Buraka Som Sistema

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Electronic music project from Portugal, specializing in the kuduro genre


Buraka Som Sistema

Friday night WMF offered the opportunity to step inside a Berlin club, to pass into a completely different world featuring heavy beats based in African and Latin American traditions and the most basic and absolute necessity to shake one’s ass. The music of the night featured two live bands. Buraka Som Sistema, a Portuguese/Southwest African band exploding on the live music scene, shook the dancefloor with their electronic kuduro. The Crystal Fighters played their indie electronica, strongly influenced by Basque music and lore.

 Buraka Som Sistema completely took over the club playing the catchy and danceable tracks featured on their first full length album Black Diamond (2009). While the album is excellent in itself, pushing your heart to full speed even if you’re spending a quiet night at home, there is no comparison to the sound of the full band on stage. The live experience is one of unbound energy and the LP doesn’t quite capture the power and liveliness that BSS thrusts into the crowd, even if your home stereo has as ridiculous good a sound system as that of WMF. Made up of percussionists, DJs and MCs, the group put their full energy into their performance, interacting with the audience as well as their fellow group members. The crowd didn’t stop moving as the band skillfully moved from one song to another while. They danced around the stage urging everyone to make noise and probably having as much fun as the dancers on the floor. After BSS left the stage, disappointingly not returning for an encore, the Brazilian DJ Edu K took over the decks and kept the dancing spirit alive with records of Brazilian funk.
Around 2:30 Edu K’s turntables were moved to the side to make room for what turned out to be a fantastic set by the Crystal Fighters. The energy and ferocity of their performance was completely unexpected after having met the friendly and seemingly mild-tempered group earlier that evening. With Sebastian singing lead vocals, Gilbert on synths and the txalaparta (a traditional Basque percussion instrument consisting of horizontal wooden boards that are beaten with thick sticks by one or more musicians), and Graham on guitar as well as txalaparta, the guys let loose and took over the stage. Going beyond what is presented on the album, their live sound tears apart their songs and rebuilds them as rough and powerful electronica that you can’t help but move to. Some of the most impressive moments featured Gilbert and Graham pounding the txalaparta. The intensity of the pair facing each other was only increased by Sebastian running back and forth across the stage howling into the microphone.
Not only was it refreshing to see and hear live bands in WMF, but the choices for this evening of (mostly) live music has upheld WMF’s reputation (at least in my book) of bringing to Berlin the best musicians/DJs on offer today.

written by Brit-Maren Schjeide 


The wild beats of Angolan Kuduro music has been big in Lisbon clubs since the late 90s and Buraka Som Sistema – AKA Lil’ John, Riot and Conductor – have fused it with 21st century electronics to create a whole new sound. Now this electro ghettotech take on their favourite South West African music has is quickening and corrupting dancefloors all over the world on the basis of an EP with sounds not many have heard before.
Lil John and Riot began making music together in their teens, but the core of Buraka Som Sistema formed when the two began working with Angolan producer, Conductor, who brought along an extensive knowledge of Kuduro music to the equation. The three draw influences from the music of their youth and culture, fusing it with the inspiration taken from music genres as diverse as techno, drum’n’bass, hip hop and dance music. A revolving cast of talents complete the picture for Buraka, including guest vocals from Petty, M.I.A., Pongolove, Kalaf, Nolay and DJ Znobia.

Foto by Ana Gilbert

Download Buraka Som Sistema mp3  Albums and Titles.