This is Brazilian music and sounds nothing like seventies funk, despite sharing the same name. Produced locally and on a limited budget, it lacks the polish of Western music but has a raw, infectious vigour. A mish-mash of influences, it uses the electronic beat of late eighties pop, with bass thuds and slithers of techno. An off-key aggressive rap is often sung live.
Tubarao, whose name means “shark” in Portuguese, says a good funk DJ is able to manipulate the clubbers’ feelings of anger.
“A DJ gets to know his crowd because we play the same balls every weekend, so we understand the rhythm of their fighting,” he explains. “I take great pride in controlling my crowd. If I see they want blood, I’ll put on a fast funk tune. But if they need cooling, then I’ll soothe them with something for the girls.”
The gangs even have their own chants, recorded by their leader.
“The more you listen to funk,” says Andre, “the more you . . . love it. It has a hard, intense sound. Great for fighting. It’s our own music, about our people, about death and drugs. The things we know.”