BaianaSystem

AfroDubElectronicGuitarra Baiana

BaianaSystem, based in Salvador, Bahia, refers to itself as a system, referring specifically to a sound system, but goes beyond and incorporates graphic design, a light and video show. While these days they are playing at major festivals with their full crew in Brazil, China, USA and Europe, pulling out all the stops, in the beginning, partially in order to cope with and adapt the dificult economic situation of musicians in Brazil today, they had to be a bit more resourceful. The idea was to create an adaptable “system” or crew that could contract or expand depending on the location, the event, and, perhaps most importantly, the budget.

Parc de la Villete, Paris:

Cartaxo creates a whole world of images to accompany the music that range from masks that are handed out at the shows to magnets to CD art to video to web design and everything in between. Artistically, the concept combines diverse ideas and concepts into a whole which grew beyond the simple sum of its parts – bahian traditions of guitarra baiana, a miniature guitar with a very particular sound and style, bahian percussion (well known for it’s distinctive swing and subtle, micro-rhythms), dub bass, electronic beat production, the vocals/lyrics of Russo Passapusso and the distincitve graphic design of Felipe Cartaxo (Beto’s younger brother).

I first found out about them via the above youtube video where they performed a version of “Oxe Como Era Doce” (the same track that I remixed for this compilation) in an open air courtyard for a BBC shoot in Salvador. I was completely taken in and inspired by what they were doing – finally somebody who was really fusing afro-brazilian roots rhythms with elements of dancehall and dub! I excitedly checked their other videos and came across one showing them performing in Salvador on top of a trio eletrico and BNegão was sitting in with them. I fired off an email to him asking to connect me with BaianaSystem.

Robertinho (Beto) Barreto was the “comander of the space ship,” joked BNegão and passed me his email. I immediately got in touch with them, introduced myself and my work. Pretty soon, I was in Salvador, collaborating with Beto and Russo (even subsituting for Chico Correa, the DJ at the time, who was away) and playing a couple events in Salvador with them. I also got a chance to get the stems for “Oxe Como Era Doce,” to do a remix, just because I was excited about it – we had no plans to release it or do anything with it – it was just for the pure joy of it.

BaianaSystem has grown to fulfill a number of roles – within the context of electronic music, they have brought back the guitarra baiana from obscurity and introduced it to a new generation. They’ve successfully fused regional elements, instruments, lyrical concepts and visual references together with the concept of sound system culture (Jamaican, Bahian and Carioca (funk)) and contemporary electronic production. Their work firmly orients Afro-Brazilian music in the world of contemporary independent music as well as references international references within Afro-Brazilian music. The result is organic, fresh and unique.

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Tracks on Kafundó Records