Is cumbia the new punk? How Son Rompe Pera gets crowds moshing to marimbas
Rita Mina, a Brazilian musician from São Paulo, was an early adopter of the genre she had created. The son of a jazz and blues musician, he had grown up learning and performing music. “I always thought that jazz and blues were my music. That way they were the music I knew.” While still in high school, he released his first EP, called Pera. It was a collection of tunes, some of them performed in the style of Brazilian jazz. He was signed to the label Son Rompe Pera, a label that had helped develop other Brazilian musicians of a similar ilk to Mina.
Mina was the first artist to record the entire new jazz funk sound under the Son Rompe Pera label. “I was really inspired by the jazz and funk and was trying to bring it into my own style.” The recording process was challenging and took Mina several months to create the tunes. “It was really hard to get the sound exactly as I wanted to get it.” The EP was released on Son Rompe Pera’s label, which was distributed by Universal Music.
Son Rompe Pera had played a key role in the development of a new style of Brazilian music that took jazz to a new level. The funk was still in its infancy, but by creating Son Rompe Pera, Mina had helped bring it to the forefront of the public’s mind. Soon the label was receiving attention from other musicians who were searching for ways to bring the music to the masses. Mina was now receiving requests from producers, artists and DJs asking to make an album with Son Rompe Pera, but because of their lack of budget and the record company’s restrictions, they couldn’t afford the project.
“I thought that I’d never get released,” Mina says. He knew Son Rompe Pera would likely fold or be bought out soon, but he was determined to stay with the company and take it on. “If I couldn’t write for them, I would be able to write for other labels without money.”
As the years went by, Mina became the company’s biggest star. “I