Indigenous culture is complex and diverse, and perhaps that is why it seems to be something incomprehensible in its entirety, and perhaps it is. Mainly for a society that still has a look full of stereotypes, a colonialist and outdated vision.
According to the 2010 census, Brazil has just over 800 thousand people who declare themselves indigenous, distributed among 225 people and almost 60% live in rural areas or in villages, which shows the attachment and importance of land in their lives , a recurring subject among artists of the new indigenous music.
In last year's edition SIM São Paulo promoted a discussion table with the theme Contemporary Indigenous Music from Brazil and Latin America, with mediation by DJ and cultural producer PatrickTor4 and participation by rapper Brisa Flow, by radio host Marcos Julio Aguiar, Anapuaka Muniz Tupinambá, curator of the YBY festival, and Argentine musician Diego Perez.
In recent years, these artists, mostly young people who reaffirm their identity through their art, began to draw attention to the quality of their music, but still suffer from a lack of representation on the Brazilian music scene. “The biggest challenge for these artists has been to publicize their work and people's lack of knowledge about contemporary indigenous music. There is still a lot of prejudice in the music sector and the lack of recognition of these musicians ”, says Renata Tubinambá, journalist, co-founder of the first indigenous radio in Brazil, Yandê, and curator of the Contemporary Indigenous Music Festival (YBY), which brought together 14 artists in its first edition at the end of last year in São Paulo.
Xondaro MC, rapper and founder of one of the first native rap groups, OZ Guarani, says he faced many difficulties: “In 2014, the village repossessed, and no one from the media showed up. Hence the idea of forming the group to talk about demarcation, invasion, disrespect and prejudice. And we drew attention, the media appeared and we reversed the reintegration, and then the group continued and we have been together for five years. Even today, it is difficult to get support when it comes to issues of struggle. There is still prejudice against indigenous people. At the beginning of my career it was very complicated, nobody had ever heard of us, and access to the internet here in the village is not good, we need to leave. Today we do shows even outside of São Paulo, but in the beginning we even had to borrow money to go for some rides. ”
The rapper Kunumi, one of the most talked about names of this generation, also says that at the beginning he faced difficulties “The beginning was very difficult to publicize our work, the press didn't care about us, it seemed silly to them, but for us this song sung by indigenous people is a mission, to bring a message to the people of the city, when we sing we do it with a lot of faith and hope that everything can improve because we have suffered since 1500 with the invasion and the theft of land that is ours and today we just want a little piece to live ”
The singer Brisa Flow, one of the main names of contemporary indigenous music, comments that he often still has to deal with pre-conceived ideas, “Having an indigenous body does not mean that I will have the attitude of a shaman or chief, but when we will perform another proposal, like rap or mpb, people expect what's inside that stereotype ”.
But it seems that this behavior must change, mainly because the musical quality of this new scene has spoken louder, and with maturity each artist gains space, reaffirms his style and places himself in a more appropriate way. Although many themes are common in their lyrics, there is a clear difference between the work of artists who still live in villages, such as rapper Kunumi, or the duo Oz Guarani, with whom he lives in an urban environment, such as Brisa Flow itself , whose work is more identified with the Indigenous Futurism movement, a term that although widely used, is still poorly understood and has recently generated many discussions
“I think this term has a beginning in a futuristic cultural and artistic tradition, it has always been a very academic movement. As soon as these academics started to observe art as a decolonial tool, that sculptures and our arts already told our story by itself and that we would not need to be studied by Europeans, this movement starts to join with art. And in the north of the continent that we live in, other native peoples began to paint pictures in which they imagined a new world, and indigenous futurism begins to be created. And there is also the question of technology, how to use it in favor of indigenous peoples. Indigenous futurism is a way of not letting the feeling of native peoples die in the past, as an attempt to say that they no longer exist. ” says Brisa Flow, but he also thinks that this term should be used with caution: “I like the term no because of the idea of keeping us beyond the past, but I don't like that idea of putting us in a place of people who end up making more alliances with ideas that already exist. ”
Rapper Kunumi, who lived and grew up in a village, prefers to call his native rap music: “As a writer I talked about what I know, what I see, live and feel, so I started writing native stories early, telling how our way is of life, and rap is no different, I talk about what I know, and not about other people that would be indigenous rap, there is a difference. Me, Brô MCs and Oz Guarani didn't study anything, we just spoke the truth of what we live, each one talking about their culture, I can't talk about what I don't know, just about my customs, my village. In my rap I pray, but at the same time I tell this story, from 1500 until now. A lot of people talk about indigenous futurism, but the indigenous one, to live and be strong in the present, remembers the old stories, told by the ancestors, by the healers, but it is not a story made of now, it is something ancient, there is all our way of life to live in the present. We think about the past to live in the present and the future we leave in the hands of God. ”
Contemporary indigenous music is multiple, with various nuances, styles and different musical genres, Renata Tupinambá from radio Yandê gives some examples: “There is funk from Nory Kayapo and Mokuka Kayapo forró. The rappers Bro Mc’s, Oz Guarani, Sallú Kuikuro, Matsi Waura Txucarramãe, Wera MC. Gean Ramos Pankararu on MPB indigena, and Wakay in traditional contemporary mergers. Dayu Puyanawa, Huni Kuin Women, Márcia Kambeba, Djuena Tikuna and many others. ” In addition to the styles, there is also the diversity of the language, with songs sung in Portuguese, Kayapó and Guarani, with a variety of themes ranging from protest songs to romantic and spiritual songs.
The space for indigenous music is gradually increasing. Kunumi recorded a song with Criolo, Brisa Flow is already a known name, Djuena Tikuna was the first indigenous to star in a musical show at Teatro Amazonas, but there is still a long way for these musicians to be recognized for their talent and to reach the mainstream. We hope that this is possible, because in addition to the need for an indigenous role in music, these songs bring love, sincerity and passion as we have not seen in our music for a long time.
We prepared a playlist with the artists mentioned in the article for those who want to know this scene so rich and diverse.