It’s hard to imagine a time when baile funk fans were solely concentrated in the favelas that first gave birth to the Brazilian protest music. The genre’s gone global – but who tipped off Diplo in the first place? Rio de Janeiro producer Omulu aka Antonio Antmaper says he had something to do with it. “I feel a little responsible for this second baile funk world wave,” he says. “I first sent MC Bin Laden and Brinquedo songs to Diplo, and I think he introduced it to Skrillex, who made ‘Bololo Ha Ha’ known everywhere.”
This weekend in NYC there’s no need to get your funk secondhand. Omulu is bringing his party Arrastão to the city with headliners Marginal Men, the influential production duo behind long running baile funk festa Wobble. Also featured will be Omulu’s project with partner Glaucia Mayer IOIA, Brooklyn’s Banginclude, and New York City’s DJ Comrade. It’s not the first time that Arrastão has made its way to New York — in fact, it’s the fourth time the party will be playing in the city. Since the collective came to life two years ago, Omulu and crew have put a focus on bringing their vibes on tour around Brazil and internationally.
Omulu is one of the progenitors of rasteirinha, which for the uninitiated he describes as “the Brazilian dembow.” “Rasteirinha was born from the groove of traditional Afro-Brazilian rhythms such as pagoda and axé, adding vocals and samples from slowed down baile funk,” he says. On a trek through the producer’s canon you’ll come across both wavy Childish Gambino edits and last year’s innovative Baile Saboroso EP, a two-track collaboration with France’s King Doudou that manages to mesh the explosive aspects of baile funk with trap and dancehall steel drums. He and Glaucia are currently working on IOIA’s debut EP, the next step in the couple’s explorations of Brazilian music’s intersections.
For some, it’s a trip watching a movement they grew up with splayed across the globe. But this is a guy who has built a career on crossover, and when asked about the genre’s current boom, Omulu has nothing but positives to report. “Baile funk has this contagious beat, even people who do not know what it’s about dance to it,” he says. “Once I played baile funk at a festival in Antwerp and the arena was filled with young people getting crazy doing like, a mosh pit. It was insane.”
Arrastāo goes down August 5th at H0L0. Details here.