Thiago Elniño’s New Video ‘Diáspora’ Is A Search For His Afro-Brazilian Roots

By 10 March, 2016

Similar to the origins of rap in the US, renowned Brazilian rap artists such as Gabriel O Pensador and Criolo incorporate social and ethnic issues into their lyrics. The topics range from social inequalities and racial tensions to ethnic and religious backgrounds. Thiago Elniño from Volta Redonda in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro is one of the up-and-coming rappers in the Brazilian music scene and recently published the video for his song “Diáspora”. Directed by Fabricio Mangel and produced by Vinicius Nave, Elniño not only reconnects but continues along his prior work with his African background.

The Brazilian religious influence is apparent throughout the videoclip. The song deals with Elniño’s connection and upbringing with Umbanda, a religion whose beliefs and faith originate in African spirituality that was brought to Brazil by African slaves, mixed with Catholic, Amerindian and spiritual influences. The music video takes place in the house where Elniño first came across Umbanda, in the interior of Rio state.

To reinforce the Umbanda themes throughout the track, rhythmic drums provide the base under which the rapper lyrically goes back to his African roots. In an aggressive tone, Elniño makes references to Orixás (natural elements representing different vibrations and strengths from nature, often thought of as Umbanda deities) and facts regarding Afro-history. It almost sounds like a rap-version of an extended Umbanda prayer. Beautiful film-making featuring Umbanda symbols accompany the central message of Elniño: the search for one’s ethnic roots, a message he proclaims throughout the track: “Busque sua raiz, vai, ou morra pela raiz” (look for your roots, go, or die for your roots).

“Diáspora” will be the first single from the EP Filhos de Um Deus Que Dança (Children of a God Who Dances) and is planned to be released in 2016. Have a glimpse of the promising album:

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