Strap in and get ready for the next instalment of the #GETTOKNOW series which invites you to learn a little more about the lesser known bands playing at the festival this year. Follow the series through our social media and newsletter for insights into some of the best music you haven’t heard yet.
Next up in the series is Liniker e os Caramelows, with words from Matt Hacke.
The first thing you notice are the vocals. Liniker Barros’s voice is breath-taking, a heady mix of expressive intonation and emotive delivery. This is only emphasised by the accompaniment. Fittingly, the band – ‘Os Caramelows’ – specialise in laid-back rhythms and dulcet, sugary harmonies.
Liniker E Os Caramelows are a collective who can captivate a crowd effortlessly. However, their path to prominence has been anything but easy. Liniker is the first transgender woman to front a band in Brazil. Plus, the group were formed in Araraquara – a city of a little over 200,000 people – far flung from new music hubs on the Atlantic coast.
For Liniker, her position as a black, transgender, poor woman means that her very being on stage is a breakthrough. In an interview with NPR, she said: “[being onstage] is political, because we need representation … It’s extremely important – not just for me, but for each of us.”
This couldn’t be truer, and the band’s breakthrough success has burnt a path for others to follow in Brazil. Os Caramelows’ first hit, ‘Zero’, which achieved viral fame in late 2015, preceded the emergence of a thrilling range of queer Brazilian musicians, including Gloria Groove and Quebrada Queer. Despite this movement there’s still a long way to go in Brazil. However, the rapidly increasing prominence and popularity of figures like Liniker could help precipitate a paradigm shift.
Since forming in 2015, with a handful of musicians, Liniker E Os Caramelows have grown into a band of nine and have two albums under their belt. Their 2019 release, Goela Abaixo, marries soul and Brazilian urban in spectacular fashion, matching melodious brass and samba grooves with Liniker’s striking vocals.
Like many of the acts at WOMAD 2019, their performance will be one of their only gigs on British, or indeed European soil, this year. Make sure you make time for their entrancing set.
Check out the full line-up here.