Criolo is a singer, composer and urban poet who came out fighting from Sao Paulo’s hip hop scene. His voice resounds with the youth of post-slump, pre-Olympic Brazil, exploring stories of poverty, police violence and social discrimination.
Through his 2015 album, Convoque seu Buda, Criolo evolved into one of Brazil’s most acclaimed songwriter/performers. Criolo’s music draws influence from his love of samba, afro-beat and reggae and his life growing up in a favela (shanty town) in Sao Paulo. Following collaborations with the likes of Caetano Veloso, Chico Buarque, Yvette Sangalo and Milton Nascimento, Criolo has released two albums in the UK to great acclaim. He has also made a series of collaborations with Mulatu Astatke of The Ethiopiques.
Criolo is touring the UK later in April and ahead of his show at Bristol’s Lantern venue at Colston Hall on April 22, he answers questions from Andy Howells.
Where are you from?
I am from Brazil, born in São Paulo, son of Cearenses, people born in Ceará state, on the northeast part of the country. I grew up in the suburbs of the south zone of São Paulo.
How would you describe your music style?
I grew up writing rap and this culture lead me to talk with and develop other music possibilities.
What's been your best live experience?
There are a lot of them. The tour I did with Milton Nascimento is the greatest gift of my life, to sing with Mulatu Astatke, with the friend Caetano Veloso, with Emicida, Ney Matogrosso, Mano Brown, Cézar Mendes, Gui Amabis, Rodrigo Campos, and one of the pillars of Brazilian samba, the master Riachão… Well, there are a lot of moments, with so many special people, but I can say that I will never forget the first time I sang at my neighborhood, when I was 13 years old, in a meeting of the habitants, it was a day of so many mixed emotions, because it was also the day to receive donations of food and used clothes as well.
What are you working on at the moment?
Now we are dedicated to do the best tour as possible all over England. We have this good opportunity, for the first time, to visit a lot of places, with a very interesting and rich program, singing songs of our three records. In Brazil, we have two tours happening at the same time, one is of “Convoque Seu Buda”, my latest album and the other is a tour celebrating the 10 years of my first record, named “Ainda Há Tempo”.
You're touring shortly are you looking forward to that?
We are really looking forward the tour, we are happy to visit Bristol and I am sure we will have a good time with a lot of music and great energy. I was really happy to know about the concert this city has regarding climate change and its impact in the world, doing efforts to make the public transportation better, as well their attention to renewable energy. I wish I had more time to have more and better contact with the citizens that are committed in these causes. The world needs good examples. In Brazil, a lot of people dedicate their lives to important and global impact causes, but to know that the municipality of Bristol support these citizens, it was really good news. I hope this can happen soon all around the world. Maybe next time I have the opportunity to learn more about these people work and how they are connected in the construction of these ideas, such as the ones of Environmental Technology Innovation Network - Low Carbon South West (LCSW). To think about the carbon monoxide reduction and other technologies pro environment is very necessary.
What can people expect from your forthcoming Bristol gig?
Bristol people can expect a performance full of energy and rendition. We are very grateful for this opportunity and I here invite everyone so together we can add good vibes. We want you all there!
Where can people hear your music?
At the main music digital platforms.
- Criolo’s album Convoque seu Buda is out now on Sterns Brasil, for further information visit criolo.net
- A version of this Q&A by Andy Howells appeared in The South Wales Argus entertainment supplement The Guide during April 2016.