Criolo; MC, singer, songwriter, released his album “Nó na Orelha” (Knot in the Ear) in May 2011. Produced by Daniel Ganjaman, known for his work with artists such as Nação Zumbi and the late Sabotage, and Marcelo Cabral, a pre-eminent musician of the new generation in Brazil, all tracks were composed and written by Criolo.
“Nó na Orelha” was initially available in Brazil as a free download and only commercially released on CD and vinyl in June 2012, when it also gained its first international exposure via the London-based label, Sterns Music.
Since the release of the album it has received over a dozen awards, both inside and outside of Brazil and Criolo has performed at over 200 shows within Brazil alone. In 2012 he toured internationally and visited 11 countries where his concerts were attended by crowds of all ages. These included the Roskilde Festival in Denmark and the Summer Stage Festival in New York’s Central Park.
The success of “Nó na Orelha” has led Criolo to share the stage with Caetano Veloso, Seu Jorge and the fado singer Ana Moura. In London he collaborated with the Ethio-Jazz icon Mulatu Astatke. Homage has been paid by Chico Buarque, and Criolo was interviewed by Spike Lee for the documentary “Go, Brazil, Go”. During one of the performances of “Nó na Orelha” in Rio de Janeiro, Ney Matogrosso took the stage to duet on the song “Freguês da Meia-Noite”, written by Criolo and to be recorded by Ney for his next album.
In 2013, his whole show “Nó na Orelha – Live at Circo Voador” was filmed in Rio de Janeiro and released as a ‘pay-as-you-like’ download. The DVD and CD “Criolo and Emicida – Live”, directed by Andrucha Waddington, Paula Lavigne and Ricardo Della Rosa, was also released in 2013.
In October 2013, the single “Duas de Cinco” was released digitally and on 12 inch vinyl in Brazil. It contains two new tracks, again produced by Daniel Ganjaman and Marcelo Cabral. A video featuring the lyrics of the first track “Duas de Cinco” has been produced by the project’s art director, Ricardo Fernandes, and is available on YouTube.
It’s classic rap over a sampled beat, with dense verses that feature a bold critique of contemporary Brazil. The chorus, taken from the song “Califórnia Azul” by Rodrigo Campos, a Brazilian artist of the same generation as Criolo, was the starting point for both lyrics and beats.
With the addition of Thomas Rohrer on the rabeca, the traditional violin from the north of Brazil, the B-side of the single, “Coccix-ência”, was recorded live in the El Rocha Studio by the superb musicians that have been Criolo’s backing band for the past two years. These two new songs, together with material from his 2006 release “Ainda Há Tempo” are now part of the repertoire of Criolo’s live shows.
On stage, Criolo performs alongside the producers Daniel Ganjaman (keyboards and electronic programming), who is also the musical director of the show, and Marcelo Cabral (acoustic and electric bass). The musicians Guilherme Held (guitar), Maurício Badé (percussion), Sérgio Machado (drums) and ‘loyal servant’ DJ Dan Dan (vocals and turntables) complete the line-up.