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New voices from Brazil

brasilobserver - Aug 21 2015
Jaloo (Photo: Divulgation)

(Leia em Português)

A lot of good, creative and interesting people have gained ground in alternative clubs of Rio, Sao Paulo and Porto Alegre, but I had to make a selection of only four


By Ricardo Somera

The new crop of British musicians and bands can be found on the coolest radios in the world such as BBC 1, Absolute Radio and KEXP, or through player lists like Spotify and Radio. But to see what’s new in Brazil, it is difficult to count on Brazilian radio. While we hear o the foreign radio stations artists like Jack Garratt, George the Poet and Formation – but on Brazilian radio we will find only “sertanejo universitário” (a kind of country music), funk from São Paulo and sometimes Gun’s and Roses (yes, G&R in 2015!). So I decided to write about new names of the independent scene in Brazil. A lot of good, creative and interesting people have gained ground in alternative clubs of Rio, Sao Paulo and Porto Alegre, but I had to make a selection of only four: Jaloo, Rico Dalasam, Russo Passapusso and Johnny Hooker.


From the metropolitan region of Belém, capital of Brazil’s Northern state of Pará, is one of the coolest new features. Jaime Melo, known as Jaloo recently released his EP Insight, with four songs including a cover of “Oblivion”, by the singer Grimes. Local media likes to associate Jaloo to tecnobrega – the most popular rhythm in Pará – but for me the boy is more like M83 from the Amazon. My favourite song is “Odoiá (In Your Eyes)”, a pleasant surprise to free the mind.


Representative of queer rap in Brazil, the talented Rico Dalasam is challenging rap stereotypes with his songs protesting in favour of a cause little explored in national rap: the gay scene. With hits like “Aceite-C” and “Riquíssima”, Rico has put everyone to dance opening shows of famous names such as Racionais MC’s and Criolo, as well as participate in TV programs. Talent and scolding abound to this new name of Brazilian rap.


Front man of BaianaSystem, the musician from Bahia Roosevelt Ribeiro de Carvalho, better known as Russian Passapusso, is a mixture between Nação Zumbi, Otto and Criolo. Until the day of his show (sold out!) on a rainy Tuesday in São Paulo, I had no idea who he was. Luckily I got a ticket with a friend because it was one of the richest and amazing performances of the year. The strength of musicians like Curumim and Saulo Duarte adds a lot to the sound and vibe of the songs. “Flor de Plástico” was sung (twice) in chorus by fans, and “Anjo” were the big highlight of the presentation. I became a fan!


The multi artist John Donovan (aka Johnny Hooker) is the David Bowie of the tropics (more lizard than a chameleon, which is great). An actor of cult movies, bar singer, Johnny surprises us by his diversity of references, ranging from Madonna to Caetano Veloso. Since I met the artist I see a mixture of Ney Matogrosso, Felipe Catto and Cassia Eller. This perception is reinforced in the romantic-tacky-cult album Eu Vou Fazer Uma Macumba pra Te Amarrar Maldito!, which took first place in the Deezer and Itunes Brasil at the time of launch and is already a new classic of Brazilian Popular Music. From Recife to São Paulo, from the sadness to the knockout.