Funk carioca, better known in these parts as “baile funk” has been the ruling soundsystem party sound of Rio de Janeiro for decades. But it looks like the music’s future is in trouble.
As webzine Cluster Mag reports in an article titled “Tá Tudo Errado!” The Future of Funk in a Pacified Rio by Greg Scruggs, the open-air favela raves that nurtured funk carioca are becoming a thing of the past as a special police force known as the UPP invades and occupies downtown favelas in an attempt to clean up the drug trade before the barrage high-profile international events hits town (World Cup 2014 and Summer Olympics 2016).
Scruggs has been living in and out of Rio for the last six years as a record producer, student and researcher, and has recently been keeping a close watch on the effects of the “pacification” program on funk culture. In the article, he writes:
“But UPP has had one largely indisputable impact: shutting down bailes. When the cops move in for good, they most definitely pull the plug on the sound system for any “community baile” financed by local narco-traffickers. The rub is that it also signals the end of a free party for hundreds, if not thousands, of local youth who have nothing to do with the drug trade and just want to have a good time in their own neighborhood. Already, it has led to conflicts with police. Last August, angry funkeiros threw bottles and rocks at cops who cut the sound on a baile that broke the 2 am curfew. In the wee hours of Good Friday, a baile in Rocinha—Rio’s largest favela and one undergoing an particularly uneasy transition—became another flashpoint when crowds scuffled with police and set piles of trash on fire. Nine have been murdered, including one police officer, the first pacification cop killed in the line of duty since the military led the invasion of Rocinha last November.”
For more on the future of funk, check out the full article.