So, “Fodencia” is a tag I’ve seen many younger Portuguese producers use on various tracks when I’ve looked for Tarraxo or Tarraxinha.
I included a few labelled as Fodencia right at the beginning of my “Deep In Zouk Space” mix back in last May 2013. Indeed, the first 15 minutes of that mix is “Fodencia”. I didn’t know what it meant or what it was but all I knew was that it sounded sort of different to Tarraxo and Tarraxinha.
It focuses on that polyrhythm/triplets structure that has been most famously used by Buraka Som Sistema on their track “Zouk Flute” from around 1.05 – 1.45 and you hear that polyrhythm/triplets structure in a lot of Tarraxo and Fodencia tracks.
I have started seeing more of it tagged on various tracks and I’ve become even more intrigued as it’s a sound and feel that I just find fascinating. It sounds raw, industrial and underdeveloped but complete at the same time. Most of the tracks you find sound rough and distorted and lack mastering but I find it very appealing and hypnotic. My name UMB actually means Una Musica Brutal, which means “One Raw Sound” and so it’s kind of befitting for me to explore it further.
Indeed, some of it even takes me back to this by Depeche Mode, I would love to hear Fodencia being fused with this kind of electronic sound in the future, I think it’d be pretty dope.
However, I couldn’t find anything written about it anywhere, either a feature or post which surprised the hell out of me.
I asked my fellow GB blogger Filipe Ribeiro for more information on it as he is from Portugal and knows this scene well. He said it was referenced in a post last year on Khevin’s 13th Tribe blog (another one time GB blogger lol) and it said:
“tarraxinha/tarrachinha is a minimal form of Kizomba. more raw, less elements , specially the “romantic ones” and hipnotic..i use to say that tarraxinha is to kizomba as dub to reggae. Tarraxo/tarracho is a ven more raw and dark version of tarraxinha, more focused on the percussions, rhythm and less on the melody.…
……and you also have “Fodencia Do Ghetto” an even rawer version of Tarraxo.”
I asked Filipe more about it and basically he said it means fuckery”, it is even rawer tarraxo. Just pure raw beats almost without melody. Foda = fuck”
Well that reminded me that Amy Winehouse sang about “fuckery” once in a song and I remember it because it’s a kind of strange word to use:
“Nobody stands in between me and my man, it’s me
And Mr Jones (Me and Mr Jones)
What kind of fuckery is this?
You made me miss the Slick Rick gig (oh Slick Rick)
You thought I didn’t love you when I did (when I did)
Can’t believe you played me out like that (Ahhh) ”
That Fodencia meant this, “Fuckery”, surprised the hell out of me but what was to follow surprised me even more. Filipe said the music is sometimes used in more local clubs in Portugal amongst mainly friends. Mostly it is played to have fun to at home, in cars or out of school. He added it’s just fucked up tarraxos and the kids just do it for fun at private parties where they play it and they dry fuck to it. It’s made by mainly young producers. He continued that there are lots of fights between gangs of youths in the suburbs of Lisbon in the Afro Portuguese communities but somehow this music makes them communicate with each other.
So I delved deeper and spoke to Dj BeBeDeRa, one of the young producers in this scene. Indeed, it was one of his tracks where I first noticed the tag being used and I asked him about it.
Dj BeBeDeRa said the following:
“Fondecia” is another style of Tarraxo, a street style. It is stronger and has a faster rhythm compass, where the percussion, drums or the bass continues. It is a style that I love doing because I have the opportunity to play with the instruments conveying a calm feeling to the listener.”
Dj Matabaya Moreira
I had a further longer conversation with Dj Matabaya Moreira from the DZC Crew.
“Strange that you ask cause I’m doing 2 Fodencias at the moment . Basically it’s like Tarraxinha. You can call it Tarracho Ghetto Style. If you slow down to 90 bmp a Kuduro beat in a ghetto style (for example the kind of Kuduro that they play at Principe Records parties) you get Fodencia. And if you slow a regular style Kuduro you get plain Tarraxo. That’s basically it.”
What is its literal translation (I wanted to see if it would stack up with what others were saying). Does it mean “fuckery”?
“Looooool…bingo…dirty style tarraxo”
Do you know when this style first started to develop and who made the first track?
I think it was dj puma en puto e and I don’t know the name of his group but I know they’re from a neighborhood called Jamaica in Lisbon as far back as 2008!!!
Do you have any links to DJ Puma on the internet/you tube?
No I don’t think he’s doing it anymore
So why are more people not making it?
Firstly, it’s hard to keep up with the changes. Here (Portugal) you don’t have support when you make ghetto music
In Portugal they look at this kind of music in a disdainful way like it is bad, rebellious. Like dry “fucking” with their clothes on. It is a very sexual style, really really sexual. The girls, they are generally naughty. Fodencia is forbidden in the clubs here. If you play that kind of music, they won’t call you no more because it’s really dirty. The kids organize little guetto parties with all kinds of raw music and dance to it. That’s how we grow up here..
So when you get older, do you stop listening to this music and move on to more mature styles and you change style because you want to get bookings
That’s exactly what happened to us (DZC) bro’
[Artwork by Steve Ohh]
So there you have it, the Forbidden fruits of the Portuguese Dance Underground – Fodencia.
You’re going to be hearing a hell of a lot more of this style in the future I can guarantee it. I’m already gripped by it. Finding out what it was about put a little bit of a different gloss on it for me but I just love the industrial and raw feel about it and you can just guess things get pretty damn wild when this shit is being played.
You can now go over to our good friends Okayafrica who have premiered a great mixtape based on Fodencia put together by my younger brother Dj UmbFox.
My younger bro’ has been getting into lots of Portuguese Bass music recently. He decided to call himself Dj UmbFox after I contemplated changing my name to UmbFox as a gesture of my admiration for the new school of Afro- Portuguese producers that I’ve been digging. A lot of them use the word “Fox” in their names. Examples being, MarFox, Nigga Fox, YudiFox and so on. However, when I mentioned this to my younger brother, he decided to steal the name from me, just like he stole most of my record collection too.
So this is Dj UmbFox’ s first mixtape!
Over here you can listen to more great FODENCIA: