In Brazil, it's summertime. And right about now, the half-naked party masses of Carnaval are already rocking like Ultra Music Festival was an actual nation of millions.
Rio bass pounds through the favelas, echoes through the mansions, rolls across the mountaintops, shoots up the Gulf Stream like El Niño, and slams into Miami like a tsunami wave.
The party vibes in the city this weekend are off the fucking richter, and Miami's own Batuke Samba Funk are harnessing that energy into Friday, Saturday, and Sunday shows.
Here's what band leader Diogo Brown has to say about it.
Wasup dude. Staying busy?
Just got back from Jamaica with the band. We were doing a cruise.
Tell about the Carnaval...
This whole weekend is the Carnaval all over the world. And in Rio, the big party starts. We live here so we wanna represent it for Miami.
What's it like down there?
It's beautiful. Right now it's summertime. People are having fun and everybody is going out. People save money the whole year only for this moment. It's a big moment.
A lot of people?
Each school has about 35 different groups or more, and each of those groups has around 1,200 people in it; musicians, dancers, costumes. It's huge, it's huge. For us it's like a really big time. Basically it's 4 days to celebrate life, and that's what it's about.
Cool, what do you got going on here?
Here in Miami we have 3 different places we're playing. Three carnaval parties. Friday is Soho Beach House, very private, exclusive. Saturday night we gonna be at the Villa 221. They never had like such a big event at the place especially because its the art walk, they gonna be in the samba mood. There's gonna be batucada, mulattas dancing, capoeira, a little bit of our culture for the American people. And then on Sunday we do the same thing at this place on Boteco Miami, one of the best Brazilian little spots in Miami. We gonna be there making the party happen.
What's the band sound like?
Samba funk, the name says it all. A mix of 70's James Brown, Gap Band, that vibe, with a mix of African Brazilian samba. We make sure to capture the roots. We Brazilianize the American music, and Americanize the Brazilian music. It's all from the same place. Africa.
How many pieces in the band?
Big band. Like 8 or 9 pieces.
• We have horns: sax, trumpet, trombone,
• Two percussionists, very Brazilian, tambourine, surdo, that's the drum with the big bottom, like the bass drum, a lot of instruments from the African influence, then we have a drummer with like a regular American drum kit.
• A brazilian guitar called Cavaco, a tiny little 4 string guitar, that's super rhythmic, very percussive
• And then we have three vocalists, me, playing bass, singing, and musical directing, then one female vocal, and one male vocal
Batuke means when you play any place, the act of playing anywhere, any type of rhythm, even just making a beat on a tabletop with your hands.
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The band has been busy as hell right?
We're doing good, we played the whole entire 2012, and we did a lot of things. We played the Haiti Jazz Festival in Haiti, several festivals in Miami, the Carnaval On The Mile, a lot of private events, and we're regulars at the best clubs in Miami like PAX, The Stage, Bardot, Van Dyke, and all the places that everyone knows.
We're recording an EP, 5 tracks that we gonna be releasing on Itunes and Amazon, and getting ready to shoot our first music video. We're going to Rio de Janeiro right after these shows to capture some Carnaval and natural environment and then coming back here to shoot the rest.
All independent or you got a label?
We are looking for a label that can do this kind of music, not somebody who wanna change what we do. We been talkin' to labels, but right now we're completely independent. Thanks to KCC Productions, we're saving money from the gigs and stuff to be able to keep it moving.