Meet the Brazilian Musicians Leading Bahia’s Afrofuturism Movement



By: Felipe Maia

“In Salvador, we see the future in the representations of the past, so you are the future because you can keep the present renewed: the ancestrality is the future,” says Russo Passapusso, the lead singer and creative mind behind BaianaSystem. The band was born in 2009 and has become one of the main exponents of Brazilian music in the past few years. Layering Jamaican music into patterns and textures sourced from the black diaspora, Russo Passapusso and his bandmates have carved their place in the Brazilian music scene between the deliberately pop and the strictly alternative. The crowds at their gigs engage in death metal circle pits and West-African stomping, while chanting singing fervently to the band’s tunes.

I first met Russo when he was toasting as an MC for the local sound system MiniStereo Público. It was lemanja Day, a century-old celebration that takes place every February 2nd at Rio Vermelho beach, in Salvador.

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