“Speaker-bangin’ before all else” (XLR8R) with “some of the smartest ears in the game” (Chicago Reader), “few can make a room explode like Maga Bo” (Flavorpill). A purveyor of “international sonic weaponry and rhythm knowledge” (Rough Trade), the Rio de Janeiro-based DJ/producer is a veteran pioneer of global bass music, with 20+ years of dedicated experience searching out unheralded music bumping from speaker-boxes in the world’s grittiest corners, from Addis Ababa to Zanzibar.
Maga Bo’s sophisticated approach to international sounds comes from in-person, on-site collaboration with other artists. He has worked on location in Morocco, India, Ethiopia, Senegal, Zanzibar, and South Africa, to name just a few, while delving into a whirlwind of local styles: chaâbi, asmari music, taraab, manganiyar folk music, masqanda, and mbalax. All instruments and vocals come straight from the source. His original riddims and recordings, enriched by the presence of live vocalists and percussion, and enhanced by the philosophies of hip-hop and dub, take the global bass DJ set to a new level, one driven by first-hand experience searching open-air markets instead of just searching the web.
His current work explores the contours of Afro-Brazilian culture and includes collaborations with the brightest talents in Brazil’s vast musical landscape. An immigrant himself, Maga Bo put down roots in his adopted hometown of Rio — a cultural melting pot like no other where he has produced baile funk MCs and played drums in his neighborhood samba school. Journeys to Brazil’s northeast region have resulted in recording sessions with unsung folklore heroes Grupo Bongar and Samba de Coco Raízes de Arcoverde.
A globally in-demand performer, Maga Bo has graced stages from India to Ethiopia to Brazil, at major summer festivals across Europe, and on tour in North America and Australia. He has performed at WOMAD UK, WorldWide, Sydney Festival, WOMEX, Transmediale and Mundial. He’s collaborated with Buraka Som Sistema’s Kalaf, Max Normala aka Ninja of South African rap-rave outfit Die Antwood, Ethio-Jazz godfather Mulatu Astatke, Bollywood star Shilpa Rao, and Brazilian chart toppers BaianaSystem and BNegão, and released critically acclaimed remixes for Asian Dub Foundation, Batida, Bomba Estéreo, Poirier, Filastine, and Systema Solar.
Maga Bo’s groundbreaking debut full-length album, Archipelagoes, was released on DJ /rupture’s Soot Records in 2008 after recording sessions in Senegal, Tanzania, Morocco and South Africa with heavyweight local rappers and musicians. His second full-length, Quilombo do Futuro, landed at #1 on the iTunes Brazilian music chart and #1 on the Rhapsody world music album of the year. The album was lauded by the New York Times as “a cultural manifesto riding on rhythm” and by National Public Radio (NPR) as “defin[ing] a kind of virtual refuge for traditional culture, giving it a welcome place in the techy global music soundscape of the 21st century.”
His track, ”No Balanço da Canoa,” garnered 200K views on Youtube and was featured in Grand Theft Auto V and the opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. He’s released music on Jarring Effects, Tru-Thoughts, Ninja Tune, Sound Way, ZZK, Cumbancha and many others.
His current passion is releasing confrontational, bass-heavy digital roots music from all over Brazil on Kafundó Records, which he runs with his partner, SoundGoods. Their compilations have consistently been in Best of the Year lists and are setting a new standard for modern Brazilian music. In 2016, he produced the debut record of France’s Sociedade Recreativa.
Having performed and worked in over 50 countries, Maga Bo walks the walk of the real globalization. Music is the weapon in a world of cultural appropriation, wide-spread poverty and mass migrations.