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Buraka Som Sistema

Black Diamond

Buraka Som Sistema

7 / 10 It’s not only reformed Britpop frontmen and Ivy League indie swots who’ve been flashing the red, gold and green this year. Thanks to the likes of DJ Mujava and Esau Mwamwaya, some of 2008’s fiercest party anthems have ricocheted into UK clubs off the Horn Of Africa.

Buraka Som Sistema are actually from Lisbon, but they’re the chief international ambassadors for the Angolan genre of kuduro. In Portuguese it literally means “stiff butt”, and if you’ve seen the YouTube clips of Luanda street dudes doing bizarre bandy-legged struts before dropping abruptly on to their tailbones, you’ll know why.

Buraka’s breakneck carnival beats, wonky fanfares and rudimentary electro rumbles sound like exactly the thing MIA could get with. And, lo and behold, Travelex’s favourite customer turns up on ‘Sound Of Kuduro’ yelling “It’s upmarket, bro!” for no obvious reason other than shits and giggles. Elsewhere, excitable vocals are provided by ladies called things like Petty and Pongolove, whose rhymes probably wouldn’t make much more sense even if you could translate them.

If ‘Black Diamond’ – and kuduro in general – has a nervous, manic energy,
it probably stems from the fact Angola only recently emerged from a vicious 25-year civil war. Even when mediated by a bunch of tubby Portuguese chaps, this is party music with an authentic, violent sense of release. Arse cladding is recommended.

Sam Richards

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