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  • BabyStep Magazine

Brazilian Artist dadá Joãozinho's Debut Album Transcends Boundaries in a Genre-Bending Journey

In a musical landscape that knows no borders, dadá Joãozinho's debut solo album, tds bem Global, defies categorization as it traverses a kaleidoscope of musical styles. With influences ranging from dub reggae and hip hop to punk and samba, João Rocha, the creative force behind dadá Joãozinho, fearlessly explores uncharted territories and even invents new styles along the way.

Hailing from Niterói, a city across the bay from Rio de Janeiro, João Rocha relocated to São Paulo in 2020 alongside his bandmates from ROSABEGE, an artistic collective they formed in 2017. With the COVID-19 pandemic stalling their promotional plans, João Rocha delved inward, embracing his alter ego dadá Joãzinho. The name "dadá" pays homage to a special creature, while "zinho" means "little." This provocative persona allowed Rocha to remain open to new possibilities, alternative ways of singing, and unconventional sources of courage.

Arriving in South America's largest city at the age of 23 during a period of intense isolation and toxic politics, dadá Joãozinho shed the influences of his earlier group, ROSABEGE, which drew inspiration from the beautiful and naive Zona Sul, famous for inventing bossa nova in Rio. His new music demanded intensity, contrasting with the lighter sounds of his previous releases. The once-relevant "Brazilian Utopia" of the '70s Música Popular Brasileira no longer resonated. Instead, his project sought to reflect the darkness—reminiscent of Bad Brains and Bob Marley at Lee Perry's Black Ark studio or Gilberto Gil and Jards Macalé in rainy London during Brazil's oppressive military dictatorship.

In his quest to resist the darkness, dadá Joãozinho longed for music that would stimulate his body and make it "move differently." Playing nearly all the instruments himself, including electric and acoustic guitar, organ, electronic production, and drum programming, tds bem Global is undeniably a solo album. However, it was crafted with inspiration from numerous musical friends, forging collaborations that brought people together around the music. "I wanted to get people together around the music," João Rocha explains.

Unfolding like a genre-agnostic mixtape, tds bem Global opens with irresistible and effortless rhythms that are funky, off-kilter, and jagged. Tracks like "Ô Lulu" ride a dubby acoustic groove, punctuated by organ stabs, hand drums, and glancing guitar ballistics, reminiscent of a studio co-owned by Arthur Russell and Lee Perry.

Conceived within a vibrant artistic community fragmented and dislocated by the pandemic, tds bem Global serves as a message in a bottle, amplified by street-party subwoofers, urging others to create their art. João Rocha shares, "This is just for inspiration, as I hear my friends are inspired by it, inspired to take their own paths and take risks with their music or art. This is what I wanted."

dadá Joãozinho's tds bem Global invites listeners on a boundary-breaking journey, challenging conventions, and embracing the spirit of artistic exploration. It is a testament to the power of music to transcend barriers and ignite creative inspiration in others.

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