The Brazilian music world has been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons. After a deadly nightclub fire that took place Jan. 27 in the southern city of Santa Maria, authorities have been cracking down on safety violations across the country in advance of the annual Carnival season, which begins this week. Some cities have scaled back or even canceled their Carnival festivities.
With the tragedy in mind, we turn to a vibrant and exciting music community inside the vast metropolis of São Paulo. The scene there caught the attention of radio producers Marlon Bishop and Julia Furlan, both of whom have contributed to WNYC. They join us to share some of the artists, songs and creative spirits they encountered while making an hourlong Afropop Worldwide documentary called "The Soul of São Paulo: Rock, Rap and Future Music from the Endless City."
Here are just four of the artists that Marlon and Julia cover in their documentary.
Mallu Magalhães, "Sambinha Bom"
Julia: This is one of the songs I really like from her new album, Pitanga ... She's what I would say is a new version of MPB, or Brazilian popular music -- an artist that is young and new, but very much pushed by the real muscle of the Brazilian music industry.
Criolo - Não Existe Amor em SP
Marlon: The hip hop artist Criolo was one of the most important artists to emerge from São Paulo's independent scene ... He put out this album in 2011 called Nó Na Orelha, or "Knot in the Ear." It was kind of a breakthrough album because he mixed hip hop with Afrobeat, cumbia, jazz and trip hop. All sorts of different genres came together. This song's title means "Love Does Not Exist in São Paulo."
Lulina - Balada do Paulista
Julia: Lulina is from Olinda, Pernumbuco in the northeast, and she came to São Paulo. This song is making fun of the way Paulistas talk, including their very particular slang and their verbal tics.
Bixiga 70 - Grito de Paz
Marlon: Afrobeat has recently taken off in Brazil, which is funny because there are already so many Afro-Brazilian styles to draw on. But people are just now discovering [Nigerian bandleader] Fela Kuti because of Internet penetration and YouTube. Bixiga 70 is a big instrumental band with a lot of horn players doing a Latin American meets Brazilian meets Afrobeat instrumental music.