioca. Girls are called "cachorras" (dogs) - meaning bitches - and "popozudas" - large asses, and many songs revolve around casual and degrading sex practices with them. "Novinhas" (young/underaged girls) as sexual objects are also a frequent theme in funk songs. Some of these songs, however, are ironically sung by women.
Defenders of funk argue that the genre is an authentic expression of low-income communities and the sexual lyrics reflect sexual freedom in Brazilian society. Some sociologists say that such content reflects the life of the impoverished people who lack protection and better conditions due to insufficient State involvement in the favelas.
(from the article Funk carioca of Wikipedia)