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News > Latin America

Brazilian Funk Artist Mr. Catra Dies Aged 49

  • Mr. Catra (center) with nine of his 32 children.

    Mr. Catra (center) with nine of his 32 children. | Photo: Instagram / @mrcatrareal

Published 11 September 2018

Mr. Catra was raised in the Morro do Borel, a favela in Rio de Janeiro, and spoke five languages.

Famed funk singer, Mr. Catra, real name Wagner Domingues, passed away aged 49 at Hospital do Coracao in Sao Paulo Sunday. Domingues had been receiving treatment for stomach cancer over the last year and is survived by 32 children and four grandchildren.

Brazil Troops Sweep Rio Favelas Despite History of Police Killings

Mr. Catra was raised in the Morro do Borel neighborhood, a favela in Rio de Janeiro, and later went on to pursue a career in law before being drawn away by his love for music. 

Despite never practicing in his area of study, Mr. Carta went on to co-found the recording company Rapsoulfunk in the 1990s, which provided opportunities to countless hip-hop and baile funk artist in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

In 1994, he released his first album titled "The Just Clan," which included the hit single "Life in Jail." After signing a recording contract with Warner Music, Mr. Catra released his second album, "The Faithful," in 1999.

Joining forces with rapper MV Bill from the City of God favela in Rio de Janeiro, Mr. Catra co-founded the Popular Power Party for the Majority (PPPomar) in 2001.

The following year he was indicted on charges of inciting crime based on his music lyrics, particularly the song "Dog," in which he discusses police corruption.

In response to the accusation, he said, "I'm not an accomplice to criminal behavior, I'm an accomplice to the favela. I'm not inciting criminal activity. I'm just narrating the reality."

In another interview he said favela residents must protect themselves from "the system... society attacks us and segregates us ... we are tired of being attacked. We're living in a civil war."

Daniel Cerqueira, a researcher at Brazil's Institute of Applied Economic Research, has pointed out that over 70 percent of the victims of violence in Brazil are Black.

“Why doesn't Brazilian society become more conscious, why doesn't the Brazilian state become more aware and allocate more resources, like other countries do, to address the terror?” he asked.

For the second year in a row, the number of murders in Brazil has broken records. A total of 63,880 were killed in 2017, a three percent increase from the previous year.

Mr. Catra would go on to record or perform with artists such as Alexandre Pires, Caetano Veloso, and Valesca Popuzuda, as well as Brazilian football star Neymar.

During interviews, Mr. Catra often advocated for tolerance, according to Correio Brasilience. "Let gay people be gay, let fat people eat, let women have sex, let me make children, let people be." He also claimed, despite describing himself as a romantic, that he produced music that was not meant to be marketed in mainstream outlets.

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