Review Kafundó Vol. 2: Roots and Bass Music from Brazil

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More than 20 years ago the so-called favela funk (or funk carioca) scene grew out of a few basic elements: banging 808 drum beats – indebted to the Miami Bass scene – short berimbau-looping patterns, porn samples, salacious minimal lyrics, unusual / expansive sampling sources and a general disdain for copyright were the key elements that defined the scene and propelled it to worldwide recognition.

Nowadays however, those aesthetics have paved the way for a much more layered, local-yet-global, multicultural affair. Founded by Maga Bo and Wolfram Lange, and backed by NYC-based label Dutty Artz, Kafundó, which means a far away and isolated place in Brazilian Portuguese is at the very core of Brazil’s dance music revival.

Syncopated snare-drum patterns still propel many of these tracks, yet, many elements resonate with contemporary bass scenes around the world, highlighting the growing connection between like-minded producers and the growth of young scenes like zouk bass, moombah, twerk and such, albeit this record is a much more perennial and everlasting affair than momentary soon-to-be-faded overhyped-genres.

Rapid-fire raps, full of slang, delivered in triplet/sextuplet-meters bring to mind trap or hyphy [a name for gritty, energised hip hop from San Francisco]. Traditional pandeiro and caxixi rhythms dance naturally on top of Jamaican-influenced riddims. Call and response choruses and hooks get lost and traded over a dubby haze of maconha-drenched reverb and echo. Loosely-quantized mallets and synths take us to the Afro-Lusitanian / Angolan Kuduro vibes of Principe Records’s productions: another contemporary example of well-meshed afro-diasporic music, where, instead of colliding, the technological and traditional elements fuse to express a viewpoint on strongly original, forward-looking peripheric dance music cultures.

Stand-out tracks include the berimbau-fuelled ragga “Ninguém Dorme” by Sacassaia and Ras Kakaroto,
and “Ajeumba” by Maurotelefunksoul that fuses portamento-led synths with candombe-like claves and vocoder-in-portuguese vocals.

A well-curated and strongly-recommended record if you want to feel the pulse of Brazil´s vibrant contemporary dance music scenes.

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