What are Baile Funk Parties?

2 min

521 points

Baile Funks started in the 1960′s as parties for dancing in the Favelas and poor areas of Rio de Janeiro.  In the beginning, most of the music that was played was soul and funk from the USA.  Years later, more and more different genres started influencing the music.  At the end of the 80s, Baile Funk music changed and somehow emerged as Electro, Freestyle, and Miami Bass.  Miami Bass has been one of Baile Funk’s strongest influences with many Brazilian DJ’s sampling the music during their visits to Miami.

The first Funk Parties in Rio

The first bailes in Rio were originally started to give the people with less social conditions a possibility to enjoy themselves celebrating in their leisure time. With black American music like funk and soul, a new black movement in Rio (Movimento Black) was also started.

After a short time, the scene was growing and names like Toni Tornado and Gerson King Combo built up the national soul and funk scene.  The parties were a kind of phenomenon that only took place in unprivileged areas, far away from the city center and the touristy south zone areas.

Every weekend there were more than 500 balls in the suburbs. With the perspective of dancing and enjoying the music, the parties became more professional as events and the first sound systems were born.  Along with technique and djs, sound systems like Furacão 2000 (which originally were djs for rock music from Petrópolis) or Soul Grand Prix, from Rio, started to organize these events reaching a capacity for more than 5,000 people.

The philosophy of the black consciousness was lost with the start of the disco era.  From the end of the 70s, the so-called “Baile Soul” became strongly influenced by new styles of sounds and the balls had its first rebirth.  The sound of Baile was forever changed with electronic sounds and the first raps from New York´s ghettos like Grand Master Flash or Africa Bambaataa, (already using loops and scratches) as well as in Florida the Miami Bass movement with artists like the famous 2 Live Crew, (using a lot the string basses of the Roland T808).

Producers like DJ Marlboro started playing this new kind of sound, at the beginning of the 80s, which were still very underground in Brazil.  As the audience neither understood English nor knew the name of the songs or lyrics, they named it baile funk.  The songs were given Portuguese names only from their way of understanding.  So, for example, the song “Do wah diddy” from 2live Crew became called “Melô da mulher feia” (melody of the ugly women).  DJ MARLBORO had the idea to remix the song and have a Brazilian singing (Abdullah) to it and produced the first Brazilian Miami Bass, which turned out to be a hit and was played in nearly every radio station in Rio.

At that time the middle class also started noticing the existence of these kinds of events/sounds because of the radios.  Violence in some bailes, the influence of drug dealers, and organized criminals, as other bad media publicity started to put a lot of pressure on stopping these balls, so much that they even became forbidden for a while.

Funk parties nowadays

Nowadays there are Baile Funk parties all over Rio and in the rest of the country.  Brazilian artists also started to present this music worldwide.  In Rio it’s the main movement today, no matter what social class they were from, young people started to enjoy these parties and there are more than 700 events around the country every week.

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