From Hip-Hop to Maracatu, This Compilation Explores Afro-Brazilian Sounds

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Now in its fifth iteration, Río de Janeiro-based producers and compilation masterminds Maga Bo and Wolfram Lange (aka SoundGoods) have delivered the latest edition of their Kafundó series. Aptly titled Kafundó Vol. 5: Afro-Brazilian Roots and Wires, the collection delves into the traditional, while also tracing how these “Afro-Brazilian rhythmic cells” have traveled across file transfers, car stereo systems, digital audio workstations, and beyond.

This volume centers on how the perpetual force of Afro-Brazilian music culture has intersected with urban music manifestations. In the context of tracing migrations of people and sound, Kafundó queues up a contextual home for bringing together what might seem like disparate musical movements. The compilation traverses multiple sonic territories, including the “roots music made by community groups in the Amazon, to candomblé groups, to established in São Paulo-based musicians, to DJs and MCs from the underground hip-hop scene.” As label head Bo told Thump in 2015, “We’re looking for people who aren’t just slapping a berimbau sample on top of a house beat.”

The result is 13 cinematic cuts delving into maracatu, samba, carimbó, and frevo rhythms that double as documentation of Afro-Brazilian communities’ resilience. The Kafundó series is named after a play on the Portuguese word cafundó, meaning a faraway or isolated place. As Bo puts it, “I often relate it to a non-geographic cultural space…these spaces are intrinsically linked to Afro-Brazilian culture and its expressions, like the candomblé religion, that were undeniably brought by the Portuguese slave trade and that have been kept alive – against all odds – by the African diaspora.”

A gift to the SoundCloud and Dropbox universe, the Kafundó release series deserves ample time to digest; each individual track is an in-depth exploration of cultural and rhythmic specificity in Afro-Brazilian culture, the roots that formed these communities and sounds, and their forward-looking, gloriously hybridized mutations.

Kafundó Vol. 5: Afro-Brazilian Roots and Wires is out now on Kafundó. 

Update, 10/26/2017, 2:30 p.m.: An earlier version of this piece erroneously stated that Kafundó is partnered with New York’s Dutty Artz label. The partnership has since ended.