BAILE ROTTEN: In Brazil, Edu K, who comes to Enormous Room on Monday, is a punk icon.
That rumbling, booty-shaking bass, the whip-thwap drums, the familiar melodies with Portuguese lyrics. It’s called baile funk, and if you’ve been to a hip DJ show lately, you’ve probably heard it. By now, Brazil’s trendy tune, also called “funk carioca,” has established itself as the naughties’ dominant emerging international genre. From DJ Diplo’s hipster army to European TV commercials to Britney Spears’s own husband, the scene spawned in the slums of Rio de Janeiro has become ghetto-fab and worldwide. Its music, inspired by the rhythms and the sounds of Miami bass, is raunchy and visceral and smacks of sex. Yet there are only a few DJs and MCs who have left Brazil to tour the world as Baile experts. Monday, one of them, Edu K, comes to Enormous Room in Cambridge supported by Beat Research, Boston’s experimental party-music party.
If Diplo is the evangelist of baile funk, Edu K is the ambassador: for 10 days, he’s spreading good cheer and sexy beats up and down the East Coast. Although many Brazilian producers and DJs speak little English and rarely think of the US, Edu K is an unabashed fan. “I’m totally hyped about coming to the States!” he writes via e-mail. “To perform in the U.S. of A. is the fulfillment of one of my wildest dreams — I’ve been daydreamin’ of it since I was a punk kid in the streets!!! Yeaaah!”
A punk legend with his band Da Falla and an accomplished performer, Edu K (a/k/a Eduardo Martins Dorneles) was launched into the global eye by his Miami Rock 2000 CD, a tribute to the baile scene from the punks of Brazil. He became even larger when his “Popozuda Rock n’ Roll” entered the European market in the form of a TV commercial. The track, a heavy, Rick Rubin–style rock riff over baile beats and a catchy “Vai! Popozuda!” shout-along, had a life of its own, going from club to club to club. Eventually, renowned Belgian DJ team the Glimmers put it on a mix and from there it blew up.
“Baile funk is the new punk — mos def!” he continues. “In the sense that it’s an uproar from the lower classes and it’s fuckin’ raw and it’s some new shit comin from the underground to shake the mainstream. It’s got a lot of the DIY philosophy and methods as well, hehe!”
“If punk rock was about three chords and a bad singer, then baile funk is 100 percent the new punk,” writes Daniel Haaksman from Berlin. “The difference is that funkeiros take a loop, two samples, and a bad singer and put out a CD.”
Haaksman would know. As the owner of Man Recordings, he released Edu’s full-length CD, Frenétiko. He also compiled Rio Baile Funk: Favela Booty Beats, the best-selling baile-funk CD in the US. As a journalist and DJ, Haaksman plumbed the favela depths years ago to find the crucial tracks. The follow-up, More Favela Booty Beats, was recently released on Essay Recordings. Haaksman is accompanying Edu K as the touring DJ. He continues, “The thing about baile is: by nature, it’s a musical style that doesn’t know any boundaries. The basic attitude is, whatever is loopable or fits on the tamborzao beat can be included. It’s open to so many musical styles it can be mixed and mashed forever.”