sat 20/07/2024

CD: Karol Conka – Batukfreak | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Karol Conka – Batukfreak

CD: Karol Conka – Batukfreak

The freak from nowhere near Ipanema scores breakout hit

Karol Conka: Struggle and glory

It’s strange that probably most of the best-known Brazilian artists here are over 60 and from one state, Bahia - those being Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Maria Bethania and Tom Zé. Brazil is the size of Europe, though, and of course there are younger generations from other states. One of the leading new voices is Karol Conka, whose Brazilian electronica is as fresh as anything you are likely to hear this year.

Her breakthrough hit “Boa Noite” kicks off and ends the album (see video, overleaf) in which she raps that she is “totalmente livre e leve ao mesmo tempo que ferve” (“totally free and light but at the same time boiling") which gives a flavour of the Curitiba-based rapper and songwriter’s sound and attitude.

One of a handful of female Brazilian hip-hop artists to escape the underground, she makes her bid for international stardom with this CD. The influences are totally contemporary – from Azealia Banks to the brutally catchy, rolling “trap” beat that has emerged from the Deep South of the US to conquer the world. The album was launched in Brazil via the modish VICE magazine's local edition. Cue myriad downloads. 

She has worked with top names like Racionais MCs, hip-hop hero Criolo (another huge name that has emerged in the last few years) and label-mate Marcelo D2, as well as recorded with samba veteran Luiz Melodia. Produced by Nave, an old hand at working with Brazilian rappers, Konka collides hyper-modern funk and Afro-Brazilian beats.

At the same time - and this gives the CD its unique atmosphere - there are folk elements from the North-east, flutes and samples of ancient chants. Whereas we all love the singers mentioned in the first sentence, and further back the subtle sensuality of bossa nova, this album feels a more real testament to modern Brazil with Conka’s dreams of “struggle and glory”.

Overleaf: watch Karol Conka video of "Boa Noite"

The influences are totally contemporary – from Azealia Banks to the brutally catchy “trap” beat that has emerged from the Deep South of the U.S.


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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