Kuduro’s roots can be traced to Luanda, Angola in the late ‘80s. The energetic, uptempo music started by layering African percussion with simple Soca and Calypso rhythms. Before long, western electronic music began to make an appearance in Africa, which Angolan musicians, eager to integrate their own musical styles, began rhyming, talking, and chanting over.
Kuduro was almost immediately exported to the suburbs of Lisbon, Portugal, due in large part to the sizable number of Angolan immigrants. It was here Buraka Som Sistema, comprised of members from both Portugal and Angloa and named in part after a Lisbon suburb, took Progressive Kuduro (a mix of African music/percussion and house and electro) and exported it to the rest of the world. Buraka’s single “Yah!”, the first release from their 2006 EP From Buraka to the World, was a sensation across much of Europe and allowed the group to tour several European countries and even play a handful of festivals, including Glastonbury and Roskilde. Their expansion across Europe brought the group into contact with many hard hitting DJs and producers in the industry, including UK DJ and Fabric resident, Sinden. Buraka’s gritty synths and rapidfire, traditional percussion were the perfect mix for the likes of Fabric London and not long after their intro with Sinden they were making regular appearances.
Jump to 2008, when the group released the groundbreaking “Sound of Kuduro”, a track featuring DJ Znobia, Saborosa, Puto Prata, and M.I.A., another artist whose sound incorporates and is heavily influenced by world music. The infectious, grimey track was a precursor to Buraka’s first LP, Black Diamond, an album coursing with traditional African percussion and Portuguese accents, but artfully mixed with heavy, dirty synths and rumbling bass. The perfect collision of traditional Angolan music and European electro. The appearance of M.I.A. on “Sound of Kuduro” paired a familiar face with a raucous new sound. Combined as well with Buraka’s Fabric appearances, a helping hand from Diplo, and a familiarity in the European markets, the only thing left was to hop the pond and claim the North American audience.
With the resurgence of distorted electro-house across Western Europe and North America, the frenetic upbeat stylings of Kuduro found on Black Diamond made its way across the Atlantic where Buraka found themselves warmly accepted by crowds riding the tails of Crookers, Boys Noize and much of the Ed Banger roster. Buraka began appearing in publications like New York’s ‘Sup and XLR8R, attracting supporters along the way to add to a burgeoning fan base. Having just finished a North American tour, the group is back in Europe to spread their sound after leaving a permanent impression of Kuduro on the west.