Zuzuka Poderosa has been bringing her own post-modern brand of baile funk to the world’s stages. Born and raised in Brazil, the half-Indonesian human baile funk boombox known as Zuzuka Poderosa currently scorches ears from a home base in Brooklyn.
She grew up loving the raw, bass-heavy dance music Brazil calls funk and started throwing reggae and funk parties when she moved to New York ten years ago. Eventually, she started chatting in Portuguese on the mic — to the immediate delight of everyone within ear shot. From her international vantage point she operates like a provocatively rhyming hurricane, sucking up global riddims from ghettotech to dancehall and flinging them back out at gale-force speeds. “Baile crunk,” anyone?
She calls her fusion dance inventions – usually made with amazing collaborators like Sonora and DJ Rekha – “interracial music babies” and it’s an apt name for them, but it’s a good thing they aren’t real babies. If irresistible tracks like “Brooklyn Ghetto Fabulosa” and “Tecnoelectrico” were real little bundles of joy, they’d probably be so cute that Zuzuka would get mobbed by cheek pinching auntie-types every time she went outside with it.
Her live performances get sweaty and a little out of hand as she exhorts her audience to shake their booties. (“Rebola,rebola.”) And in true baile funk fashion, her lyrics can be stunningly raunchy, but the lady on the mic somehow always stays cool in her neon jumpsuits and door-knocker earrings.
Photo by Nathanial Darst