This year's Brasil Summerfest brought Criolo, one of Brazil's biggest new music stars, to New York. Ending a tour in Europe and two U.S. cities, the paulistano singer gave an electrifying performance, upstaging the other performers at Central Park on Saturday. The incredibly versatile performer sang a number of songs from his award-winning record Nó na Orelha, ranging from rap and hip hop to samba, reggae, bolero, soul, and pop.
Raised in a São Paulo favela, Criolo focuses on issues from his upbringing and life in Brazil's biggest city. Among his best known songs, Não Existe Amor em SP, captures a somewhat dark view of São Paulo:
Não existe amor em SP/ Um labirinto místico /Onde os grafites gritam /Não dá pra descrever /Numa linda frase /De um postal tão doce/ Cuidado com doce /São Paulo é um buquê/ Buquês são flores mortas /Num lindo arranjo/ Arranjo lindo feito pra você
Não existe amor em SP /Os bares estão cheios de almas tão vazias /A ganância vibra, a vaidade excita/ Devolva minha vida e morra afogada em seu próprio mar de fel/ Aqui ninguém vai pro céu
Another song, Sucrilhos, focuses on favela identity, racism, and how favela residents are perceived:
Calçada pra favela, avenida pra carro,
céu pra avião, e pro morro descaso.
Cientista social, Casas Bahia e tragédia,
Gostam de favelado mais que Nutella
Quanto mais ópio você vai querer?
Uns preferem morrer ao ver o preto vencer
Though he was born Kleber Gomes, the singer adopted the stage name Criolo, an adapted version of the Portuguese word crioulo. In Brazil, this word can be used to describe a person of African descent, but can also be used as a racist epithet. Criolo told a Brazilian publication that he chose the name to honor his father, who is black. In Sucrilhos, Criolo talks about how he's proud of his heritage and his ethnicity. "This is how I am, and I'm happy...I'm Brazilian!" the song goes.
DJ Dandan performed with Criolo.
In addition to Criolo, mineiro rapper Flávio Renegado performed, as did singer Bebel Gilberto.
There was also a graffiti artist who created a new piece on the sidelines of the concert.