This week’s weird band hails from Brazil, which has been quite the breeding ground for strange new genres of music over the years: tropicália, baile funk, forró, whatever the hell Os Mutantes does. Add to that list something called “tecno brega,” a Brazilian-style spin on “cheesy techno” that takes corny pop melodies—many of them familiar—gives them a glossy electro finish, and sets them to syncopated cumbia, reggaeton and baile funk beats. The combination of influences can get pretty out there, especially when rendered by the campy, day-glo trio called Banda UÓ.
Banda UÓ started in 2010 as a one-off joke to promote a party. Buddies Davi Savvig (the Daryl Hall of the group) and Mateus Carrilho (the John Oates of the group) got together with a singer friend of theirs named Flora Maria to make a quick video of them singing a tecno brega version of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream.” The video was a surprise YouTube hit and when Flora Maria was replaced by Candy Mel (the transsexual Shakira of the group), Banda UÓ was born.
Banda UÓ are probably best-known in Brazil for “Shake De Amor,” an electro-brega remake of Willow Smith’s “Whip My Hair” with a video that got them on Brazilian MTV (which is clearly way cooler than American MTV) despite the fact that it’s mostly just the three of them dancing like idiots. Actually, pretty much all of Banda UÓ’s videos are just the three of them dancing like idiots, but they do it so well, there’s not much point in upping the production values or the plotlines. “Shake De Amor” seems to have something to do with killing someone in the desert, but who cares? Look at the way Candy Mel swivels those hips!
For their debut album, 2012’s Motel, Banda UÓ worked with fellow funky Brazilians Bonde do Rolê, who helped them produce the set and start delving into original songwriting. The results were a bit more polished but no less weird—and the videos, thank Christ the Redeemer, were still mostly just an excuse to film Davi, Mateus and Candy busting out their unique wardrobes and dance moves (this time in a boxing gym, no less).
This year, they released their most seizure-inducing video yet. The track, “Gringo,” was produced by the über-trendy Diplo, but don’t hold that against it—it really is an amazing mix of tecno brega, baile funk and full-on glitchcore freakout.
So are Banda UÓ the weirdest band we’ve ever added to the Weird List? Not really. But they are definitely among the funnest.
- Banda UÓ Tumblr (full site coming soon, but apparently not yet fully functional)
- Banda UÓ on Facebook
- Banda UÓ’s SoundCloud
- Mateus Carrilho’s YouTube channel
- “Brazil’s Banda UO Proves Electrobrega is the New Black” (one of the few other English-language articles on them, from MTV Iggy)