Invited to be the representative of the indigenous cause at the opening of the 2014 World Cup, the young Werá Jeguaka Mirim became known worldwide for raising a banner with the word demarcation, which was hidden on his shorts. Shortly thereafter he would make news again, now known as Kunumi MC, one of the main voices of Brazilian indigenous music.
At just 19 years old, Kunumi already has two albums released: the debut EP, My Blood is Red (2017), and the album Todo Dia É Dia de Índio (2018). In addition to being a rapper, he is also a writer and has two published books - one with his brother, Tupã Mirin, called Contos dos Curumins Guaranis and another that he wrote alone, Kunumi Guarani, thus maintaining the family tradition, since he is the son of the philosopher, Guarani writer and speaker, Olívio Jekupé.
Kunumi's music is powerful, a tool to talk about the problems of his people and to spread his ancestral culture. Aware of her role and her responsibility, she prefers her music to be called native rap, which makes perfect sense.
“The music sung by the indigenous peoples of the villages is very important to carry a message to society, about what these people want to pass on to the people of the city. Bro MCs, the first indigenous rap group in Brazil, opened this portal so that we can be together with them. I believe that they, Oz Guarani, and I are the main ones, because we started a long time ago. It was very difficult for us to show and disseminate to society because the press did not care much about us, which was just beginning. For them, this seemed like nonsense, but for us this song sung by indigenous peoples is a mission. When we sing, we do it with great faith, hoping that one day everything will get better, because our people have suffered since 1500 with the invasion and theft of lands that were once ours. Today we just want to demarcate an area so that our children can live, that our women can teach stories, and preserve our culture. It is in our hands, of young people, and I try to carry that message. I sing with feeling, it is not a song sang intellectually. I didn't study at a good school, I didn't go to college, but I know that we suffer a lot because of the knowledge that my people, since ancient times, suffered violence, massacres, a lot of bad things, I'm sad and I try to express that in rap ”, says Kunumi.
In addition to the aforementioned indigenous artists, Kunumi is also influenced by classic RAP names such as Racionais MC’s and Criolo, with whom he recorded the song Demarcação Já – Terra Ar Mar. So far, Kunumi has also released three other singles: Xondaro Ka´aguy Reguá, Moradia de Deus and Força de Tupã.
“When I sing rap, I believe it is important not to lose my essence because rap is not indigenous, but we like it and it's not a problem to use it. The problem is if we do something bad about what we like. Technology, for example, is not bad. Bad is not knowing how to use, to use for evil. We use technology to preserve and further strengthen our culture. When I sing in Guarani, I believe that along with my voice, behind me is all my ancestry, the ancestors giving me strength to fight all day and carry this very strong message, that we need help. We are a happy people, everyone here knows each other in the villages, but we know that many relatives there in Mato Grosso, in the north of the country, are in need of much more, as they are still suffering and little media shows this on TV. So when I sing rap in Guarani it is very important. A lot of people think that the indigenous people no longer have their language, that there are no people in São Paulo, but they are there preserving the culture, the language and their customs ", he says," It is very good to sing in my own language, because the words have power. Today I don't just protest against the system, but I do shamanic music, praying music, Dwelling on God in my raps, it's a song of strength, thanksgiving, gratitude, a song that talks about being, where that being lives and divinity, the divine strength that nature has, that the world has, that we have. All this thanks to Nhanderu, Each one has a name, we call him Nhanderu, who is our God, but he is the same strength. Whoever invents names is the human being, but the divine strength is the same. It is good to sing in my language to show that everyone has their own language, this is native rap, ”he explains.
In 2016 Kunumi was the protagonist of the documentary My Blood is Red, produced by the British Needs Must Film, which took the artist to several indigenous villages throughout Brazil to get to know the reality of peoples of different ethnicities. One of these meetings was with leader Sônia Guajajara. Throughout this trajectory, he can witness the violence practiced by ruralists, loggers, miners and politicians against indigenous people. In parallel, Kunumi meets Criolo, one of the most important rappers in the country, who blesses and thrills him in a meeting of two giants of different generations.
“I like rap a lot because it is a story told, it has to do with our culture. The indigenous people have always had art, music mainly sung in their rituals with drums and maracas, and I have not lost that essence, I like to sing protesting, but besides being a rapper who sings to the world, I am a very spiritual person who believes much in the divine force, in our being and in nature. Without it we could not live. If the human being destroys nature, we cannot live. Let's take care. In my rap I tell a story about how it happened from 1500 until now. Many people talk about indigenous futurism, but for the indigenous to live, to be strong in the present, he remembers the ancient stories told by our ancestors, our ancestors that are still told today by our healers. They are ancient, millenary stories, that there is all our way of life to live in the present. We look to the past to live in the present and the future we leave in God's hands ”
And the future promises. With visibility and recognition that crossed borders, Kunumi is preparing the second album, which will be released by Natura Musical. Right now he is in the process of composing the tracks and beats. The album production will be signed by him in partnership with the musician Rod Krieger.
During the 2020 edition of SIM São Paulo, Kunumi MC spoke about his work in a conversation with Ciça Pereira, who had the participation of his father, the writer Olivio Jekupé. This interview is available at the Expo Hall of Varanda Budweiser, here on the SIM portal. Remembering that to attend you must purchase a SIM Community subscription, or acquire a credential Catch Up, with which you also have access to all the content of SIM São Paulo until January 31st.