Apr 28, 2009 - 6:11 PM
The frontiers of electronic music are broadening--literally. Exported from Angola to Portugal, Kuduro is spreading like chicken pox at a daycare center to clubs all over the world. It’s most notable ambassadors are Buraka Som Sistema and their debut full-length release, Black Diamond, is a perfect introduction to this grimy, extremely rhythmic genre born on Angola’s war-torn streets.
The Lisbon, Portugal-based foursome of producers have created quite a name for themselves winning an MTV Europe Music Award and even scored a slot at this year’s Coachella Festival. In Portuguese, "Kuduro" literally translates to "stiff butt" or "hard ass," however it’s impossible not to move when you hear it. Black Diamond is a hodgepodge of African percussion, calypso, and soca mixed with western house and techno.
"Sound of Kuduro," which features M.I.A, is probably the most accessible track on the album. Propelled by a dance contest on YouTube, the video is quickly becoming viral. "Kalemba (Wegue Wegue)" is the runner up for catchiest chorus while "IC19" toys with syncopation and flirts with beats similar to Latin freestyle. If Portuguese is not your first language, the bulk of Black Diamond will sound like gibberish. "Skank and Move" is one of the only tracks containing English lyrics. Although it starts off with a tribal chant, it’s as close to a traditional hip-hop tune as the album gets.
Regardless of whether or not you’ll need to brush up on your Portuguese, Black Diamond pulls from so many genres that it’s language of rhythm is understood by all.
Kimberly Turner is Oh Dang!'s resident music critic and pastry fiend. And No, she's not fat.