Heavy Baile: an act, a label, a party and collective broiling fervently in Rio’s musical melting pot. From the favelas to the clubs, their sound subverts the country’s long tradition of Funk Carioca and Baile Funk with harder, intoxicating fusions that fit the country’s challenging and oppressive times. As memories of the World Cup and Olympics fade, Brazil’s unemployment, homelessness, drug addictions and violent crimes rise.
Heavy times, call for heavy music: Heavy Baile. Comparable to the nascent stages of London’s grime, Lisbon kuduro or Durban’s Gqom Oh, Heavy Baile is the sound of a generation both releasing frustrations and finding total escapism in creativity. At the centre of it are musician Leo Justi and MC Tchelinho.
With over a year of regular parties across key Brazilian cities Rio, Sao Paulo and Fortaleza, Heavy Baile levelled up with the start of a whole series of releases last month with the visceral, body-slapping favela-firing C.E.O.N. Tribal-primed for the dancefloor’s darker hours, a gritty reflection of the current climate, it set the foundations and a firm statement of intent: Heavy Baile are serving truth by the gallon and you’re going to down it in one. Now comes the chaser: Catuaba
Written with DJ Nemo Artilheiro (one of favela funk’s most respected artists from Rio’s Niteroi district) and Major Lazer collaborator Arthur Marques, Catuaba pays homage to Brazil’s most popular party drink. Sliding down smoothly like all the best beverages before warming you from the soul and loins upwards, it’s a much funkier brew to their debut C.E.O.N. Here we find Heavy Baile in pure party mode as a plucked and playful bassline punctuates a groove that’s ripe for Tchelinho’s savage spitting, the soulful counter vocals and a tight weave of sense-blurring instrumentation as horns and vocal echo uncontrollably. Energetic, loose-limbed and spontaneous… Similar to the effects of the drink itself.
Essentially a Brazlian Buckfast – one of Brexit Britain’s finest economy drinks of choice – Catuaba is a fortified, wine-like drink that offers the same headiness and intoxication but with added alleged stimulating, aphrodisiacal and erectile side effects. Made using tree barks indigenous to the Amazon, and sold at bargain prices, it’s become the party fuel of choice for the country’s disenchanted youth and favela communities who live in the thick of an ongoing war on drugs where police and gang shootouts happen almost daily.
The second Heavy Baile single to emerge from Rio’s most exciting collective, Catuaba is another key party cut direct from Justi and Tchelinho’s dark, electronic trove and sets us up for the next imminent instalment. With several years of solo activity under his belt prior to Heavy Baile, Leo Justi has worked with M.I.A and Phantogram and DJ’d across South and North America and Europe and his music has been supported by key tastemakers NEST HQ. His union with MC Tchelinho, a favela rapper he met battling on a street corner, was the creative spark that formed Heavy Baile. Precision produced beats designed to do nothing but blaze the dance and raw, honest lyrics that flow like a free bar…. Make ours catuaba.
Heavy Baile (Leo Justi + MC Tchelinho) Catuaba. is out now via Waxplotation.