The World

We head to Brazil for today’s Global Hit. The World’s Marco Werman says the glory days of Brazil’s samba-soul movement are returning…just in time for summer.

This just in: groovy is back. That’s Brazilian Marcio Local, a young champion of samba-soul. Samba-Soul dates back to the 1970s. Brazilian musicians had been inspired by the black pride they heard in American soul and funk.

Musically, with its horns and electric organ, this tune is a throwback to that fusion of samba and soul. And lyrically, it works as a sort of mission statement: “samba without any problem” is the title.
33 year-old Marcio Local has two musical heroes. They’re tattooed on his right and left biceps. The first one, you can hear in his music. It’s the great Brazilian samba-soul musician from the 60s and 70s, Jorge Ben.

Marcio with Jorge Ben tatooMarcio with Jorge Ben tatoo

?I grew up listening to Jorge Ben because my family loved him. He was an idol for many generations of Brazilians. So he’s been a big influence on my music.?

This is Marcio Local’s other hero: That would be Fela Kuti from Nigeria, pronounced, in typical Brazilian fashion, with the last syllable almost disappearing. Marcio Local only discovered Fela two years ago he says.

Marcio with Fela Kuti tatooMarcio with Fela Kuti tatoo

But he immediately fell in love with the story of the upper-class Nigerian funkster who came to the defense of Nigeria’s poor and oppressed. Marcio Local says that story should resonate more in Rio’s slums, the favelas.

The favela is like a whole ‘nother world within Rio.These places are still the legacy of slavery. There’s racial tension in Rio, and you see the divisions in the favelas. Fela Kuti got close to these ghettoes, in his own country, and he represented them in a big way.

He was a hero to them. And that’s important to me. A lot of people don’t know the story of Fela in Brazil. And I want to share it with them.

Marcio live at the Globalfest in New York City Marcio live at the Globalfest in New York City

Marcio Local has a new composition that he says is directly inspired by Fela. But the tune isn’t out yet, because his latest CD, 16 years in the making, was put to bed too soon to feature the track. What you can find on the new CD are tunes like this…

“Happy Endings” is a love song Marcio Local dedicated to a Brazilian actress who appeared in the 2002 feature “City of God.” In it, Local sings about the love they shared, a love he says that was real. They’re no longer together, but Local says his ex loved the song when it came out. And the tune is still making a lot of other girls in Brazil jealous.

Marcio Local has just released his first album in the US. Its title, which is written out just like it sounds, is “Don Day Don Dree Don Don.”

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Sign up for The Top of the World, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.