favela funk

In Braaaazil, Rio de Janeiro, Sud America on November 10, 2010 at 5:09 pm

The funk parties that happen down at the base of the favelas on the weekends, especially the Sundays are raucous events, filled to bursting with people of all different skin tones.

They are sweatboxes. Pure and simple, muscled men roam sans tops, girls are dressed in the usual lack of clothes. Queue to pay for tickets to buy drinks, then queue to give tickets to man to get drinks. If you just want beer go to the man standing on the box for quicker beer tickets.

The girls dem bow! Dem bow, dem bow, dem bow. Girls dancing to the favela funk shake that ass, then continue to shake ass as they bend knees and shake it ever lower and lower and lower. They stand and then repeat when the mood hits them or a particularly big tune comes out of the wall of speakers. And I do mean a wall of speakers, it is so loud conversation isn’t possible, though people do, exchange names, numbers, email addresses, saliva.

Tourists stand out, we are the sore thumb, but the Carioca’s don’t mind, if your fair and female you are given all sorts of tactile man attention, if your dark and female you get all sorts of male tourist attention. It is courtship at its most shortened, lack of words creating a straight line technique, smile, hold, dance, kiss. Repeat for the rest of night.

The music blurs into one beat filled mix, the only change is when the favela dwellers signal their approval for this song or another. There is no threat or hint of violence, we are far from the men with the gold plated machine guns, who circulate high up the hill.

But the fever that pervades the place, the electricity that circulates, the thunder of the bassline, it is impossible to talk, impossible to think, just imperative that you dance, however you dance, the intro’s are short and the songs are long, the beats rolling, rolling, rolling. And when the doors are thrown open at the end of the night and you are spat out into the street, wondering which bus to take to get back into town, you can’t but feel bereft.

These parties are throwbacks to what we no longer have, warehouse raves, filled to the rafters with people who want to dance, and to shake, and to make new friends/lovers. Easy come, easy go. Everything is easy apart from the beats..

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