Fair Trade Funk
Amidst the brouhaha over anonymity, I need to finally announce a project that I've been working on for nearly two years. I've been hush hush here, not sure exactly how it would turn out, but now it has arrived! Pancadão do Morro: O Funk do Flamin Hotz, Já É? (Big Hits From the Hill: Flamin Hotz Funk, You Down?)
It's a compilation CD of 22 tracks that give a cross-section of funk over the last couple years. More importantly, you can stamp it as "fair trade funk." Every artist has a contract in Portuguese, was paid a sum upfront, and will receive royalties. I can vouch for this personally, as I'm the one who has been orchestrating it all for my friends over at Flamin Hotz Records. Moreover, the CD itself is a gorgeous six panel deal, c/o BustBright, with cover art by funk legend Tony Minister, spot gloss lettering, and two booklets -- featuring lyrics in Portuguese and English, artist bios, and photos. There is no anonymity here.
So put some names and beats with faces, add some well-mastered tamborzão to your collection, and support the hardworking MCs and DJs down in Rio: proceeds are going their way. Trust me, I'll be sending the remittances myself.
Buy it here, here, here, here, here, here, or here. Prices, currencies, and locations may vary!
The promo 12", Funkeiros e Progresso EP, is still available at TTL but going fast for the vinyl fiends, I'm sure.
By way of some explanation, I got in touch with Flamin Hotz back in the spring of 2006 after purchasing a copy of the Sou Funk EP and subsequently asking them how such a project came about. The response was stark and simple: the whole thing was a bootleg job. The artists didn't get paid, probably didn't even know the record existed. It had already stirred things up on the Hollerboard by the time I got ahold of Casi, the label head (of a two-man operation) and he was feeling pretty low about it.
He proposed the idea of a new release done properly, which coincided perfectly with my desire to, in some fashion, repay the folks in Rio who had been kind enough to take me around, answer my questions, and introduce me to other people in the movimento funk.
Unfortunately, nothing happens in Rio that doesn't happen face to face, thus two years is really just a few months' effort of when I could actually be there to move it along.
But the EP is out, the CD is out, and hopefully it will be the beginning of much more funk moving its way up north through ethical channels.
As for making amends, I did try to reach the artists from Sou Funk and pay them retroactively on FHZ's behalf. In the case of MCs Júnior and Leonardo, residents of Rocinha whose house abuts the Two Brothers building (in a city of 13 million, in a community of 250,000, what are the odds . . . ?), I pulled it off: