- On the face of it this is just another song and video release like thousands that get released every week. The artists Duendy Primeiro and Maristela Muller have strong followings in Brazil, but they are not household names in Brazil or globally. So why is their new collaboration and single ‘Ela me encantou‘ so significant and groundbreaking?
To answer that question first we have to put the social and musical scene in Brazil into perspective. Brazil is a very segregated country. 80% of the people live in the favela (slums) and most of that 80% are black. The next time you watch Brazil playing at a world cup look at the crowd and see how many black faces you see representing Brazil a country where the vast majority of people are black. You will see very few and this is because there is a huge racial and social divide in Brazil. Most of the wealth and the resources are controlled by a few people and those people are not black.
The entertainment and music industry, unfortunately, reflect these divides. The media including Radio, TV and Press is controlled by the ruling elite and these people again are not black. Although black musicians, writers and performers are many in Brazil, the biggest artists and celebrities are again not black. Their music is very popular with the people but their presence, power and influence in the industry do not reflect this popularity.
The simple reasons for this are racism, poverty, class and social programming. Although things in Brazil are slowly beginning to change, the process is arduous and to put it into context Brazil is years behind countries like America or Europe with social integration and let’s face it, even those countries have a long way to go as recent and current events keep showing us.
So now, throw into that mix a collaboration between a Black favela dread rapper, writer and singer and Pop Princess from the other side of the tracks and you start to get an idea why this collaboration has caused such a fuss in Brazil. Artists like Duendy Primeiro and Maristela Muller rarely collaborate in this manner in Brazil. So the collaboration in itself is groundbreaking but the music and story take it even further. Ela me encantou is part one of a trilogy of songs these artists will be doing together and that trilogy will chart a relationship between a black man from the favela and a white woman who is not. It’s almost classic Romeo and Juliet. The outcome of that relationship will only be known when the third and final part of the trilogy of songs drops early next year. Will it be a love conquers all story, will it end in tragedy, or will they just fall apart because of all the pressures this type of relationship and union bring on people. We will have to wait and see. The first instalment ‘Ela me encantou’ which when translated means ‘She enchanted me’ speaks for itself. The saga commences with simple raw attraction.
It’s easy to overlook just how significant this collaboration and music is and could be. Maristela Muller had never been in the favela in her life until she came to record the song with EEDB (Eagle E and Doc B) at Doc B Studios in the Favela. It was not an easy thing for her to do but such was her love for the song and project that she overcame her fears and recorded in the Favela. The press and feedback for the collaboration and song so far have been 100% positive, something that was not expected. This means that maybe Brazil is ready for change, ready to move forward a little. It’s also fair to say that a project like this would be almost impossible to get of the ground and manifest if it did not come from a source that is not Brazilian. EEDB, Stevie Eagle E and Peter Doc B are a production and artist team that have been breaking boundaries in Brazil for many years now. What they present to media is viewed a little differently and perhaps given a little more latitude given the way they play fast and loose with revered melodies, beats and genres in Brazil. They are allowed to get away with things that most Brazilian artists can’t and they use this freedom to push the boundaries and deliver projects and music that are progressive and a little different. With their latest offering ‘Ela me Encantou’ and the whole Dread | Princess trilogy they are taken this latitude to a whole other level.
We spoke to Stevie Eagle E and he told us:
“When Doc finished the beat and Duendy put his flow on it we knew we had something a little special and we knew we needed a woman to manifest the ideas we had. At first, we thought about only all the black female singers and stars we knew who could work on this and out of nowhere we thought let’s bring Maristela in on this. We had worked with her before on other projects so we knew she could pull this off, also we thought that would really throw the cat amongst the pigeons. When we pitched it to her we had no idea if she would go for it for several obvious reasons. We knew this was all a bit new and pushing things socially as well as visually and musically. I am not going to lie we had a plan B and a plan C and neither were white. Thankfully Maristela just loved the whole thing, the whole project, the song, idea and she dived right in. Our message is simple ‘love can conquer all things’ racism, inequality, social differences. If we just give love a chance we will see we are all equal, all the same, all human beings. It’s nothing new and we are not trying to remake the wheel, we are just trying to make significant music and projects while keeping them popular. So far we have been very surprised and a little overwhelmed by the response not just from the ‘gate keepers’ in the media but mostly from the regular people on both sides of the fence. People just like it.”
So what on the face of it may seem like just another release of another song in Brazil could turn out to be a gamechanger that opens the doors culturally, socially and musically to more collaborations and greater inclusions of Blacks in the industry here and more tolerance and understanding between those living on different sides of the fence.
Watch the video above and make your own mind up about the song. Also, you can stream the song on all major online platforms including Spotify. Music video and images courtesy of Shlepp Entertainment Ltd.