LGBTQ Artists Are Leading Brazilian Pop Culture

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This is our weekly compilation of newly released bite-sized song reviews from our talented music writers. Discover new favorites, read nuanced criticism of the week’s hottest releases, and much more. Who knows, you might walk out of this with a new fave or two. Some of the featured artists include Bomba Estéreo, Xenia Rubinos, and Enyel C. Follow our playlist featuring these tracks and more on Spotify or Apple Music.

Bomba Estéreo – “Tierra”

The eclectic Colombian band Bomba Estéreo’s “Tierra” music video captures the non-binary Zapotec indigenous artist Lukas Avendaño from Oaxaca performing spiritual rituals with their vocalist Li Saumet. Through hazy, smoky scenes dressed in flamboyant dresses, the two protagonists are seen connecting with each other through their love and deep respect for nature’s gifts. Through the piercing vocals of Saumet, we hear her sing about the negativity that the earth experiences, but still is hopeful to change it once we recognize the damage being done. With all that said, the rhythmic “Tierra” remains one of the most captivating tracks from their latest album Deja. – Jeanette Hernandez

Silvana Estrada – “Clandestina”

At its core, Manu Chao’s “Clandestino” is a folk song about lost souls denied of their humanity by others, mythicizing the struggle of a global problem. Singer Silvana Estrada pushes the tune fully into that direction, rearranging the melody to resemble the haunted sones of many regions in Mexico, singing in a heartfelt voice as it rises into a climax that arrives with snares and horns that sound like a funeral procession. Making it her own, “Clandestina” is Estrada’s tribute to a problem that’s still as concerning as it was when the song was first written. — Marcos Hassan

Enyel C, Yung Boi – “IO NO”

Rising Boricua rapper and reggaetonero Enyel C has been teasing his full-length debut Angelito for the better part of a year, dropping banging collabs with the likes of Dominican all-star producer Diego Raposo and seductive Venezuelan chanteuse Irepulsa. Among the mixtape’s many new gems you’ll find “IO NO,” a throbbing trapetón collab with Bayamón rapper Yung Boi unpacking the frustrating mixed signals that can make you feel stuck in romantic limbo. – Richard Villegas

Xenia Rubinos & El Individuo – “Madrugada”

 

Xenia Rubinos is releasing a series of reimagined versions of songs from her outstanding 2021 album Una Rosa, and the first taste we get turns the focus towards Cuban MC El Individuo. Also featuring Una Rosa co-producer Marco Buccelli and Combo Chimbita’s Prince of Queens, “Madrugada” flips Rubino’s “What Is This Voice,” now becoming a spacious jam echoing from a firefly-lit forest in the early morning. El Individuo steals the show with his pensive rhymes, painting with words before the sun comes up. – Cheky

Gab Ferreira – “Laughing”

“Laughing” is the opening track of Gab Ferreira’s sophomore album, visions. The song is nothing but the complete opposite of any sort of joy. With a lo-slung beat charged with blasting cymbals, the Brazilian indie singer shows us an anguished interpretation, fully supported by overdubbing auto-tuned vocals that fit her in between Sky Ferreira and Charli XCX. — Felipe Maia

jame minogue – “Tú Me Ha Cambiado”

Fresh after last month’s “Hate Being In Love,” jame minogue returns with fresh bossa nova love ballad “Tú Me Ha Cambiado,” the second single off his upcoming EP Príncipe Azul. Listened back-to-back, it’s striking how polar opposite in message and sentiment it is to the previous track, but that seems to be by design. Euphoria and heartache often precede each other in both directions, for better or worse, and jame knows love heals just as good as it stings. Leaning into almost all-Spanish lyrics, he sings with his heart and lets the guitar solo do the weeping this time around. — Juan J. Arroyo

Owerá feat. Juninho Karai – “Resistir Pra Existir”

The Brazilian Indigenous rapper Owerá released the track “Resistir Pra Existir” (Resist to Exist), produced by Kelvin Mbarete from the Brô Mc’s, an Indigenous rap group hailing from the Bororo and Jaguapirú communities. The song is in both Portuguese and in Guarani language, which points to the artist’s intentionality of preserving his roots while also addressing the native peoples’ struggle for human rights, the obstacles imposed by prejudices, and the abuse endured for centuries. Featuring Juninho Karai, the track shows Owerá’s growth as a lyricist while also sporting a beat more in tune with the urbanized São Paulo rap scene. Owerá has been advancing as an activist and musician, which has led him to duet with legendary Brazilian singer Caetano Veloso. – Gabriel Leão

Carmen DeLeon – “BBB”

The Venezuelan pop artist Carmen DeLeon is embracing a different side of her music career –  she has recently shown us voice versatility in pop ballads. But now, she’s pleasantly experimenting with pop reggaeton. The upbeat “BBB” reencounters how her relationship went sour through time and lists reasons why she is no longer in love. However, the plot twist is when the track reveals that she has unquestionably found love elsewhere. Clearly, the energetic beat paired with DeLeon’s empowering lyrics are designed to get you through a breakup. It’s hot girl summer, after all. – Jeanette Hernandez

Joel Jerome – “Nobody Like You”

Chasing chill vibes has become a pretty exhausting task as of late. So when a song emanates the right kind of laid-back vibe, you let it take over you without objections. LA’s Joel Jerome is all about taking it easy, strumming his acoustic guitar to a catchy melody about letting go of egotistical ambitions, bringing in a Californian stoner blend of folk-inspired melodicism. “Nobody Like Me” is concerned with being in the present and taking a breath from this crazy world we’re living in.– Marcos Hassan

Budaya – “Tu Color”

Following their buzzy 2019 debut album Calma, dreamy Mexican synthpop duo Budaya took the pandemic as an opportunity to regroup before returning to the airwaves with a fresh and triumphant sound on new single “Tu Color.” Tulio Almaraz’s kicks kick harder and Maya Piña’s ethereal vocals have only gotten silkier, floating delicately over prismatic synths as they deliver an exuberant ode to hearts on the mend. – Richard Villegas

Helado Negro – “Ya No Estoy Aquí”

Right in the middle of his Far In tour, Roberto Carlos Lange found the time to give us a new Helado Negro single, “Ya No Estoy Aquí.” Lange found inspiration in the 2019 homonym movie by Fernando Frías de la Parra, placing alienation and loneliness in the heart of the song — just like the film — and he crafted melancholic music with a dash of hopefulness (and gorgeous backing vocals courtesy of KAINA) to match the feeling. – Cheky

Radical One – “Rumba ft. Skip2dip”

There’s little of rumba, the music genre, in “Rumba.” But there is a lot rumba, the party, in it. Radical One and Skip2Dip’s single is a ready-made party track with EDM bouncy baseline and a catchy, melodious flute riff. As if this was not enough for the dancefloor, the slow-paced and chopped reggaeton beat shaped by the Dominican producer is an insidious invitation to perreo and twerking. — Felipe Maia

Moonlight Depot x Kanui – “Houseplant”

Austin-based electronic-rock duo Moonlight Depot team up with R&B artist Kanui for new single “Houseplant,” a blues-infused track that manages to be both rollickin’ and smooth in equal measurements. The group, made up of DJ/producer Ander C. Baizán and instrumentalist Carl Bernicker, has been making inroads in the busy Austin indie scene and making a name for themselves with their welding of rock and industrial beats. Kanui’s guest vocals, reminiscing and fretting about a relationship rattled by distractions, anchor the song and give it a velvety twist that brings the EDM drops and electric guitar together like magic by moonlight. — Juan J. Arroy