Jef Delgado


experience the high energy ‘therapy’ of bianasystem

November 20, 2019

When I finally saw BaianaSystem in concert two years ago in Rio de Janeiro, I dressed as if I was going to a street carnival in Salvador, Brazil. Instead of sandals, I wore gym shoes. I sported shorts instead of a sundress. I came with a fanny pack instead of a purse.

A BaianaSystem concert experience is a high-energy collective social experience that is reminiscent of Salvador’s street carnival. As its name suggests, BaianaSystem is reminiscent of a Jamaican sound system. But its music is diverse, combining rock, samba-reggae with ijexá, rap, and ska. It also mixes in live instruments like Baiana guitar, a small electronic mandolin that produces high-pitched guitar-like sounds.

When BaianaSystem began to play Playsom, a medium-paced song combining ska and reggae, us concert-goers organized human circles that eventually popped with energy once the song started. As we sang the song together, we jumped up and down in unison.

We did this for every song.

I emerged from this Brazilian version of a mosh pit sweaty and happy, feeling like I had gone through mental and physical therapy. Perhaps this shouldn’t be a surprise. One of the band’s biggest hits on YouTube is indeed a song named “Terapia” — “Therapy” in Portuguese.

BaianaSystem is the greatest Brazilian band that you have likely never heard of. Thankfully, the world is starting to take notice of their music. On November 14, 2019, the group won a Latin Grammy for the Best Rock or Alternative music in the Portuguese language.

Although the band launched in 2010 in Salvador Brasil, it didn’t achieve significant success until its’ PLAYSOM single was included on a FIFA 2016 video game series.

Fans soon discovered the Duas Cidades song, which, through its music and lyrics, pays homage to the band’s hometown of Salvador, Brasil.

Lead singer Russo Passapusso stamps his strong raspy voice on every song. But the band members, which include Seko Bass, Jorge Dupeixe, Pupilo, Dengue, and Lúcio Maia, shy away from the spotlight. They never appear in their videos nor on their album covers. In fact, BaianaSystem is usually represented by a blue geometrical mask that seemingly pays homage to the Yemanjá Goddess.

Then came the opportunity for the group to perform at Rock in Rio — a music festival in Rio de Janeiro that attracts 100,000 people every night for eight-days. BaianaSystem outdid its 4:00 PM time slot, usually reserved for up and coming music groups, and put on a show whose energy bursts through the television screens.

Since then, the band has been touring Brazil non-stop and producing album almost every year. The group dropped Duas Cidades in 2015, Outras Cidade, in 2017. This year the band released “O Futuro Não Demora.”