When Buraka Som Sistema played their first UK show at Fabric in London in May, something remarkable happened. Angola came to Farringdon, via Portugal. “It was amazing!” recalls Riot (possibly not his real name). “We didn’t know what to expect because the English crowd is only starting to get to know our music. But everybody was dancing and going crazy. For us, it was very gratifying.”
Former schoolmates Lil’ John (note the ‘h’) and Riot were both members of Cooltrain Crew, Portugal’s first drum’n’bass collective. Last year, they hooked up with Angolan hip hop producer, Conductor. Their track Yah! has since become a dancefloor smash. Featuring 16-year-old MC and regular collaborator Petty on vocals, it’s a friendly slap in the face, a “get off the sofa” call to arms and an insistent bass-driven stormer about her skills rocking the crowd. “Petty is pure energy,” Riot effuses. “She represents the youth of Angola really well. She can rhyme with attitude.”
Buraka Som Sistema owes a lot to Kuduro , Angolan dance music. Riot explains: “Kuduro is a type of urban music created in the ghettos of Luanda and other big cities in Angola. It started as Angolan kids trying to make techno.” Buraka’s progressive Lisbon-oriented approach incorporates varied influences from metal to classical, Timbaland to The Prodigy. It’s seen them breaking Kuduro on blogs and dancefloors worldwide. From Buraka To The World is not so much the title of their 2006 debut EP as a statement of intent.
This is music to make you sweat. Their gigs are rowdy, uninhibited and sexy. “Kuduro started as a dance actually,” says Riot. “So it’s a part of the culture that we want to maintain.”
Techno just got fun again.
Buraka Som Sistema’s new single, Yah!, is released on Modular on 18 June.
Written for the summer 2007 edition of Dummy.