We talked to a musician making waves from bustling Rio de Janeiro all the way to the Big Apple: meet Brazilian born yet New York-based Duda Louro.
There aren’t many musicians who have a clear vision of what their sound and voice is, yet Duda Louro, also known as Duddha, is one of them. The Brazilian born yet New York based artist is a man who wears many musical hats. From his beginnings partying, singing and playing the guitar in Rio, to venturing across the globe to study jazz in NYC, the musician is playing around the city with his band, Duddha & the Lotus Flower Band, as well as djaying at clubs like Gospel, Amaya and Paradise. He has also been diving into the world of sound meditation as of late.
Discover all about him and Rio in our insider’s guide to the capital of Brazil.
Tell us a bit about the city and yourself - what connects you to Rio? What do you like the most about the city?
Other than the fact that my parents and many of my close friends still live in Rio, I especially connect with it because it’s a city surrounded by nature. In my opinion it’s the most stunning metropolis in the world. Differently from other big-cities which give a sense that humanity has taken over nature, Rio feels enveloped by it. I grew up surfing and hiking and admiring that beautifully lush green tropical forest and the intensity of the Atlantic Ocean. It has definitely taught me to stay humble and to appreciate nature as an ally, and as a phenomenon that allows us to exist.
Where do you suggest we stay if we want to enjoy Carnival season at its peak but also visit the city more calmly?
To enjoy the best of what Rio offers all year round, I would suggest staying in the Southern Zone of the city known as “Zona Sul”. That area consists of many neighborhoods, but the most well-known are Ipanema, Copacabana, and Leblon. During the Carnaval, street parties happen all over the South Zone so it’s a good place to be staying, and since there’s a lot of road blocks walking around makes it easier to get around. Hotels such as Fasano, the Fairmont, Janeiro Hotel, Arpoador Inn, the Copacabana Palace are all great places to stay, and for the more independent travelers I also recommend a AirBnB in either Ipanema or Leblon.
What do you suggest we do during the carnival?
Rio and Carnaval go hand in hand. Carnaval is special first and foremost because it is the most warm and lively celebration in the world. It joins people of all colors, races, walks of life into one big mass of overwhelming joy and energy. People take to the streets to dance and march while wearing the most colorful and freeing outfits, that is if they wear any clothes at all. There’re tons of blocos (street parties) as well as the main Carnaval Parade at the Sambadrome which is a marvelous spectacle in itself. I would suggest going to both. Some blocos I recommend are boi-tolo, cordão da bola preta, céu na terra, amigos da onça, among others. There are also fun parties like Baile do Sarongue, Baile da ARARA, and if you’re planning to go to the Sambadrome I would suggest either Camarote N1, Nosso Camarote or the debut of the Camarote da ARARA this year. Rio tends to be very democratic where people from all social classes share the same space, and during Carnaval this is amplified, especially at the blocos. People party on the streets, drink cheap bear, dance, sing-a-long, and overall just have fun. The bad side is it generates a lot of trash, mostly plastic water bottles and beer cans, and also the odor some places can become quite uncomfortable due to people peeing pretty much anywhere. Other than that, it is quite the unique experience.
What are the must-see areas of the city?
For the first timers the Sugar-Loaf mountain and the Christ the Redeemer statue, which happens to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World, are both a must-see. The views from either one is magnificent and riding up either on the cable-car to the Sugar-Loaf or on the trolley to the Christ is quite a fun experience. The Selaron Steps in Lapa, Copacabana beach and Parque Lage are all must-see as well and are three well-known locations where Snoop Dogg filmed his classic “Beautiful” music video. For sunset, Arpoador beach is my favorite spot and you get to experience a local phenomenon of Cariocas (people born in Rio) clapping when the sun disappears into the ocean.
“Differently from other big-cities which give a sense that humanity has taken over nature, Rio feels enveloped by it.”
Tell us about the music scene in Rio, where should we go to have a great time?
The music scene is much more present in São Paulo, with many options for clubs, parties, and underground raves. In Rio people tend to enjoy having a casual drink at a bar, however there are some parties that I always look forward to attend. Parties like Selvagem and RARA are some of my favorite in the world, always mixing amazing music with cool people at unexpected venues. The last RARA I went to earlier this year was a top the Sugar Loaf mountain with Tiga spinning, definitely a night to remember. I also have to say that the RARA DJ’s put on quite a display of musical knowledge, skill and curation. Other than that, the music scene in Rio is kind of slow, it lacks a club culture, but this last decade has seen a rise of underground parties that are attracting more crowds. For bars the options are unlimited. I recommend Canastra on Tuesdays, Baixo-Gavea on Wednesdays, which is an area with different bars to choose from. In Leblon, I recommend, Iara as well as Boteco Boa Praça which has live-music, and the classic Jobi.
Where should be go for a truly invigorating and delightful lunch and dinner?
Whenever I step foot in Rio I immediately go get an açaí bowl. Either BB Lanches in Leblon or Amazonia Soul nearby my parents place in Ipanema. At BB Lanches I always accompany the açaí with a pastel de carne which is a meat empanada. Growing up in Rio one tends to eat a lot of meat, especially at churrascarias, which are Brazilian barbecue restaurants. A great one is Rubaiyat, as well as Esplanada Grill both of which I highly recommend. Sushi is also big within the Carioca lifestyle, places like Sushi Leblon and Azumi are staples of great sushi, and Gurumê is a newer spot but also a tasteful choice. Vegan restaurants are beginning to pop-up and one I highly recommend is Teva in Ipanema.
Where do you like to shop for music, fashion and more?
One thing that I love about shopping in Rio is that fact that it can all be done by walking. In Ipanema where I stay when I go to Rio I can find a couple of my favorite shops all a couple blocks from each other. For records there is Toca do Vinicius which has been there ever since I can remember and has an extensive Bossa Nova collection in both vinyl and CD’s. For clothing I love Osklen, Farm and Handred. Farm is a well-known store for women’s clothing but has recently ventured into men’s fashion with very colorful prints on short-sleeve dress shirts and shorts. I generally go for the women’s jumpsuits. Handred is mainly focused on genderless linen fashion, more pastel tones and very aesthetically pleasing. Osklen, I have been shopping there for years, they used to be more of a youth surf fashion brand but throughout the years they have become more audacious and extremely focused on sustainable fashion. Another store I enjoy shopping for records is Tracks in Gavea neighborhood. They have a great selection of modern vinyls, re-pressings and original records from all music era’s both Brazilian and international.
If it’s the first time we’re visiting Brazil, what shall we visit other than visiting Rio?
Within the vicinity of Rio there are some beaches that are untouched and great for surfing. Beaches such as Prainha and Grumari are completely surrounded by nature and are well known spots for surfing. There aren’t any surf school or surfboard rentals on those beaches so I would suggest taking a guide or renting before-hand. They also tend to be for the more intermediate or advanced surfer. To learn how to surf I would recommend Arpoador or Barra beach. Another beach that is more of a local spot and is gorgeous is Joatinga, hiding between São Conrado and Barra neighborhoods. My favorite hike in the world is the hike of the Pedra da Gavea. It’s an advanced hike and towards the end there’s a climbing section but no gear is needed even though it can be quite scary. The view up there is worth it though, giving you the highest viewpoint of Rio. If you don’t know a local to take you a guide is a must and going up before sunrise is more pleasant climate wise. You also get the chance to experience one of the most beautiful sunrises on earth as the sun shines its first rays on the city of Rio de Janeiro also known as Cidade Maravilhosa. I also suggest heading to Angra dos Reis, an archipelago of islands located south of Rio, for a little decompression post Carnaval. People mostly go there for some quiet time surrounded by water and nature, but it can also get exciting with the occasional house or boat parties. A few other beautiful spots you should not miss, especially if you want to bathe in the crystal-clear waters of the sea are the Piscinas Naturais de Morerè, the perfect place for snorkeling surrounded by a myriad of colourful fish. A visit to the Ilha de Boipeba is also a must, as this island of rare natural beauty is home to a great variety of ecosystems due to its surroundings being the ocean on one side and the Inferno River on the other.