Kaê doesn’t rule out signing with a big record label, as long as she can keep singing about the Indigenous cause: “I am afraid of whitening myself. I have to be careful to keep my roots and accomplish my mission: infiltrate power structures that say Indigenous peoples no longer exist.” Her songs are already being used as learning material by dozens of school teachers.
The sociopolitical perspective driving Kaê’s music connects with a recent cultural movement gaining popularity among urban Indigenous artists, known as Indigenous futurism. Kaê says it is about “daring to envision ourselves in the future, and using new technologies to enhance Indigenous visibility”.
The term was coined in 2012 by Portland State University’s Dr Grace Dillon, who is descended from the Anishinaabe people from Canada and the US. According to Klaus Wernet, an ethnomusicologist at the University of São Paulo, it was also around 2012 when Brazil’s Indigenous communities started buying smartphones and built “strategic music partnerships” via WhatsApp and social media. Journalist Renata Tupinambá, organiser of the Yby festival – Brazil’s first for contemporary Indigenous music – says Indigenous futurism uses technology to make “art, music and literature tools of cultural survival. It defies the racist mindset that Indigenous peoples are stuck in the 16th-century colonial imaginary.”