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Buraka Som Sistema at The Roadhouse

John Robb looks forward to this Saturday’s potentially rip-rollicking fun at the Roadhouse

Published on December 5th 2008.


Buraka Som Sistema at The Roadhouse

Manchester club promoters ‘Contort Yourself’ have made a name for themselves promoting an eclectic series of avante dance nights in Manchester in the past couple of years. This Saturday at the Roadhouse they will be hosting an ‘Amazing Portuguese-speaking line-up with Buraka Som Sistema and Edu K bringing kuduro and baile funk and what-have-you.’

All of a sudden the Portuguese speakers are ruling the dance floor, from the bump’n’grind rhythms of the favella of the fantastic baille funk to the Angolan beats of Kuduro, they are having the best party in the world and Contort Yourself are aiming to import a piece of the action to Manchester.

Buraka Som Sistema are the Lisbon based crew, led by man of the same name, who have taken the Kuduro music from Angola and introduced it to Europe. It’s some of the most thrilling dance music in the world today and proof on the international continental groundbreaking that’s going on in modern music.

Two years ago at a music conference in Morocco someone played me a documentary they had made of a trip to Angola. The film was full of wild fractured beats, of full on booty dancing that was one part Capoeira martial art moves and one part F.U.C.K. fuck dancing to a wild electronic music called Kuduro. It was instantly captivating. And further proof that the focal points of music were fracturing faster and faster with micro scenes of new rhythms and ideas ready to connect with the rest of the world.

In Lisbon, Buraka Som Sistema had already been listening and created a western take on the music that was already hip in their hometown - Kuduro arriving there five years ago, Angola having been a Portuguese colony.

Their 2006 MTV hit, ‘Yeh’ brought them fame and by extension the genre some attention, and Buraka's current Black Diamond album is a perfect synthesis of European urban dance and the Angolan Kuduro. Buraka Som Sistema told me:

“I grew up with hip hop and lots of dance music but I was always searching for less obvious music. In Portugal Kuduro has been around for a while, if you knew where to look. It was something that you grew up with, a bit like growing up in London with reggae. My neighbour was Angolan and was doing those beats already. I remember Kuduro blew up really big from 1996 for six months and was a fashion in Portugal before going back underground.”

Buraka Som Sistema have even managed to get MIA to do a vocal on one track. Her voice fits perfectly in the fusion between the Lisbon Euro sensibilities and the Angolan beats and vocals creating a perfect piece of 21st century electronic power - check out the mini doc they filmed in Angola for the track on youtube and feel the power of this unique fusion…

‘MIA called our office in Lisbon wanted to know more about whole thing,” says Buraka Som Sistema . “We were going to do some album tracks with her but the chorus was so strong we wanted to use it as an introduction to our music as well as mix it with Angolan MCs and make something special.”

Kuduro’s bang up to date beats and construction on borrowed laptops in Angola is further proof of the fracturing of music. The fact that the best electronic beat driven dance music this year comes from East Africa via Lisbon is exciting and even if it took a couple of cool mixers from Lisbon to make it mainstream in Europe it still carries on under its own trajectory and that’s got to be celebrated.

And it’s a celebration that will have the perfect sweatbox cellar of the Roadhouse turned into a seething mass of freaky dancing.

Buraka Som Sistema are at the Roadhouse tomorrow, Saturday 6 December

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AnonymousDecember 5th 2008.

This sounds great. Well done to mancon for writing about this!

Chris BDecember 5th 2008.

would anyone like to impart feedback from this gig?? Who went?? Good/bad/ugly?? Please comment as i've heard the album, wish i'd have gone and maaayy be viviting Lisbon later this year. Please comment.. Chris B

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