I’ve probably realized the dream of any World Bass Dj… jamming in a real guetto Baile Funk!!
My real dream would have been to Dj at the party really, and most definitely pulling a funkera too, but hey… next time I’m sure.
Last Friday I played in a party in Rio de Janeiro. I had been wanting to check out Rio for a while and since I have a few other gigs lined up for December, I decided to move from Sao Paulo to Rio altogether. After the party, all the Dj’s we went to some corner bar for a few drinks. While we were there sipping on some strong ginger Cachaça, I got talking to Greg, this American Dj who runs a World Bass night in Philly and seemed well connected in the underground scene in Rio. He asked me if I fancied rolling to a Baile Funk on a favela on Saturday with him. He said that apparently the police are closing them down, that they’re harder to find and that I shouldn’t miss the opportunity…
so hell yeah boy!! I was in.
It’s Saturday night and we’re on our way to the baile in the favela do Mandela, in the Manguinhos neighbourhood, apparently notorious for its violence. I’m in a taxi with Greg, his other American friend from Chicago and Fabio, a local Carioca friend. Chicago dude was in Rio doing some sort of cultural research and had brought a recording device to try capture the essence of the party. Video cameras/phones could be a bit more dangerous if you filmed the wrong narco, know what I mean?! So we are all in the taxi talking and asking some questions to the driver like, you know where we going? what do you think? blah blah, when all of the sudden we are stopped by the police at a check point and asked to form a line. Great!
The look that the policeman gave us said it all, do you gringos know where the f*ck you’re going to?? We had to explain ourselves and I guess that when he saw how keen we were to go, even after he explained to us what it was ahead of us… he just had to let us go at our own risk. But guess what?? That’s right, we kept recording and we got it all on tape!!
Funny that he thought that Fabio, our black Carioca friend, was our ‘tourist guide’, when in fact Greg, the whitest of us all, was! LOL
When we get there we realize that it is actually an open air rave… a block party in fact!
No stage, no dancefloor. Just three big ass sound systems cutting off a council state street in a ‘T’ shape. Look at the pic above, Notting Hill Carnival ain’t got shit on those bad boys! One of the systems was slightly raised above the ground, with big torches at each extreme blazing fire everytime a big tune was played… and they were lots of them! That bass was out of this World. I remember feeling it going right through me and thinking yes! this is what I came to Brazil for! I was a bit dissapointed that the Dj’s weren’t playing with MPC’s, just mixing with a laptop and hyping up the crowd on the mic. Still good though.
There was a projection playing UFC fights and images of guys in balaclavas with big AK47′s in the woods, I guess just to get us all in the party mood. At times the crowd would split right open and let these guys holding machine guns walk through followed by his crew. Yeah, no sh*t!
At each side of the roads, there was a continuous line of neatly arranged little white tends serving alcohol, although I think they have had other ‘stock’ that we weren’t aware of. The smell of weed and glue was present everywhere, and some people were getting high on some other sh*t that they were spraying straight into their mouths. And the girls? Banging… wearing the shortest dresses and shaking their ass right next to us. Yesss bruv, just like in Youuuutuuuube…
If that is what a regular outdoors booty rave is, then I can’t wait to see what Carnival will be like…