Brazil mayor bans funk, rap music as Carnival begins

Fri Feb 12, 2010 9:04am EST
 
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RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - A mayor of a Brazilian town has banned Carnival revelers from playing funk or rap music during the traditionally free-wheeling celebrations that kick off around the country on Friday.

Mayor Jose Neto of Sao Lourenco in southeastern Minas Gerais state told Globo television he was banning songs that incite violence and disrespect authority and wanted to protect more traditional Carnival music, such as samba.

Anyone caught listening to funk -- a pounding beat often with sexual lyrics popular in Rio de Janeiro's slums -- or rap during the Carnival period would have to turn it off or face arrest and up to six months in prison, he reportedly said.

"They are mass gatherings that demand better coordination, control and security that a public festival like Carnival doesn't allow us to adopt," Neto told Globo TV.

Funk music has long been frowned upon by police and city authorities in Rio and faced crackdowns because of its association with slum gangs who use parties to sell drugs. But the music form, which originated in U.S. slums in the late 1960s, has increasingly found a mainstream following in Brazil and as far away as Europe.

(Reporting by Stuart Grudgings, editing by Philip Barbara)