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Rio de Janeiro Favela Funk Music

Favela Funk Music

A funk party in Rio

Rio de Janeiro Favela Funk Music or just Funk Carioca, Rio Funk, favela funk and, elsewhere in the world, baile funk, is dance music from Rio that comes from Miami bass. In Rio, this music is simply known as funk, although it is very different musically from US funk. In Rio, a "Baile funk" refers to the actual parties in which the music is played.

Origins of Favela Funk

In its origins, the funk rhythms were mostly loops of electronic drums from Miami Bass or freestyle records. The most common drum beat was a loop of DJ Battery Brainīs "808 volt", commonly referred to as "Voltmix", though Hassanīs "Pump Up The Party" is also notable. Nowadays funk uses the "tamborzão" rhythms (samples of Brazilian hand drums) along with the old drum machine loops. Melodies are usually sampled. While, older songs chopped up freestyle samples for the melody, if they had any, modern funk uses a set of samples from various sources, notably horn and accordion stabs. Funk music has always used a small catalog of rhythms and samples which almost all songs take from.

Carioca funk songs can either be instrumental or include rap, singing, or something in between. Funk is acknowledged as one of the first new genres of electronic, street dance music to have become important outside North America and Europe.

Funk in the international scene

DJ Diplo

M.I.A.īs single "Bucky Done Gun" brought mainstream international popularity to Brazilian Funk with her single released in 2005, and attention to a DJ called Diplo who worked as its producer.

Harshly criticised in the media, defenders argue that the funk is an authentic expression of low-income communities and that the sexual lyrics reflect sexual freedom in Brazilian society.

Usually, Brazilian funk artists make two different sets of lyrics for their songs: the "more appropriate" version, and the harsher one. The first version is meant to be broadcasted on the radio stations while the second one is played in dance halls and parties. The usual topics for Funk Carioca lyrics are explicit sex, funk parties, police force, and daily life in the favelas (the Portuguese word for slums).

However, it must be noted that although Funk lyrics talk about violence and crime, they do not advocate sexual violence as it may happen with hip-hop, for instance. Besides, funk carioca frequently makes references to sexuality but it often does so by employing euphemisms rather than of direct statements.



Due to its recent success in Europe, some have criticised that Brazil is exporting music of a much inferior quality compared to the Bossa Nova from the 1950s. It has also been said that some funk projects in favelas are financially backed by drug kingpins.

Funk and the favela communities

On the other hand the defenders of funk argue that the genre expresses the life of low-income communities and that the sexual lyrics do show the importance of sexual freedom in modern Brazilian society. Some sociologists have also suggested that such content reflects the life of the impoverished masses which lack social protection and better living conditions due to insufficient State involvement in the favela communities.

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