Another discovery I made in Brazil is the hipsterlicious trio known as Banda UÓ. I think their name is an adaptation of “wow” into Portuguese–a gesture that already opens our orifices to Third World counterfeitness and the group’s cheesy garbling of Anglophone hits. Banda UÓ reworks classics like Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is” and Willow Smith’s already excellent “Whip My Hair,” which they’ve mutated into the rock star drama of “Shake de Amor.” Here’s their explanation of the song:
What has Mick Jagger ever done to you to deserve the plotline in “Shake de Amor”?
The song is based on the story between him and a TV host from Brazil named Luciana Gimenez. The story is satirized, but basically the story is, the Rolling Stones came to Brazil to do a concert with the tour Bridges to Babylon, and Jagger met Luciana. The two hung out for a couple of months, while he was still married the the model Jerry Hall. Then she got pregnant and he denied everything, trying to get out of the situation. That’s why in the chorus we say “vou me vingar de você” (“I will avenge you”) a billion times, she is really pissed.
I wonder if Banda UÓ reads Montevidayo? Almost everything about “Shake de Amor” seems inspired by Johannes’ post on star fuckers, Andy Warhol, Candy Darling, and Mick Jagger! Candy Mel (“Honey”), the trans singer in the group, even casts herself as the center of Johannes’ “orbit of transveticism.” If there’s an added ingredient to the music video, it’s the final shot in which the star-fucker-cum-star gets a decorative splash of Jagger’s blood on her face. Also listen for machine gunfire throughout the track:
I’ve relished thinking about this video as a cannibalist, terrorist reckoning of sorts waged on behalf of a queer global south. I love how Banda UÓ’s spastic tropicalism, when contrasted with their shitty car and the junkyard wasteland they inhabit, capitalizes on the euphoria of today’s Brazil as well as its historical discontents. As Portugal’s oldest ally, the UK has long enjoyed an exploitative relationship with Brazil beyond the affairs of celebrities. To cannibalize the cock-swaggering Jagger (along with the other Anglo singers they cover), Banda UÓ turns his name into “Mickey,” as per Portuguese pronunciation. An orange-haired fellow even goes so far as to visually regurgitate the Disney cartoon character on a sweatshirt.
Other postcolonial frictions also come into play as sensations to be heightened and enjoyed but, like the offscreen presence of Jagger, not totally declared or digested. The video presents itself, after all, as an instruction manual on how to bleed style, how to channel its violence so that even the colors switch off in exhaustion after the gunshot. While Candy Mel looks amazing in her Hard Rock Cafe Lisbon cut-off, her vengeance on Jagger might call to mind the murder of an unarmed Brazilian immigrant whom London police wrongly suspected of a bombing attempt in 2005. If the British have long ago forgotten about this, Brazilians have not–just as in the case of Jagger’s siring out of wedlock (which even my parents remember!).
Along with these terrorist assemblages of ethnicity, sexuality, and gender, Banda UÓ’s hipster bloodthirst also finds homonationalist repercussions in recent news: Brazil’s economy has just overtaken the UK’s as the 6th largest in the world. If my account of international relations above seems exaggerated, here’s some very telling language from the Daily Mail on this:
It is time to jettison our focus on the European Union, the keystone of our economic and trade policy since our entry into the Common Market in 1973, and restore Britain’s historic ties to Asia, Latin America and Africa where the growth markets are orientated. Brazil should not be regarded as a competitor for economic hegemony but a vast market to be exploited.