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Brought by his parents (who played and sung) to a local church in the violent suburban region of the Baixada Fluminense (Rio), Bino became friends with Lazão and Da Gama, forming the Novo Tempo group with them especially to play in a church festival. In 1983, Bernardo joined the group, which became Lumiar. Influenced by Bob Marley, Tim Maia, and '70s funk and soul music, the group performed for the first time with this style, developed in 1989, at the Teatro Arcádia and at the Baixada. After that show the name was changed to Cidade Negra because of a homonymous Lumiar band. A BBC documentary about the Baixada culture, highlighting the band, opened the doors of Sony Music to them. In 1991 came the first album, Lute Para Viver, which had the hit "Falar a Verdade" and special guest Jimmy Cliff in "Mensagem." In 1992, the group performed at the Reggae Sunsplash Festival, in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The second album, recorded upon their return, was the highly socially concerned Negro No Poder. After the recording, Bernardo left the group, departing for his solo career as Ras Bernardo, being replaced by Toni Garrido. Sobre Todas As Forças (1994), with special guest Shabba Ranks, searched for a lighter pop feel, consequently being best succeeded commercially. The album had a hit with the romantic "Onde Você Mora" (Marisa Monte/Nando Reis). The fifth album by the group also had a hit, "Sábado à Noite," with the participation of Lulu Santos.