Buckley alum Don Blanquito: Brazilian funk since 2008

Don Blanquito

From Orchestra class with Vincent Houser to freestyling on stages in Rio de Janeiro, Alex Cutler, former Buckley student, has found an expression of life that may not be quite… the typical path, but it definitely follows his soul.

This summer I had the pleasure of meeting Cutler on a plane to Brazil. Cutler, known by his freestyle name Don Blanquito, is a freestyler from Los Angeles who began to perform on Brazilian stages in 2008.

He attended Buckley beginning at 3 years old all the way up to his freshman year of high school. Cutler lived in the city until his sophomore year when he moved to Sheffield, Massachusetts and attended a boarding school called the Berkshire School. Following graduation, Cutler was able to earn three degrees including an MBA.

Cutler learned Spanish from a babysitter and after  traveling in South America.

“I had traveled South America and the Caribbean extensively and had yet to check out Brazil. I was also single at the time and had heard about the beautiful girls and in addition was intrigued by the movie City of God,” Cutler said.

Cutler discovered his passion for freestyle when he was 12 years old but became serious about performing in 2004. Little did he know where his passion would take him.

“After a few years of simply making songs, in 2008 I began performing in Rio with Brazilian Funk music. I’ve always been passionate for music, hip hop etc, but never imagined that I’d be on stage one day. Better late than never,” Cutler said.

Since his debut in Brazil as Don Blanquito, Cutler has found success, even appearing on “Programa do Jo,” the largest talk show program of Brazil.

Most of Cutler’s music is performed in Brazilian Portuguese and can be found on his youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/donblanquito/videos. Many of his songs, including his most successful song “Na Favela,” sing about life in Brazil and in the favelas, mentioning both the beauty and the danger.

Truly multicultural, “Don Blanquito” has transitioned from speaking a different language and being raised in a different culture.

“To be honest, there were clearly cultural differences, but my soul is Carioca [inhabitant of Rio] so I pretty much found my place in here. People here are all about the moment, in Rio, my stomping ground, it’s the third world in many ways when it comes to relationships and survival. I had no family or friends when I came here, so I had to learn everything on my own, which made things tougher, but also more valuable.” Cutler said.

Since moving to Rio de Janeiro’s favelas, Cutler has fallen in love with the people and the culture, but remembers his ties to the United States.

“I love the warmth of the people, their spirits, the food, the music. It’s so eclectic, diverse and intense. These people know how to live! I think that my American friendships however are much more reliable, deeply rooted and long-term. I can’t risk having bad friendships since I’m alone out here, where as in the states I have more support. My best friends here in Brazil are my daughter and wife. This place is magical though, just have to tread lightly,” Cutler said.

Cutler’s lighthearted and happy personality is unique but very much Brazilian. What advice does he have for students? His response applies to all aspects of life and following your dreams.

“I think my message for anybody who is in high-school would be to follow your dreams and heart no matter what anyone tells you. If you’re reading this article, then you have had an incredible education, but Buckley is no joke! So the world is yours, but life is short and never let anyone tell you that you can’t, because trust me if I had listened to others I wouldn’t have fulfilled my soul.” Cutler said.

If you are interested in hearing more of Cutler and his music you can learn more about him at his website.