By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On the night of Friday, January 10th the American news program “Nightline” featured a piece about one of Rio’s own in the expatriate community, Don Blanquito. First featured in The Rio Times in 2010, this California native came to Rio in 2004, and immediately fell in love with the city and its culture.
Born Alex Cutler, the now Rio resident and Carioca Funk performer, first journeyed to Brazil in search of adventure and new experience, but found much more in a life of music.
Blanquito, whose stage-name roughly translates to “Sir Whiteboy”, a nickname given to him by an ex girlfriend’s Dominican brother since he first began rapping in Spanish, moved into one of Rio’s favelas in 2008. There, he fell in love with Rio’s Carioca Funk and decided to try his hand at the genre.
Now rapping in fluent Portuguese, Blanquito, has developed a name for himself, so much so that he caught the attention of the popular ABC new series “Nightline,” who then produced the piece; “Don Blanquito: Bringing the Funk to Brazil’s Rough Music Scene.”
“‘Nightline’ was a huge personal trophy and an amazing, legitimate experience for me as well,” Blanquito told The Rio Times. “Being on National TV in the states on a hot show is a big deal and the best part of it all was my eighty-six-year-old Grandmother calling me at 1AM to tell me how much she loved the segment.”
“It is great for my friends from the states to truly understand what it is that I’ve been doing all of these years and to be able to inspire people from my own country to go after what they believe in,” he continued.
Although he says that Carioca Funk is too “aggressive (beat wise)” to break into the U.S. mainstream in its “purest form”, Blanquito added; “I think that mixing it up with some hip hop or easing into the urban U.S. markets is the most realistic way to go about it, however there are clearly demographics and niche markets for every kind of sound.”
In Rio, Blanquito seems to have found his niche, ranking up hits on his YouTube videos and regularly performing in the city with a pagode band named “Grupo Puro Acaso.” In terms of upcoming shows Blanquito explained; “The funk world is so spontaneous and sporadic, there’s nothing planned as of now, shows just pool up randomly.”
One thing that is definitely scheduled in Blanquito’s future is the birth of first his child with the Brazilian woman he did find after all, fell in love with and married.
To learn more about Don Blanquito, see his website here.
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