Sampling the Sense of Place in Baile Funk Music

  • Sandra D’Angelo
Part of the Pop Music, Culture and Identity book series (PMCI)


Baile funk1 is the first manifestation of Brazilian electronic dance music (Palombini 2010: 103; Sá 2007) to emerge from the slums area of Rio de Janeiro in the late 1980s.2 In terms of its cultural impact, this genre offers a strong sense of place: a pictorial place of art and dreams, a meaningful place of action and, finally, a utopic place for thousands of socially excluded youths living in harsh conditions in Brazilian shanty towns. The utopian dimension in baile funk music is articulated through its multilayered musical nuances including proibidão, regarded as a way to celebrate prohibited powers or romântico, which exalts a utopic world of romanticism and more recently, the utopian is represented in funk ostentação (funk ostentation). I approach the phenomenon of baile funk as a manifestation of a postmodern ‘loss of the real’ in the way its narrative can be read as a way to disconnect with the real condition of the favela. Through the process of transnational relocation of music, the genre can also be seen as a postcolonial conjointment in the way, baile funk ‘writes back’ (to borrow Ashcroft’s concept) to Europe and the USA to affirm its own sense of place, and to claim ‘the right [as a cultural product] to represent [itself] by juxtaposing colonial inscriptions’ (Fiedler 2007: 275).


Popular Music Brazilian Society Musical Genre Music Production Electronic Music 
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© Sandra D’Angelo 2015

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  • Sandra D’Angelo

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