A groundbreaking artist soothing the brazilian soul
Vintage Brazilian and American soul lives on in the sound of Liniker e os Caramelows, spearheaded by singer Liniker Barros. In short time, she has become a central artist in the Brazilian music scene. Liniker broke through when she and a group of musicians soon to be named Caramelows published a performance of the single “Zero” on youtube. The song was a huge hit, same with the debut EP Cru in 2015. In 2016 they released the album Remonta, chich led to numerous concert bookings, on festivals like SXSW, Womad and Primavera, to mention a few. Their second album, Goela Abaixo, came out this year. The highly anticipated album was written on the road during the last two years. Here, the listener is greeted by a sound which lies closer to the concert live experience of the band. In Liniker’s own words, “It’s a sound made to breathe, to dance largely while feeling where each track leads to”.
Still, Goela Abaixo is a huge album, filled to the brim with production details and interesting choices. Like a lot of other sprawling, ambitious albums from contemporary soul/rnb-artists, it investigates different identities and individuality through it’s music. Liniker Barros listened a lot to Brazils rich soul music tradition in her childhood. She also idolized Whitney Houston – the unrestrained way the late american singer performed her material. Around the time Barros broke through internationally, she also came out as a trans woman. “It is a privilege to be a singer who has some notoriety. There’s a huge difference between what I experience and what anonymous trans people live through. That’s why I always say that we have to stick together no matter what. If we don’t do that, we are surely going to be erased by history”, she told the magazine Paper. It is a bleak prediction, but considering where Liniker comes from, it rings true. She was born in Araraquara, a city in the province São Paulo. It is a pretty prosperous and conservative area of Brazil – a land where conditions for trans people are at a critical stage. The NGO Transgender Europe has recorded instances where trans people have been killed between 2008 and 2016. Brazil tops the list with 868 registered cases, with Mexico on a distant second place with 257. This deeply tragic situation is also the backdrop of Linikers artistical breakthrough. She and her band makes music which brings hope that a different, more tolerant reality is possible – whether you’re talking about Brazilian daily life or dance floors and concert halls all around the world.