Elza Soares Gets a Seductive Remix from Omulu

The ecstatic raspiness of 79-year-old Brazilian samba legend Elza Soares makes for a consuming, hip-swaying listen in its own right. But it turns out that her gravelly vocals paired with gorgeous guitar riffs are dream fodder for a remix. Brazilian electronic producer Omulu delivers the goods with a bass-heavy take of Soares’ song “Mulher Do Fim Do Mundo.” Omulu’s track will be featured on an upcoming remix album of Soares’ 2015 album The Woman at the End of the World, alongside producers such as Gilles Peterson, Laraaji, and more. Soares is also going on an international tour this summer, including appearances in New York and Barcelona—not bad for a musician in her seventh decade of performance.

Omulu’s remix of “Mulher Do Fim Do Mundo” is full of surprising sounds. Soares’ throaty pleading demand a match in intensity as the momentum of the drums builds. Omulu explained that he aimed to stay true to the track’s Brazilian roots on his remix.

“This album is one of the best I’ve heard in recent times,” said Omulu in an email to THUMP. “With my remix I tried to preserve the original mood of the song but mixing it with funk beats from São Paulo—jongo and pagoda —and heavy basses from the 808.”

You can listen to the “Mulher Do Fim Do Mundo” remix below, and look out for The Woman at the End of the World remix album on June 30 2017, which you can order on bandcamp here. And if you’re in New York, you can catch Elza Soares in person, performing tonight (May 19) at the venue Town Hall for the Red Bull Music Academy Festival.

Exploring the Fevered Experiments of Brazil's Most Overlooked Musicians

In 1985, the Brazilian people brought to a close 21 years of a right-wing military dictatorship, which had started with the CIA-supported assassination of a left-wing president. That leader was João Goulart, a man who had the nerve to attempt to nationalize the banks and mineral resources of the country, while leading a campaign for nuclear disarmament across South America.

The fall of the dictatorship coincided with an explosion in experimental new music across the country, as artists explored the capabilities of newly available electronic instruments, while drawing on elements of field recordings from the Amazon, and of course jazz, in an attempt to reimagine the musical identity of Brazil.

In my own (admittedly quite limited) knowledge of the country’s music, there was a big murky vague space between the Tropicália and Música Popular Brasileira movements of the 60s and 70s that spawned artists such as Os Mutantes and Gilberto Gil (who, incidentally, was exiled by the dictatorship), and the global pop bangers of the 90s that arrived with the monorail of globalization.

It turns out that my negligence was shared by most. The music made during this era was fervently experimental, and perhaps unsurprisingly, wasn’t a hugely successful sound internationally. Even in Brazil, much of the music made during this time had been overlooked to say the least.

In the last few years however, there has been more and more outside interest in this music, which has culminated in the recently released compilation Outro Tempo: Electronic and Contemporary Music in Brazil (1978 – 1992), which was thrust into the world by the good folks over at Music From Memory, who’re doing the Lord’s work, as usual.

For musicians, artists and writers in Brazil, the dictatorship had been a time of extreme political repression, a period known as “vazio cultural” (cultural void), where artists such as Milton Nascimento resorted to recording music without words in order to sidestep censorship. Listening to Outro Tempo however, there is a sense of real creative freedom, every artist wildly different to the next, from the proto-vaporwave bubbling synths of openers Piry Reis, to the Tai Chi-inspired music of Priscilla Ermel.

To find out more about this weird, undefinable music, I spoke to the man who compiled the record: the Madrid-born, London-based producer John Gómez.

THUMP: Hi John! Tell me, how did you first come to this music?
John Gómez: I had always loved Brazilian music, but I found the Maria Rita song from the record while in Japan, and it sounded like nothing I’d ever heard. What attracted me to it originally was that it was a collaboration with a group called Uakti who made their own instruments, made of tubes and stuff like that, who had collaborated a lot with Philip Glass.

Although all the instruments were actually acoustic, it sounded like electronic music in the rhythms. I bought nine copies of that record online and gave them away as gifts, but now they sell for a fortune. From there I started doing more research just to see if this was a one off, searching for records with similar textures.

I was looking for something quite specific, a sound that maybe was in my own head. I started wanting to put it together in a certain way that would be exciting to people who listen to electronic music and ambient music as well. After that I ended up getting in contact with a lot of musicians there over the internet in 2015, and then I went to Brazil in around February 2016.

How popular was this music within Brazil at the time?
It’s hard to assess, because I think there are differences. A few of the releases were put out through Egberto Gismonti’s label Carmo Records, who was really a central figure in all of this. I don’t know how many were pressed of these records, but given that they had his affiliation, they would have sold pretty well. There were others though that were self-produced in really small numbers, as little as 500 or 1000 copies.

The song on the record by Andréa Daltro for instance, was made in a way like an early form of crowdfunding. On the cover of one of her records there is a note saying that it is a ‘dependent production’. When I asked her what she meant by this, she explained that she had depended on friends—she couldn’t afford studio time, so she approached friends to help her fund her studio time in return for a voucher, which they would then be able to cash in for a copy of the record once it was made. Those copies are mostly sat in the houses of her friends I suspect, but a friend of mine was recently offered one from a collector in Japan for 600 euros, people pay a lot of money for these records now.

The thing is though, when I was talking to Egberto Gismonti about this originally as kind of over-looked music, he was saying, “well, actually I’ve had a 40 year career and sold hundreds of thousands of records—what do you mean?”

Some of the artists are more successful, others really not very much, and many were quite shocked about someone from London turning up on their doorstep wanting to put out their music.

There seems to be a real counter-cultural ethic to the music, both in the way that it is made and the way that it sounds.
There is a slightly DIY feel to a lot of it. There were groups like Cinema and Os Mulheres Negras who had a really conceptual pop edge, they were living in a big arts scene in Rio, and were quite mocking of institutional success. I’m mindful not to overstep the significance of the possibilities of creating music within the dictatorship however, and the freedoms that came after it. Music was produced throughout the dictatorship, it certainly wasn’t as if it was impossible, but there were responses to these conditions of course.

For me, it was tricky to bring it all together. I found a sonic connection between all of these artists, but then I needed to consider what the narrative was, and slowly I began to see dialogues between the musicians.

Some artists also had more of a political edge than others of course, and some were very vocal, but all felt suffocated by the dictatorship. Fernando Falcão, who is the only artist from the compilation who has passed away, was a member of a radical left wing group, and had to leave the country for fear of his own life, and he recorded his albums in Paris.

I think the countercultural elements however were more about responding to different problems in Brazilian culture at that time. The timeline is loose, it’s not so much a pre and post dictatorship thing that you can easily split up.

So while the dictatorship ended in 1985, the compilation begins in 1978. Do you feel like there was any big change in the music after the fall of the dictatorship, and what do you know about the censorship that happened within the timeline of the dictatorship?
In the dictatorship, every song that was published needed to be approved by the government. If you go through the Tropicália in the ’60s, even though a lot of those songs were essentially protest songs, the musicians had to invent these codes of expressing themselves in order for the songs to be recorded and published. But in the stuff towards the end of the dictatorship, there was a departure from these long allegories of oppression and a focus on specific themes, such as the state of the Amazon, towards deforestation, and towards the rights of indigenous populations.

Up until 1988 indigenous populations had no rights at all anywhere in the Amazon, and Brazil led the way in that. There was definitely a new world opening up with new problems after the dictatorship, because there was a huge financial crisis too, it was essentially the beginnings of globalisation. There were loads of new social problems arising, and the music definitely alludes to them.

Outro Tempo: Electronic and Contemporary Music in Brazil is out now via Music From Memory.

Why Throwing Raves In Forbidden Spaces Is An Act Of Political Resistance

Photos by Alexandre Furcolin Filho

It was 4AM in late-September in Sao Paulo. Some new friends and I were walking along a makeshift path bounded by a grass-covered train track and a line of abandoned boxcars. A thickset bouncer guarding a gap in the middle of the wall checked our IDs and guided us inside. Moments later, we emerged into a rave happening in an abandoned train yard. Tagged wagons were scattered across the grounds. Some lay dark and dormant; others were alight with mini-parties. En masse, the caravan formed a maze-like perimeter around several DIY stages and dancefloors bumping Brazilian-inflected techno.

The party’s organizer, Mamba Negra, has become an integral part of the So Paulo underground. Mamba co-founder Carol SchutzerAKA Cashuplayed her minimal, Afrobrazilian-influenced techno at Dekmantel So Paulo in the festival’s first international edition this year. Established in 2013, the female-run party collective/record label throws parties in neglected, often unregulated spaces in the cityand they’re often willing to circumvent the law to do so. Mamba events are more than just parties; they’re also guerilla tactics, occupations of contentious spaces that highlight the city’s inequalities and factious politics.

On the night I was there, Mamba (legally) occupied an abandoned North So Paulo spot called Nos Trilhos (“On Rails”). An “electronic jam session” outfit called Teto Pretocomprised of Mamba co-founder Laura Diaz (aka Carneosso), Willliam Bica, and two of So Paulo’s premiere producers, L-cio and Zopelarwas the night’s bellwether. They mixed tribal drums and bulging synths with horn players, dancers, and vocalists, and all night we danced beneath the black pillars of an abandoned train track.

So Paulo held its mayoral election the morning after the Mamba party I attended. Incumbent Fernando Haddada staunch advocate of public artwas ousted by the businessman-turned-politician, Joo Doria (best known for hosting O Aprendiz, a Brazilian version of The Apprenticesound familiar?). Since he took office on January 1, Doria has already declared illegal the city’s heavy metal-inspired street writing, Pixao (aka pixo)a crude, scrawled tag distinct from the more decorative art of graffiti. (He reneged after legal and cultural outcry). Still, underground artists are fearful that elements of rave culture could become targets as Doria continues to scour Haddad’s policies.

Below, Laura discusses the socio-political importance of artistic occupation in Sao Paulo spacesfrom busy streets in poor neighborhoods to abandoned buildings that shelter the impoverishedand how Mamba is endeavoring to bring art to, and raise awareness of, the marginalized communities inhabiting them.MacEagon Voyce

Laura Diaz: ” should be happy! They’re calling us to play at them; they know that we’re fresh. They need us. We could be united, but they’re trying to persecute us for something that obviously isn’t the problem. We’re not rolling in money. We’re not rich with these parties. It doesn’t make sense.

The party you were at was the first and, I think, the last Mamba at Nos Trilhos. It’s a really nice place, but it’s really expensive. We’re trying to find other places to host the partiesusually old factory buildingsbut it’s really hard to find them.

It’s just really retrograde, because when we share the experiences of our parties with people from Germany, from France, from the USA, people say ‘oh my god this is so good’, because every city needs this. Every city should be able to accept this kind of movement. And these guys here are trying to destroy us, but we have nothing to be destroyed because we began when everything was already destroyed.

So we don’t have one place to be Mamba. We’ve got many places. This is something we didn’t choosethe city chose it for us. We would love to stay in one place to get the experience you can see when developing for years, but we don’t think this will be possible in the near future.

Doria won’t do anything about closing these parties; he’s just going to make the owners of these buildings charge us more. We have to get out of Facebook because Facebook is like the police. It’s really hard, and it’s already been really hard, but we’re not giving up so easily. We just want to assure people and the public that we’re going to do this and they’re going to do this with us. We didn’t choose to be here, but now we fight for it. Only a city like So Paulo could produce what’s happening here. It’s out in the streets.”

Follow Mamba Negra on SoundCloud

Follow MacEagon Voyce on Twitter

Music From Memory Are The Reissue Label Unearthing Obscure Treats And Treasures

Founded over in Amsterdam a few years back by record-obsessives Abel Nagengast, Jamie Tiller, and Tako Reyenga, Music From Memory has become one of Europe, if not the world’s, most cherished imprints. Specializing in unearthing oddities and obscurities from around the globe, MfM perform a simple servicefind brilliant, strange and strangely brilliant music from unexpected sources, spaces, and places, and serve it up in an incredibly aesthetically appealing packagewith aplomb. Every new release is a must-buy on sight.

This year alone they’ve re-issued material by the likes of Spanish new age practitioner Suso Siz, forgotten Birmingham-based avant-dreampop group the System, and Japan’s very own Dip in the Pool who’s “On Retinae” is a strong contender for best record ever. With that in mind, we decided to have a quick chat with Jamie Tiller about the MfM ethos, obscurity, and shadow cabals of rare record dealers.

Oh, and the Music from Memory team have very kindly slid an exclusive track our way. Below, you’ll find the jungle-abstractions of “Kiu” by Andra Daltro, taken from the label’s forthcoming Outro Tempo: Electronic and Contemporary Music from Brazil, 1978-1992 compilation, which is one we’re looking forward to immensely.

THUMP: Firstly, can you tell us a little about what led to the founding of the label? What’s your musical background, formative experiences, all that jazz.
Music from Memory: The label started after we had been in touch with a couple of artists; Leon Lowman and Gigi Masin to source copies of their LP’s. Both were privately released so it made sense to try track them down and see if they might have a few spare copies still knocking around. Not many people were looking for these records at the time so we got some copies and got got talking to them both a bit more. Both artists it turned out had an archive of their music from cassette and CD as well as vinyl and also unreleased material which turned out to be amazing. And the idea just really grew from there; hey this has to be shared.

This might be a thick question but I’ve always wanted to know how you source the records you releaseis there some shadow underground cabal of dealers you’re in cahoots with?
If only there was definitely a shadow underground of dealers haha. We’ve definitely made some good contacts and people who’ve helped us track down certain records we maybe couldn’t track down due to geographical location. But even those people we’ve connected with mainly through digging in the real world and connecting with like minded souls from all over the planet; sharing information, sharing records. I think we started maybe delving into certain types of music before these things became let’s say the territory of Discogs sharks. We’ve all I would say had a somewhat restless attitude to discovering new music and maybe pushing our own taste in new and interesting directions. There’s so much amazing music still to be discovered and we tend to be interested more in what’s still out there and sharing some of our finds or finds of those in our circle of friends than any kind of supply and demand service reissuing hyped and sought after records.

Do you feel like MfM is part of any specific scene?
I don’t really know that we do. I think we’re all quite adverse to feeling part of a particular scene and we always like to turn left when everyone else starts turning right. It’s amazing how quickly something can turn into a cliche of itself and you see that with many ‘scenes’ of people let’s say where one or two people’s idea or ways of playing music develop into a scene and quickly everything around it becomes a dogma or a cliche where everyone blindly follows the same to the point where everyone around that scene all starts playing the same records, wearing the same clothes and even saying the same things.

I mean we do come at a lot of this music maybe with dance music ears and much of our support comes from those interested or involved in dance music. But then for the most part we aren’t putting out contemporary dance music whatsoever. Though of course with our 12″ series of course we’re definitely into the idea of some of the tracks being something with dance floor potential. On the other hand I think we all really enjoy the cross over potential of some of our releases to reach out to those who might listen to indie music and come very much at the music from another perspective or people having come more from a funk and soul background getting switched on to our label.

Who does the artwork for the releases? And, again, is there a kind of internal logic for it?
The artwork has been by David McFarline, an Irish designer, and by Steele Bonus an Australian guy. They are two people deeply into music and records themselves as well as being great designers. A connection to the music and the sensibilities then has been really important.

What’s the record you’d love to reissue more than any?
We could tell you, but then of course we’d have to kill you haha. No honestly, there are definitely a few artists we would love to work with on reissuing some of their work but to tell you here we would be massively shooting ourselves in the foot because we’d then have ten others label frantically trying to track them down to do the same thing which wouldn’t make the process any easier! And as I said we’re much more interested in finding our own way and music close to us rather than fighting it all out with those who seem in a race to put things out with little thought as to why they might put that music out. We have lots of releases lined up which we’re really looking forward to sharing with people so I guess actually those are the ones we’d most like to reissue!

Josh Baines is THUMP’s UK Editor and he’s on Twitter

Music From Memory Are The Reissue Label Unearthing Obscure Treats And Treasures

Founded over in Amsterdam a few years back by record-obsessives Abel Nagengast, Jamie Tiller, and Tako Reyenga, Music From Memory has become one of Europe, if not the world’s, most cherished imprints. Specializing in unearthing oddities and obscurities from around the globe, MfM perform a simple servicefind brilliant, strange and strangely brilliant music from unexpected sources, spaces, and places, and serve it up in an incredibly aesthetically appealing packagewith aplomb. Every new release is a must-buy on sight.

This year alone they’ve re-issued material by the likes of Spanish new age practitioner Suso Siz, forgotten Birmingham-based avant-dreampop group the System, and Japan’s very own Dip in the Pool who’s “On Retinae” is a strong contender for best record ever. With that in mind, we decided to have a quick chat with Jamie Tiller about the MfM ethos, obscurity, and shadow cabals of rare record dealers.

Oh, and the Music from Memory team have very kindly slid an exclusive track our way. Below, you’ll find the jungle-abstractions of “Kiu” by Andra Daltro, taken from the label’s forthcoming Outro Tempo: Electronic and Contemporary Music from Brazil, 1978-1992 compilation, which is one we’re looking forward to immensely.

THUMP: Firstly, can you tell us a little about what led to the founding of the label? What’s your musical background, formative experiences, all that jazz.
Music from Memory: The label started after we had been in touch with a couple of artists; Leon Lowman and Gigi Masin to source copies of their LP’s. Both were privately released so it made sense to try track them down and see if they might have a few spare copies still knocking around. Not many people were looking for these records at the time so we got some copies and got got talking to them both a bit more. Both artists it turned out had an archive of their music from cassette and CD as well as vinyl and also unreleased material which turned out to be amazing. And the idea just really grew from there; hey this has to be shared.

This might be a thick question but I’ve always wanted to know how you source the records you releaseis there some shadow underground cabal of dealers you’re in cahoots with?
If only there was definitely a shadow underground of dealers haha. We’ve definitely made some good contacts and people who’ve helped us track down certain records we maybe couldn’t track down due to geographical location. But even those people we’ve connected with mainly through digging in the real world and connecting with like minded souls from all over the planet; sharing information, sharing records. I think we started maybe delving into certain types of music before these things became let’s say the territory of Discogs sharks. We’ve all I would say had a somewhat restless attitude to discovering new music and maybe pushing our own taste in new and interesting directions. There’s so much amazing music still to be discovered and we tend to be interested more in what’s still out there and sharing some of our finds or finds of those in our circle of friends than any kind of supply and demand service reissuing hyped and sought after records.

Do you feel like MfM is part of any specific scene?
I don’t really know that we do. I think we’re all quite adverse to feeling part of a particular scene and we always like to turn left when everyone else starts turning right. It’s amazing how quickly something can turn into a cliche of itself and you see that with many ‘scenes’ of people let’s say where one or two people’s idea or ways of playing music develop into a scene and quickly everything around it becomes a dogma or a cliche where everyone blindly follows the same to the point where everyone around that scene all starts playing the same records, wearing the same clothes and even saying the same things.

I mean we do come at a lot of this music maybe with dance music ears and much of our support comes from those interested or involved in dance music. But then for the most part we aren’t putting out contemporary dance music whatsoever. Though of course with our 12″ series of course we’re definitely into the idea of some of the tracks being something with dance floor potential. On the other hand I think we all really enjoy the cross over potential of some of our releases to reach out to those who might listen to indie music and come very much at the music from another perspective or people having come more from a funk and soul background getting switched on to our label.

Who does the artwork for the releases? And, again, is there a kind of internal logic for it?
The artwork has been by David McFarline, an Irish designer, and by Steele Bonus an Australian guy. They are two people deeply into music and records themselves as well as being great designers. A connection to the music and the sensibilities then has been really important.

What’s the record you’d love to reissue more than any?
We could tell you, but then of course we’d have to kill you haha. No honestly, there are definitely a few artists we would love to work with on reissuing some of their work but to tell you here we would be massively shooting ourselves in the foot because we’d then have ten others label frantically trying to track them down to do the same thing which wouldn’t make the process any easier! And as I said we’re much more interested in finding our own way and music close to us rather than fighting it all out with those who seem in a race to put things out with little thought as to why they might put that music out. We have lots of releases lined up which we’re really looking forward to sharing with people so I guess actually those are the ones we’d most like to reissue!

Josh Baines is THUMP’s UK Editor and he’s on Twitter

Listen To An Exclusive Guest Mix From Drum And Bass Legend DJ Marky

When it comes to drum and bass names don’t get bigger than DJ Marky. For the past 20 years or so, the Brazilian artist’s been thrilling crowds from Bangkok to Brisbane with his signature brand of hi-octane rattlers and whooshing bass-heavy rollers.

He’s also been a lovely dinner companion to THUMP in the past so when he offered us an exclusive mixa tantalizing taste of what anyone spending their NYE at the RAM party at the Brixton Academy, where he’ll be playing alongside Sub Focus, High Contrast and morewe nearly bit his hand off.

We obviously didn’t do that because we have a modicum of restraint and self-respect, so you can enjoy the mix below safe in the knowledge that Marky’s still got both hands. We’re all winners!

Head this way for more information about RAM NYE.

Listen To An Exclusive Guest Mix From Drum & Bass Legend DJ Marky

When it comes to drum and bass names don’t get bigger than DJ Marky. For the past 20 years or so, the Brazilian artist’s been thrilling crowds from Bangkok to Brisbane with his signature brand of hi-octane rattlers and whooshing bass-heavy rollers.

He’s also been a lovely dinner companion to THUMP in the past so when he offered us an exclusive mixa tantalizing taste of what anyone spending their NYE at the RAM party at the Brixton Academy, where he’ll be playing alongside Sub Focus, High Contrast and morewe nearly bit his hand off.

We obviously didn’t do that because we have a modicum of restraint and self-respect, so you can enjoy the mix below safe in the knowledge that Marky’s still got both hands. We’re all winners!

Head this way for more information about RAM NYE.

Here’s What Olympic Athletes Listen To Before They Compete For Gold

This article was originally published on THUMP Canada.

After years of training, countless early mornings and late nights, it’s finally time for athletes around the world to compete for Olympic glory. Before reaching this pinnacle eventwhich takes place this year in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from August 5 to 21these gold medal hopefuls can be found with headphones, choosing the soundtrack for preparation. For some, playlists are sacredas if the songs contain the secrets that have propelled them to this point. For others, music is essential to stir up the confidence to win. The music is a push factor against the demons of anxiety and nervousness before a competition.

From cycling to track and field, we spoke to a handful of Olympians from across the country to find out what they’re listening to as they prepare for the biggest international sporting event.

Mohammed Ahmed

Photo by Claus Andersen/Athletics Canada

Sport: Track and field

Hometown: St. Catharines, Ontario

Competing Event(s): 5,000 meters, 10,000 meters

THUMP: What’s your routinewhere and when do you listen to music?

I’m listening to music from the moment I get up until the moment I go to bed. Race days, you’re just sitting around waiting for your events, so you’ve got to do something to kill time. For me, there’s some music I have sentimental attachment toI grew up listening to it, it’s associated with a good memory from my childhood.

I have one playlist I’ve been listening to my whole career dating back to high school when I started running, which includes pump-up songs like Eminem’s “Lose Yourself,” Fort Minor’s “Remember The Name,” and Trick Trick’s “Welcome 2 Detroit.” I categorize the songs in my playlist as soul-massaging or heart-pumping, blood-flowing ones. The soul-massaging type of songs are like Mariah Carey’s “Hero,” Yolanda Adams’ “I Believe,” R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly,” and a lot of Tupac songs that are emotional.

Do you listen to the slower ones on race day as well?

I do listen to them on race day. You can’t just have the super pumped-up songs where the beat is so hard-hitting that you’re about to explode, you have to slow it down a little bit. A lot of the self-doubt that comes into your head, the slower songs kind of internally instill self-belief. They’re pretty much saying “You can do it, you can do it.”

Aaron Brown

Photo by Claus Anderson/Athletics Canada

Sport: Track and field

Hometown: Toronto, Ontario

Events: 100 metres, 200 metres, 4×100-meter relay

Is music part of your warm-up on race day?

The kind of music I like is very diverse. Depending on the kind of mood I’m trying to prepare myself for will dictate which playlist I use. Obviously on game day, it’s going to be different from when I’m in the car trying to relax. Most athletes like high-tempo music that’ll pump them up, but for the most part I like to play songs that put me in a mood that’s kind of calm but serious.

I have a playlist called “Game Time:”

Kanye West – Amazing
Drake – 9
Partynextdoor – Options
Drake – Charged Up
Drake – Summer Sixteen
Kanye West – Welcome To Heartbreak
Tricky – Past Mistake
Ricky Hil feat. The Weeknd – Nomads
The Weeknd – Initiation
Michael Jackson – Earth Song
Kanye West feat. Pusha T – Runaway
Rolling Stone – The Weeknd
Eiffel 65 – I’m Blue
Banks – This Is What It Feels Like
Yuri Kane – Right Back
Fetty Wap feat. Drake – My Way
Lil Wayne – Go DJ
Desiigner – Panda
Kanye West – Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1 & Pt. 2

A lot of those songs have come out in the past year, do you find you’re constantly finding new music to add to your routine?

Exactly, it’s always growing. For example, “Earth Song” was a song I was introduced to in 2009, when it was the theme for the world youth championship I was at “No One’s Here to Sleep” kick. That’s a pre-race one that gets me super focused and a little less jittery.

Do the artists change up depending on how you’re feeling?

It’s how I’m feeling that day, but the same general artists and the flow always stays that way.

Nicole Sifuentes

Photo by Dustin Johnston

Sport: Track and field

Hometown: Winnipeg, Manitoba

Competing Event(s): 1,500 meters

What’s on your playlist? What are your go-to songs on race day?

I’ve listened to the same six Christian rock songs during my warmup or on the way to the race since high school or junior high. To me, it’s familiar and it creates the right attitude in my mind, so there’s no reason to change it. A lot of the songs I chose based on the lyrics, which helps remind me of why I run and my purpose.

Do you have other songs that you listen to when you’re training on non-race days?

Honestly, I don’t use music that often. When I find it really helpful is every week I do a long run of about 13 miles, especially in the fall, which is treated like a hard workout. There’s a couple albums I have that suit my stride length and set a certain paceMaroon 5, Taylor Swift’s newest album, and Frou Frou. I know that if I put certain songs on then I’m going to run a six-minute mile pace. It’s kind of a weird tool but it’s definitely helpful to me.

Jonathan Briggins is on Twitter.

Meet Brazil's MC Bin Laden, The "Crazy Ass Kid" Who Just Wants To Come To America

Photos by Caio Kenji

Good luck finding MC Bin Laden. In the last month, between going on a European tour and preparing for his first-ever US appearance which was supposed to happen at MoMA PS1’s Warm Up and GHE20G0TH1K this week the Brazilian funk MC barely found time to rest, let alone talk to me. When we finally meet this past Wednesday, June 20, the face I’m greeted with isn’t the happy one he wears on his daily Facebook video broadcasts to his fans. If you’re thinking, “how is someone called Bin Laden going to be able to play in New York?”, you’re right, he won’t. His visa was denied… Again.

While MC Bin Laden’s name may suggest a dangerous individual with a penchant for causing controversy, he is far from it. In person, the 22-year-old comes across as an endearing, full time joker who alternates explicit lyrics with harmless songs about drinking from giant cups, all on the verge of the nonsense. With his hair dyed half blond and his ubiquitous social media presence, MC Bin Laden is the voice of a kind of Brazilian youth that the upper classand music mediaoften chooses to ignore, one that fights not for political changes, but for never-ending fun. Still, his recent visa problems suggest that there are lines that US audiences, or at least, American authorities, are not willing to cross, no matter how humorously presented.


Until Tuesday, June 19, Bin Laden, real name Jefferson Cristian dos Santos Lima, was all set to go to the States. His visa papers had been submitted by a representative in the United States, his bags were packed, and plane tickets bought. But at the eleventh hour, the American Consulate in So Paulo called and asked for one final exam: a drug test, something unheard of for Brazilians travelling to the US. It happened before with Kate Moss, Amy Winehouse, Nigella Laswon and Russel Brandall of whom had admitted to doing drugs before. Bin Laden, who is an evangelical Christianthe conservative-leaning, fastest growing religion in Brasilinsists that he is clean, but there wasn’t enough time to get the test done before his scheduled departure, leaving him no choice but to cancel the scheduled shows in New York.

“In a previous interview with the consulate, they kept asking me about my video ‘Bin Laden No Morreu‘ (Bin Laden is Not Dead), what did I mean with it. I told them it was only a joke, a move I made in the beginning of my career. I’m at a different stage. But I don’t think they got it,” the MC told me.

He is a fat kid who did good on life. There’s nothing to dislike.Marginal Men’s Gustavo Gomes

This wasn’t the first time Bin Laden’s been denied entry to the US. Last year, after meeting with Diplo in So Paulo in March and recording with the Portuguese producer Branko in August, he planned to do a mini-tour of the US. That plan fell through when his big entourage applied for a tourist visa. According to Bin Laden, the consolute rejected their application without providing a reason.

But Bin Laden thinks third time’s a charmhis team is already working on rescheduling the Warm Up show. “For me, it’s a dream come true to get to New York. I never thought I would do it, but now I have to go. And I will record a video there. Can you imagine? A Bin Laden video in New York? It’s gonna stop the world, man,” he jokes as he rushes to explain that he means no ill. “I just want to look to the Statue of Liberty and ask for some liberty for my jailed friends.”

Bin Laden’s music is characterized by controversial lyrics sung over a gunfire beat and sampled sounds ranging from motorcycles to the cocking of weapons and even barking dogs. In 2014’s “Passinho do Fara,” one of Bin Laden’s friends sets the rhythm by repeating “Tumba/ tumba/ tumba” nonstop while Bin Laden raps that “the pharaoh has left his tomb.” “The lyrics are nonsense, it’s like they are joking around, then someone has an idea and hours later that’s a song,” says Renato Barreiros, who directed two documentaries about funk ostentao in So Paulo. “But Bin Laden puts emphasis in the phonetics, so they became universal, you don’t need to understand Portuguese.”

Inside the Rare Record that Inspired a Brazilian Anthem, the Black Eyed Peas, and Gilles Peterson

While Bin Laden’s lyrics sometimes veer towards offensive bravado (“I’m fucking the famous girl from Instagram”, from “Famosinha do Instagram“), the young MC comes across as a humble kid who embraced his badass image to boost his career. Born to an impoverished family in the lower-income Vila Progresso neighborhood in easternmost So Paulo, he began rapping in his mid-teens with the stage name MC Jeeh 2K. In February 2014, he released “Bin Laden No Morreu” on the record label and management agency KL Produtora, whose owner Emerson Martins was quick to notice the way to song was catching on to the Fluxos, a kind of party common to the favelas. So Emerson told the MC to change his alias to “Bin Laden,” in order to capitalize on the single’s notoriety.

Known to members of its crew as “The Office,” the KL studio and label was founded in 2013, a time when funk ostentao was the norm. Funk ostentao grew out of late 90s early 00s funk carioca, a genre heavily influenced by Miami bass and spearheaded by DJs such as Marlboro. But while carioca focused on the DJ, ostentao shifted the spotlight to the MC, and was popularized by MCs like Guim, who sang about expensive shit and how awesome the lifestyle of the rich and famous is.

“, he’s always there for his fans and he fits with the global bass sound that has been appearing all over the world,” he says.

“His name is unfortunate, yeah,” Branko adds about the elephant in the room. “But that’s what happens: you choose a name in the beginning of your career and then you’re stuck.” That being said, Branko himself changed his name from J-Wow in 2013 because of Jersey Shore’s Jwoww. Upon reflection, Branko thinks the world is ready for someone with a name as controversial as MC Bin Laden. Gomes agrees: “He is a fat kid who did good on life. There’s nothing to dislike.”

Sitting in a couch in KL’s HQ wearing flip-flops and golden bling he brought back from Europe, Bin Laden’s sadness over his visa denial fades quickly. “You know, I’m a little bit sad today, but at the same time I’m happy because I’ve just meet some girls who travelled two hours to see me. I feel like I have a family in my fans and that’s all I need. This, and making music,” he tells me as he gets his phone to play me a new song he’d just recorded in his home studio. Before he presses play, I ask if it is about this whole New York episode. He says no and gives me a big smile. “But you just gave me a great idea.”

Later that day, Bin Laden posted a video to his YouTube channel with a cheap rhyme: “Aiaiaiai aiaiaiaiai aiaiaiaiai a Esttua da Liberdade eu no vou conhecer mais“”The Statue of Liberty I will meet no more.”

Meet Brazil's MC Bin Laden, The "Crazy Ass Kid" Who Just Wants To Come To America

Photos by Caio Kenji

Good luck finding MC Bin Laden. In the last month, between going on a European tour and preparing for his first-ever US appearance which was supposed to happen at MoMA PS1’s Warm Up and GHE20G0TH1K this week the Brazilian funk MC barely found time to rest, let alone talk to me. When we finally meet this past Wednesday, June 20, the face I’m greeted with isn’t the happy one he wears on his daily Facebook video broadcasts to his fans. If you’re thinking, “how is someone called Bin Laden going to be able to play in New York?”, you’re right, he won’t. His visa was denied… Again.

While MC Bin Laden’s name may suggest a dangerous individual with a penchant for causing controversy, he is far from it. In person, the 22-year-old comes across as an endearing, full time joker who alternates explicit lyrics with harmless songs about drinking from giant cups, all on the verge of the nonsense. With his hair dyed half blond and his ubiquitous social media presence, MC Bin Laden is the voice of a kind of Brazilian youth that the upper classand music mediaoften chooses to ignore, one that fights not for political changes, but for never-ending fun. Still, his recent visa problems suggest that there are lines that US audiences, or at least, American authorities, are not willing to cross, no matter how humorously presented.


Until Tuesday, June 19, Bin Laden, real name Jefferson Cristian dos Santos Lima, was all set to go to the States. His visa papers had been submitted by a representative in the United States, his bags were packed, and plane tickets bought. But at the eleventh hour, the American Consulate in So Paulo called and asked for one final exam: a drug test, something unheard of for Brazilians travelling to the US. It happened before with Kate Moss, Amy Winehouse, Nigella Laswon and Russel Brandall of whom had admitted to doing drugs before. Bin Laden, who is an evangelical Christianthe conservative-leaning, fastest growing religion in Brasilinsists that he is clean, but there wasn’t enough time to get the test done before his scheduled departure, leaving him no choice but to cancel the scheduled shows in New York.

“In a previous interview with the consulate, they kept asking me about my video ‘Bin Laden No Morreu‘ (Bin Laden is Not Dead), what did I mean with it. I told them it was only a joke, a move I made in the beginning of my career. I’m at a different stage. But I don’t think they got it,” the MC told me.

He is a fat kid who did good on life. There’s nothing to dislike.Marginal Men’s Gustavo Gomes

This wasn’t the first time Bin Laden’s been denied entry to the US. Last year, after meeting with Diplo in So Paulo in March and recording with the Portuguese producer Branko in August, he planned to do a mini-tour of the US. That plan fell through when his big entourage applied for a tourist visa. According to Bin Laden, the consolute rejected their application without providing a reason.

But Bin Laden thinks third time’s a charmhis team is already working on rescheduling the Warm Up show. “For me, it’s a dream come true to get to New York. I never thought I would do it, but now I have to go. And I will record a video there. Can you imagine? A Bin Laden video in New York? It’s gonna stop the world, man,” he jokes as he rushes to explain that he means no ill. “I just want to look to the Statue of Liberty and ask for some liberty for my jailed friends.”

Bin Laden’s music is characterized by controversial lyrics sung over a gunfire beat and sampled sounds ranging from motorcycles to the cocking of weapons and even barking dogs. In 2014’s “Passinho do Fara,” one of Bin Laden’s friends sets the rhythm by repeating “Tumba/ tumba/ tumba” nonstop while Bin Laden raps that “the pharaoh has left his tomb.” “The lyrics are nonsense, it’s like they are joking around, then someone has an idea and hours later that’s a song,” says Renato Barreiros, who directed two documentaries about funk ostentao in So Paulo. “But Bin Laden puts emphasis in the phonetics, so they became universal, you don’t need to understand Portuguese.”

Inside the Rare Record that Inspired a Brazilian Anthem, the Black Eyed Peas, and Gilles Peterson

While Bin Laden’s lyrics sometimes veer towards offensive bravado (“I’m fucking the famous girl from Instagram”, from “Famosinha do Instagram“), the young MC comes across as a humble kid who embraced his badass image to boost his career. Born to an impoverished family in the lower-income Vila Progresso neighborhood in easternmost So Paulo, he began rapping in his mid-teens with the stage name MC Jeeh 2K. In February 2014, he released “Bin Laden No Morreu” on the record label and management agency KL Produtora, whose owner Emerson Martins was quick to notice the way to song was catching on to the Fluxos, a kind of party common to the favelas. So Emerson told the MC to change his alias to “Bin Laden,” in order to capitalize on the single’s notoriety.

Known to members of its crew as “The Office,” the KL studio and label was founded in 2013, a time when funk ostentao was the norm. Funk ostentao grew out of late 90s early 00s funk carioca, a genre heavily influenced by Miami bass and spearheaded by DJs such as Marlboro. But while carioca focused on the DJ, ostentao shifted the spotlight to the MC, and was popularized by MCs like Guim, who sang about expensive shit and how awesome the lifestyle of the rich and famous is.

“, he’s always there for his fans and he fits with the global bass sound that has been appearing all over the world,” he says.

“His name is unfortunate, yeah,” Branko adds about the elephant in the room. “But that’s what happens: you choose a name in the beginning of your career and then you’re stuck.” That being said, Branko himself changed his name from J-Wow in 2013 because of Jersey Shore’s Jwoww. Upon reflection, Branko thinks the world is ready for someone with a name as controversial as MC Bin Laden. Gomes agrees: “He is a fat kid who did good on life. There’s nothing to dislike.”

Sitting in a couch in KL’s HQ wearing flip-flops and golden bling he brought back from Europe, Bin Laden’s sadness over his visa denial fades quickly. “You know, I’m a little bit sad today, but at the same time I’m happy because I’ve just meet some girls who travelled two hours to see me. I feel like I have a family in my fans and that’s all I need. This, and making music,” he tells me as he gets his phone to play me a new song he’d just recorded in his home studio. Before he presses play, I ask if it is about this whole New York episode. He says no and gives me a big smile. “But you just gave me a great idea.”

Later that day, Bin Laden posted a video to his YouTube channel with a cheap rhyme: “Aiaiaiai aiaiaiaiai aiaiaiaiai a Esttua da Liberdade eu no vou conhecer mais“”The Statue of Liberty I will meet no more.”

Inside The Rare Record That Inspired A Brazilian Anthem, The Black Eyed Peas, And Gilles Peterson

Photo courtesy of the artist.

If there was a Record Digging Hall of Fame, British DJ, radio host, and label owner, Gilles Peterson, would be an obvious inductee. Throughout his storied career “searching for the perfect beat” (as his Twitter bio describes his pursuits), the 51-year-old has always worked to play, present, and release records that feel like they’ve traveled the globe to get into your headphones. It’s been a theme in his apty-titled Worldwide radio show, as well as his label, Brownswood Recordings, where he’s featured his own collaborative album projects and dropped solo records from like-minded artists like Mala, Four Tet, through the years.

One longtime fascination Peterson’s had has been with the musical culture of Brazil. Dating back to the early 90s, he’s released a variety of compilations devoted to the South American nation, and in 2014 launched a new project, Sonzeira, dedicated to celebrating the country’s musical legacy. Through the release of Brasil Bam Bam Bam, his Sonzeira band paired contemporary electronic artists like Sam Shepherd (aka Floating Points) with important Brazilian musicians like Seu Jorge, Marcos Valle, and Elza Soares.

Now two shorts years later, Peterson has picked Sonzeira back up with for a new record called Tam Tam Tam Reimagined. The new record too focuses on uniting Brazil’s past and present, this time reimagining songs from the 1958 album, Tam… Tam… Tam!, by iconic Brazilian musician, Jos Prates, one of Peterson’s favorites. Released on Polydor when Peterson was a child, Prates’ album contained the track “Nn Imbor,” which would become the “prototype” for beloved Brazilian anthem, “Mas Que Nada,” a song that was popularly sampled by The Black Eyed Peas in 2006. In our latest installment of Diggin, Peterson shares the tale on how an adventure to Rio de Janeiro, and the house of Brazilian musician, Ed Mottathe nephew of late icon Tim introduced him to the record, and set the stage for his own new album.

Gilles Peterson: My favorite Brazilian record is Tam… Tam… Tam! by Jos Prates. The story of the record was lifted and opened up for me when I went to Ed Motta’s house two years ago in preparation for a recording session that I was going to do a few months later. It was a kind of preliminary session to see who I was going to work with on this album Brasil Bam Bam Bam, though I didn’t know it was going to be called that at the time. I went over there with Floating Points, who I’d planned to do a recording with alongside Marcos Valle.

We spent the afternoon at Ed Motta’s doing what you have to do when you go to Rio, which is go to lunch with Ed. We ended up at his house, and, in fact, one of the great privileges of life in my world is being able to spend any amount of time in didn’t need to license it.

So with the same sort of premise, I suppose, I felt it was something that I could use to create a version that I could play in the clubs. That’s the thinking behind my new record for the Sonzeira project, Tam Tam Tam Reimagined. My whole thing was I love the record, thought I could play it in certain places, but wanted to take it and rebuild it electronically. And that’s what the “reimagined” is about. I wanted to incorporate things like footwork and hip-hop, as I felt there were quite a few parallels with certain contemporary dance rhythms.

‘Tam Tam Tam Reimagined’ is out now on Bandcamp.

MC Bin Laden's US Debut Is Cancelled After Last-Minute Drug Test And Visa Issues

Photo by Wilmore Oliveira

A version of this article originally appeared on THUMP Brazil

Although he had his bags packed and ready to perform on Saturday at MoMA PS1’s Warm Up party series, as well as GHE20G0TH1K on Thursday night, MC Bin Laden was denied entry to the United States by the US consulate today (June 20). The Brazilian MC and rapper announced the unfortunate news on his official Facebook page earlier this afternoon. Talking to THUMP Brazil, MC Bin Laden said he submitted his visa paperwork on time, but at the last minute, was asked to do a drug test that there was not enough time to complete.

Bin Laden told THUMP Brazil that beyond the drug test requirement, the consulate asked many questions about his video “Bin Laden no morreu (“Bin Laden is Not Dead”), which seems to carry some implications. “I explained it was a joke and I’m at a different point in my career,” said the MC, who arrived in Brazil last Monday, July 18, after his first European tour.

Bin Laden’s visa to the United States was also denied last year. “Everything was ready, and I was excited. I never imagined going to New York,” he said. “But I’m still going. We will arrange this test, reschedule the concerts, and I will go there. And I will record a video in New York. Imagine, a Bin Laden video in New York will burst, bro.”