Tamo Junto

Brazil is going through its worse recession in decades, and is now under the administration of Michel Temer – an unpopular leader who came into office as a result of the impeachment of previous President Dilma Rouseff in Sep 2016.

Everyone has heard of the favelas of Rio de Janeiro; settlements where approx. 22% of the city’s 12million inhabitants live. Violence, gangs, Police brutality and drugs is the stereotype of these communities that most see on the news, but this is far beyond all that is going on there – as ever, there’s another side of the story.

A cultural movement is happening, from the inside outward. Organised by resourceful, switched on and passionate young people from the communities, they are taking matters into their own hands through their own independent creativity and ingenuity. They are creating a vibrant and thriving urban music scene, breaking down social barriers, which is spreading out to encompass the whole city; holding to account institutionalised racism, sexism and discrimination, and giving a voice to the people.
Every night of the week there are ‘Roda de rimas’ (rhyming circles) around the city. Some are large and organised events, others just a group of people in a public square or a skatepark, with some speakers and mics (sometimes), meeting up to rhyme or battle, just with lyrics and breakdancing. The democratization of the music industry and easier access to music making equipment in recent years has allowed artists such as those of the favelas of Rio, to get straight to their audience without a restrictive record contract, distributing independently through the internet, and performing constantly.

For many of the hundreds of young artists rapping around Rio, it serves as an opportunity for them to use music as a voice, and for some, become a source of income. These communities for decades have been controlled by drug gangs, since the ‘Pacification Police Units’ have been installed gradually since 2008, the violence has continued; though it is reduced on the whole; deaths either at the hands of ‘faciones’ (gangs) or Police remain common, and have once again started to become more so as the state who are strapped for cash after the Olympics, are gradually withdrawing Police resources. In a situation like that, being a musician or a b-boy is a different choice to getting into drugs, joining a gang or becoming a cop, it gives them an opportunity for recognition and respect from their peers, the political nature of many of the lyrics a chance to voice their social or political frustrations, and to show solidarity with others in a similar position.

 Phil Clarke Hill Copyright © Phil Clarke Hill Cariocas (people from Rio) walk up a staircase in Morro do Prazeres favela, to a Black Santa Hip-Hop party. Phil Clarke Hill Copyright © Phil Clarke Hill Young rappers battling at a 'roda de rima event' in an occupied school. Recent months have seen the youth occupying schools to demand better standards of public education. Phil Clarke Hill Copyright © Phil Clarke Hill Dancers warm up before their performance at a political hip-hop event in West Zone Rio de Janeiro.Nyl MC performing at an event in Julio Otoni Favela. Phil Clarke Hill Copyright © Phil Clarke Hill Couple kissing at Viaduto Madureira, a famous urban music venue in North Zone of Rio de Janeiro.NegaBi performing at Meier roda de Rima, north zone Rio de Janeiro.Meier roda de Rima, north zone Rio de Janeiro.Vidigal favela on a Saturday night, Rio de Janeiro. Phil Clarke Hill Copyright © Phil Clarke Hill Two dancing men at the famous Viaduto Madureira venue, a club under a flyover in the north zone of Rio de Janeiro. Phil Clarke Hill Copyright © Phil Clarke Hill Raphael Duarte aka Rezapeka practicing in his house in Complexo do Alemao, one of the most dangerous parts of the city, the band sing about the issues faced by themselves and those living in their community.  Phil Clarke Hill Copyright © Phil Clarke Hill Cacife Cladestino seen backstage with his parents before an important show in Lapa. Phil Clarke Hill Copyright © Phil Clarke Hill GPO (20) is a young up and coming artist and devout evangelical Christian. He often performs in church and incorporates elements of his faith into his music. Seen here at home with his family. Phil Clarke Hill Copyright © Phil Clarke Hill Breakdancing battle in Iraja, North zone of Rio de Janeiro, taking place in a church, the event had scenes reminiscent of the 80's hip hop scene.Julio Otoni Favela musical event hip hop, Rio de Janeiro, BrazilNyl MC, political hip-hop artist from Acari, Iraja, North Zone Rio de Janeiro. Phil Clarke Hill Copyright © Phil Clarke Hill GPO (20) is a young up and coming artist and devout evangelical Christian. He often performs in church and incorporates elements of his faith into his music. Seen here in his bedroom at home.Pearlas Negras are a trio of female rappers and singers from Vidigal. Phil Clarke Hill Copyright © Phil Clarke Hill Mc Oz is from Rocinha, the largest favela in South America, often referred to as a city within the city. Phil Clarke Hill Copyright © Phil Clarke Hill MV Hemp running an informal grafitti workshop with local children in Bangu, west zone Rio de Janeiro Phil Clarke Hill Copyright © Phil Clarke Hill NegaBi is a female rapper from West Zone Rio de Janeiro, as well as being a mother, she raps about the sociopolitical situation in Brazil, and what it's like to be a woman living there. Phil Clarke Hill Copyright © Phil Clarke Hill GPO (20) is a young up and coming artist and devout evangelical Christian, seen here peforming in an evangelical church in Baixada Fluminense Phil Clarke Hill Copyright © Phil Clarke Hill Start Rap getting ready backstage for the launch show of their album 'frutos do jogo' (fruits of the game)Start Rap show in Meier.Adoring crowds at the Start Rap show in Meier.Brazil - Street documentary - Rio de Janeiro Phil Clarke Hill Copyright © Phil Clarke Hill Marcelo D2, one of Rio's most famous rappers from some years back, and his son (right) Stephan is now a sucessful rapper in his own right, wit group Start Rap. Phil Clarke Hill Copyright © Phil Clarke Hill Young rappers and dancers at a 'roda de rima event' in an occupied school. Recent months have seen the youth occupying schools to demand better standards of public education. Phil Clarke Hill Copyright © Phil Clarke Hill Morro do Prazeres favela, pacified several years ago and previously peaceful for around two years, recent events have seen the secutiry situation rapidly deteriorate, making one of the most dangerous parts of the city due to fire fights between both warring drug factions and Police. Previously the loaction of huge Black Santa hip-hop parties, the community is now once again regarded as a no go zone for outsiders.
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