By Chesney Hearst, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Cidade Maravilhosa is a place known for the cultural and ethnic diversity of its people, and the music varies and blends as much as the inhabitants themselves. Leo Justi, Apollo, and Dorgas are a part of a new batch of homegrown artists who are creating innovative mixtures of sounds that are influenced by and influencing Rio and beyond.
Leo Justi – The Rio born Justi crafts his own unique sound by weaving together Funk Carioca, a musical genre born in Rio’s favelas, with the international sounds of club music into a style he calls “Heavy Baile.”
“Heavy Baile is, I’d say, a club music style that takes baile funk and makes it more sophisticated, less raw, but maintaining its grit,” Justi told The Rio Times. “It takes elements from house and electro but the rhythm essence is always bouncy, African and it doesn’t get too straight. It’s not so repetitive as most club genres. It changes patterns faster.”
British singer-songwriter M.I.A. was immediately drawn to Justi’s sound after he connected with her through Twitter in 2011. The tweet he sent resulted in the two later collaborating on a remix of her song “Bad Girls” in India.
Justi eventually returned home and continued to hone his craft. He debuted his own material in August of last year with the release of his first single “Gaitero” and has since followed that with the release of “O Homem Mau” and its accompanying video, “O Homem Mau (Sniper Queen)” directed by Julio Secchin, also a music producer himself.
Justi signed with the label Waxploitation earlier this year in January is currently hard at work crafting new singles, mixes and an EP.
“Sniper Queen and Gaitero have put Leo Justi and his heavy baile sound on the lips of clubbers and tastemakers everywhere,” Waxploitation says of Justi. “With an [EP] due later this year, it won’t be long before the whole world knows about Brazil’s worst kept secret.”
Apollo – With his first single “Taste Of Your Lips” mixing electronic elements, pop and sung in English, the track produced by Leo Justi and its accompanying video directed by Julio Secchin marks an noteworthy debut for the singer known simply as Apollo.
Born in Paris but raised in Rio since the age of six months, Apollo told The Rio Times that his inspirations include the musical icons Prince and Depeche Mode and also the films of Alfred Hitchcock and Ridley Scott.
“I describe my music as pop. I consider it a general concept that gives me the musical plurality that I crave to have,” he said.
“His music is a mixture of the innate sensuality of the singer with his musical wisdom, which came from the cradle,” The Brazilian magazine NOO says of the artist.
Apollo’s single “Taste Of Your Lips” is available for download for free on his website and he is currently rehearsing his live show with no dates schedules yet.
Dorgas – After having originally made a name for themselves with their 2010 release of the EP Verdeja Music, The Rio based quartet Dorgas released their first full length album on Wednesday, May 15th through Vice Magazine.
Their self-titled nine track album is filled with the band’s fusion of sounds which they told The Rio Time are influenced by their collective like of “soft rock, fusion, jazz-funk, very sophisti-pop and smooth jazz.”
“Our sound is always difficult to classify, we have invented thousands of names to our sound, and obviously they were all flawed,” Dorgas told The Rio Times. “Nowadays we call it ‘sophistipunk’ due to the fact that we have an affinity for those sub-genres of music.”
They are scheduled to play at Comuna on Thursday, May 23rd and will also open for Jards Macalé at Studio RJ on June 26th.